more from Joseph Butler

Single Idea 21318

[catalogued under 16. Persons / D. Continuity of the Self / 5. Concerns of the Self]

Full Idea

If personality is a transient thing ...then it follows that it is a fallacy to charge ourselves with any thing we did, or to imagine our present selves interested in any thing which befell us yesterday, or what will befall us tomorrow.

Gist of Idea

If the self changes, we have no responsibilities, and no interest in past or future


Joseph Butler (Analogy of Religion [1736], App.1)

Book Reference

'Personal Identity', ed/tr. Perry,John [University of California 1975], p.102

A Reaction

We seem to care about the past and future of our children, without actually being our children. Can't my future self be my descendant, a close one, instead of me?