Is Psychology What Matters in Survival?

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According to the Psychological-Continuity Account of What Matters, you are justified in having special concern for the well-being of a person at a future time if and only if that person will be psychologically continuous with you as you are now. In some versions of the account, the psychological continuity is required be temporally ordered, whereas, in other versions, it is allowed to be temporally unordered. In this paper, I argue that the account is implausible if the psychological continuity is allowed be temporally unordered. I also argue that, if the psychological continuity is required to be temporally ordered, it cannot plausibly be purely psychological (that is, purely psychological in the sense that the psychological continuity is not required to be caused through spatio-temporal continuity of a brain). The upshot is that there is no plausible version of the Psychological-Continuity Account of What Matters is purely psychological. So psychological continuity is not what matters in survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-516
Number of pages15
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


  • what matters in survival
  • personal identity
  • justified special concern
  • psychological continuity
  • non-branching clause

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