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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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Complexity and Individual Unity

Complexity and Individual Unity

Chapter:
(p.89) 4 Complexity and Individual Unity
Source:
Staying Alive
Author(s):

Marya Schechtman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684878.003.0005

This chapter offers resources for meeting the problem of multiplicity. Using Jeff McMahan’s theory of time-relative interests as a starting point it describes how a typical mature person can be defined in terms of a single relation that makes her a strongly unified target of the full range of practical questions and concerns that apply to persons. An analysis of my own Narrative Self-Constitution View, developed in The Constitution of Selves, offers the resources necessary to answer the challenge as it applies over time, explaining how infants and adults can be inherently appropriate loci of the same set of practical concerns despite possessing very different attributes. The key element taken from this view is a diachronic holism according to which personhood and personal identity are defined in terms of an unfolding developmental structure rather than in terms of relations between individual moments.

Keywords:   diachronic holism, McMahan, narrative self-constitution view, personal identity, personhood, time-relative interests

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