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Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 3 HT10

Event Name Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 3 HT10
Start Date 1st Feb 2010 4:30pm
End Date 1st Feb 2010 6:30pm
Duration 2 hours

Max de Gaynesford (Reading) 'Integrity and Time: Parfit’s Russian Nobleman' to be held in the Lecture Room, 10 Merton Street, Oxford - Seminars in Moral Philosophy webpage


Discussions of integrity tend to focus on cases—like Jim and the Indians, or George and the Laboratory—which restrict themselves to a particular choice on a particular occasion (whether to shoot a person; whether to accept a job). In so doing, they make time figure in an incidental way only; it is merely that in the course of which the relevant persons have developed the character and attitudes relevant to making their choices; it would not matter to the way these cases are usually discussed if—somehow—the person acquired both instantaneously. But it would be strange to rule out the possibility that time can feature as an essential factor—that we sometimes need to take temporal relations into account, for example, in determining when and whether persons act with integrity. So it is worth considering integrity in the light of cases which turn on relations between persons, states of affairs and events with different temporal locations. Parfit’s ‘Russian Nobleman’ story provides such a case and I discuss it here. One aim is to examine how four positions on the criteria of integrity deal with time: the Unity criterion; the Authenticity criterion; the Constancy criterion; and the Incorruptibility criterion. Another aim is to question the very possibility of integrity over time, given that this may seem both to require and to disallow openness to the possibility of deep change in one’s attitudes and outlooks.

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