Who Cares About Identity?

Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 35)


This paper argues that transworld identity is both morally (or at least “welfare axiologically”) and prudentially insignificant. To clarify, it does not in itself morally or prudentially matter, when comparing welfare distributions across possible worlds, whether or not the same people exist in these worlds. The moral claim is defended on the basis of a (wide) person-affecting moral principle. And the argument is made that what matters from one’s own prudential point of view is not that one comes into existence or continues to exist oneself but that an appropriate continuer/replacement does. Finally, some implications for gene-therapy are considered.


Personal identity Non-identity problem Person-affecting ethics Gene-therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Section, Department of Media, Cognition and CommunicationUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark

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