Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Identity: Two objects are never identical. Identity is a single object, to which may be referred to with two different terms. The fact that two descriptions mean a single object may be discovered only in the course of an investigation.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Lewis IV 57
Identity/Continuity/Survival/Person/Parfit: when it comes to survival, both answers (continuity and identity) cannot be correct, so we must choose.
a) Identity: is a relation with a certain formal character: it is one to one and cannot be gradual.
b) Continuity: (and connection) (e. g. in relation to mental things) can be one to many or many to one and gradual.
Parfit: therefore, it is the continuity and connection that is relevant to personal (temporal) identity (survival).
c) what is important for survival is not identity therefore! At most a relation that coincides with identity to the extent that problematic cases do not occur.
LewisVsParfit: someone else might just as well represent the argument in the other direction, and put identity as relevant. And of course, identity is that what counts in the end! Therefore, the divergence between a) and b) must be eliminated!
I agree with Parfit that continuity and connection are crucial, but it is not an alternative to identity.
Borderline case/Parfit: Problem: borderline cases have to be decided arbitrarily.
Identity/Continuity/Survival/Person/LewisVsParfit: the opposition between identity and continuity is wrong.
Intuitively, it is definitely about identity. Namely, literally identity!
IV 58
Definition R-relation/identity/continuity/person/Lewis: a certain relation and connection among person states.
Def I-Relation/Lewis: Question: Which of the permanent persons are identical to the former?
IV 59
I-Relation/R-Relation/Lewis: Thesis: the two are identical because they are coextensive!
IV 61
Identity/Fusion/Split/Person/State/Lewis: is one to one, in the sense that a thing is never identical with several things. However, this does not apply to the I and R relations. Many of their other states are states of the same person and related to this and also to each other. But that is not what Parfit means when he says that R relations are one to many.
Parfit: means that there can be several states to which a state is related, but which are not related to each other. (fusion and splitting of the person). That means the R relation would not be transitive.
Split: the forward-related R relation is one many, backward: many one, simpliciter: transitive.
IV 65
Methuselah example/Person/Identity/Lewis: (Original passage):
Connectivity/mental states/Parfit: thesis: the connection of mental states disappears with time.
IV 67
Person/Fusion/Parfit: For example, if you merge with someone very different, the question is of who survives. But there is no specific, hidden answer.
Rather, the important point is that the R-relationship is only available to a very small degree.
IV 73
ParfitVsLewis: one should not cross our common views with the common sense.
I.e. it is about another sense of survival.
IV 74
Lewis: I had written, what matters is identity in survival. Then for the short-living C1, the stage S to t0 is actually Ir to states in the distant future such as S2, namely over the long-living C2!
ParfitVsLewis: "But is that not the wrong person?"
Lewis: in fact, if C1 really wants to survive (C1), then this wish is not fulfilled.
LewisVsParfit: but I do not think he can have that wish at all! There is a limit to everyday psychological desires under conditions of shared states.
The shared state S thinks for both. Every thought he has must be shared. He cannot think one thing in the name of C1 and one thing in the name of C2.
On the other hand, if C1 and C2 are supposed to share something every day, then it must be a "plural" wish, "Let's survive".
IV 75
Person/Survival/Identity/LewisVsParfit: For example, until now we had assumed that both of us knew before the split that there would be a split. Now:
Variant: both do not know about the coming split.
Question: cannot we share the wish: "Let me survive!"?
Problem: that C1 and C2 share the same desire is due to the wrong presupposition that they are one person. Meaning the "me" is a false description. It cannot refer to C1 in C1's thoughts and not to C2 in its thoughts. For these thoughts are one and the same.
Vs: but their desire to survive is fulfilled! At least the one of C2 and the one of C1 is not differentiated. Then their wish cannot consist only in the unfulfillable singular wish. They both must also have the weak plural desire, even if they do not know the split beforehand.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Parf I
D. Parfit
Reasons and Persons Oxford 1986

Parf II
Derekt Parfit
On what matters Oxford 2011

Clarence Irving Lewis
Collected Papers of Clarence Irving Lewis Stanford 1970

David K. Lewis
Die Identität von Körper und Geist Frankfurt 1989

David K. Lewis
Konventionen Berlin 1975

David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd I New York Oxford 1983

David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd II New York Oxford 1986

LwCl I
Clarence Irving Lewis
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (Dover Books on Western Philosophy) 1991

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-06-25