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The Ethics of KillingProblems at the Margins of Life$
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Jeff McMahan

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195079982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195079981.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Identity
The Ethics of Killing

Jeff McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Argues against three widely held views of our identity: the view that we are souls or incorporeal substances, the view that we are human organisms, and the view that the criterion of our identity over time is entirely psychological. It argues that we are instead embodied minds and that the criterion of our identity over time is the continued existence and functioning, in nonbranching form, of enough of those regions of the brain in which consciousness occurs in order for the brain to retain the capacity, with relevant support systems, to support consciousness or mental activity. It also follows Derek Parfit in claiming that identity is not the basis of egoistic concern about the future.

Keywords:   brain, consciousness, egoistic concern, Parfit, personal identity, soul

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