Demarest, Heather. Fission May Kill You (But Not for the Reasons You Thought)
2016, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 93, 3.
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Shen Pan
Abstract: If a person, A, branches into B and C, then it is widely held that B and C are not identical to one another. Many think that this is because B and C have contradictory properties at the same time. In this paper, I show why this explanation cannot be right. I argue that contradictory properties at times are not necessary for non-identity between descendants, and that contradictory properties at times are not sufficient for non-identity. I also argue that the standard explanation cannot be salvaged by a shift to personal time. Appeals to a lack of continuity, or to the absence of unity of consciousness likewise fail. Rather, B and C are non-identical simply because A branched into B and C. Why branching should be problematic for personal identity remains a deep puzzle though I offer some tentative suggestions.
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Comment: Useful for teaching time, time travel, and personal identity.