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The Thief of Time$
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Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195376685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195376685.001.0001

Procrastination and Personal Identity

Chapter:
(p.115) 7 Procrastination and Personal Identity
Source:
The Thief of Time
Author(s):

Christine Tappolet (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195376685.003.0007

What does the apparent lack of concern for one’s future, which is involved in many cases of procrastination, entail with respect to our conception of personal identity? One claim that is prominent in the debate is that the fact that we normally have a special concern for our future selves is a problem for psychological continuity theories (such as those of Derek Parfit). On the basis of a detailed account of the various kinds of procrastination and of the ways imprudent procrastination involves harm to future selves, this chapter argues that procrastinators often impose an uncompensated burden on their future selves, something that is best explained by a lack of concern for their future selves. The lesson that follows is that the objections to psychological continuity theories based on the idea of a special concern for our future selves are in serious trouble.

Keywords:   Derek Parfit, future selves, imprudence, personal identity, procrastination, psychological continuity theories, special concern

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