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Finding the relationship that justifies egoistic concern

by Weideli, Wendy Anne

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis is a quest to find the relationship that justifies egoistic concern. I point out that what we are inclined to believe about the justification of egoistic concern, let's call it the Old Theory, is that personal identity is the relationship that justifies egoistic concern, that personal identity involves a deep further fact, and that physical and psychological continuity are good evidence for personal identity. I argue that, if personal identity involves the deep further fact, then physical and psychological continuity are not good evidence for personal identity and thus the Old Theory is mistaken. Furthermore, if the everyday egoistic concern that we have for a person who is physically and psychologically continuous with us is clearly rational, then physical and psychological continuity must be good evidence for the relationship that justifies egoistic concern, and thus either personal identity is not the relationship that justifies egoistic concern, or personal identity does not involve the deep further fact. Therefore, I suggest that a new theory about the justification of egoistic concern should have the following structure; some relationship, let's call it E, is the relationship that justifies egoistic concern, E does not involve the deep further fact, and physical and psychological continuity are good evidence for E. I then point out that a new theory about the justification of egoistic concern should take into account the dominant intuitions that the Old Theory was based on, but should ignore intuitions that are based solely on mistaken beliefs flowing from the Old Theory. I argue that it is not easy to separate these two types of intuitions, but, nevertheless, in trying to find E I attempt to capture the intuitions that underlie the Old Theory, while avoiding the use of methods that might capture intuitions that are based solely on mistaken beliefs involved in the Old Theory. After considering the various candidates for E, I conclude that psychological continuity, even if it occurs coincidentally, is the relationship that justifies egoistic concern.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:philosophy 0422

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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