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A Survival Guide to Fission

Mark Moyer
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 141, No. 3 (Dec., 2008), pp. 299-322
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734334
Page Count: 24
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A Survival Guide to Fission
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Abstract

The fission of a person involves what common sense describes as a single person surviving as two distinct people. Thus, say most metaphysicians, this paradox shows us that common sense is inconsistent with the transitivity of identity. Lewis's theory of overlapping persons, buttressed with tensed identity, gives us one way to reconcile the common sense claims. Lewis's account, however, implausibly says that reference to a person about to undergo fission is ambiguous. A better way to reconcile the claims of common sense, one that avoids this ambiguity, is to recognize braching persons, persons who have multiple pasts or futures.

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