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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 21–35 | Cite as

Parfit on fission

  • Jens Johansson
Article

Derek Parfit famously defends a number of surprising views about “fission.” One is that, in such a scenario, it is indeterminate whether I have survived or not. Another is that the fission case shows that it does not matter, in itself, whether I survive or not. Most critics of the first view contend that fission makes me cease to exist. Most opponents of the second view contend that fission does not preserve everything that matters in ordinary survival. In this paper I shall provide a critique that does not rely on either of these contentions. There are other, interrelated reasons to reject Parfit’s defense of the two theses. In particular, the availability of the following view creates trouble for Parfit: I determinately survive fission, but it is indeterminate which fission product I am.

Keywords

Personal identity Parfit Fission What matters 

Notes

Acknowledgments

For helpful comments I am very grateful to Krister Bykvist, Kent Gustavsson, Matthew Liao, Rebecca Roache, and an anonymous referee.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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