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Staying AlivePersonal Identity, Practical Concerns, and the Unity of a Life$
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Marya Schechtman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684878.001.0001

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Division of Labor

Division of Labor

(p.43) 2 Division of Labor
Staying Alive

Marya Schechtman

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the possibility that literal questions about personal identity should be sharply distinguished from practical questions and that the two kinds of questions should be pursued entirely separately. Christine Korsgaard’s view of agential identity represents this point of view from the perspective of value theory, and Eric Olson’s Animalism from the perspective of metaphysics. It is shown that both views need to include the existence of a “forensic unit” which delimits a target of our person-related interests and judgments. Since the question of what constitutes the identity of the forensic unit has the logical structure of a question of numerical identity, reflection on this question represents a potential route to developing an inherently practical conception of personal identity.

Keywords:   agential identity, animalism, forensic unit, Korsgaard, metaphysics, Olson, personal identity, value theory

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