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Identity, Consciousness, and Value - Peter Unger

Identity, Consciousness, and Value

Paperback

Published: 23rd July 1992
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The topic of personal identity has prompted some of the liveliest and most interesting debates in recent philosophy. In a fascinating new contribution to the discussion, Peter Unger presents a psychologically aimed, but physically based, account of our identity over time. While supporting the account, he explains why many influential contemporary philosophers have underrated the importance of physical continuity to our survival, casting a new light on the work of Lewis, Nagel, Nozick, Parfit, Perry, Shoemaker, and others. Deriving from his discussion of our identity itself, Unger produces a novel but commonsensical theory of the relations between identity and some of our deepest concerns. In a conservative but flexible spirit, he explores the implications of his theory for questions of value and of the good life.

"Its wealth of detail, its rigorous argumentation, and its large-scale deployment of the contemporary tools of discussion will ensure it a respected place in the literature....A full, clear, and relentless book."-- Times Literary Supplement "Unger's treatment of the methodological issues that these topics raise is one that has a great deal to recommend it, and it is almost certain to have an important impact on the way personal identity is discussed in the future. Indeed, it seems likely that Unger's work...will help to relocate the discussion in a context in which normative considerations play an appropriately central role."-- Philosophy and Phenomenological Research "Whatever objections anyone may want to raise against particular theses and arguments of Unger's book, everyone who cares about the problem of personal identity should attend carefully to it....Clearly a book to be reckoned with."--Nous "A short review cannot do justice to all the intricacies and subtleties of [Unger's] arguments and examples...This book should be read by anyone interested in these issues."-- Philosophical Books "An important contribution to the philosophy of mind. Recommended for any library supporting at least an undergraduate major in philosophy."--Choice "Its wealth of detail, its rigorous argumentation, and its large-scale deployment of the contemporary tools of discussion will ensure it a respected place in the literature....A full, clear, and relentless book."-- Times Literary Supplement "Unger's treatment of the methodological issues that these topics raise is one that has a great deal to recommend it, and it is almost certain to have an important impact on the way personal identity is discussed in the future. Indeed, it seems likely that Unger's work...will help to relocate the discussion in a context in which normative considerations play an appropriately central role."-- Philosophy and Phenomenological Research "Whatever objections anyone may want to raise against particular theses and arguments of Unger's book, everyone who cares about the problem of personal identity should attend carefully to it....Clearly a book to be reckoned with."--Nous "A short review cannot do justice to all the intricacies and subtleties of [Unger's] arguments and examples...This book should be read by anyone interested in these issues."-- Philosophical Books "An important contribution to the philosophy of mind. Recommended for any library supporting at least an undergraduate major in philosophy."--Choice "Unger has developed, in a very powerful, imaginative, and persuasive way, what must now be regarded as one of the leading views on this subject."--Derek Parfit, All Souls College, Oxford "This is a work of striking boldness and originality: a philosophical tour de force that deserves to become a classic in the field. With a host of ingenious thought-experiments, Peter Unger probes our deepest convictions concerning our identity through time and what gives value to life, drawing out their detailed implications. The result is a powerful and impressive theory of human identity (and its associated values) which seems to me clearly superior to the views currently in vogue. Thorough and rigorously argued, the work is also eminently readable, written in a lively and attractively forthright manner. It is a 'must' for anyone with a serious interest in these issues."--Michael Lockwood, Fellow of Green College, Oxford "A major contribution, original and ingenious. Unger's book is easily the most subtle and persuasive defense ever of the physical view. It is sure to have a profound impact on the contemporary debate. And since it includes a careful and clear survey of the main alternative views, it will also make an excellent advanced textbook."--Raymond Martin, University of Maryland "A serious and stimulating book...an important work that deserves close study."--Ethics

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Investigating Our Beliefs About Ourselves: An Introductionp. 3
Conscious Experiences and Subjects of Consciousness: Six Metaphysical Doctrinesp. 36
The Psychological Approach to Our Survivalp. 66
The Physical Approach to Our Survivalp. 102
A Physically Based Approach to Our Survivalp. 139
Physically Based Subjects and Their Experiences: Against the Six Metaphysical Doctrinesp. 170
What Matters in Our Survival: Distinctions, Compromises and Limitsp. 211
Fission and the Focus of One's Lifep. 255
Appendix: Toward Greater Realism in Personal Branchingp. 287
The Appreciation of Our Actual Valuesp. 295
Bibliographyp. 339
Name Indexp. 343
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195079173
ISBN-10: 0195079175
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 23rd July 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 15.62  x 2.46
Weight (kg): 0.52