Personites are like continuant people but shorter lived. Johnston has recently argued that their existence would implode commonsense ethics and, so, they cannot exist. He concludes that broadly naturalistic accounts of our place in the world must, therefore, be wrong. I will argue that Johnston’s arguments fail. To do that I develop an account of intrinsicness, defend arguments from below against arguments from above, and clarify the meaning of reductionism about persons. I also show that commonsense ethics is far from unworkable even if personites are granted the same moral status as persons. I draw on Johnston’s earlier exchanges with Parfit on personal identity and the place of ordinary concerns in a naturalistic world. I conclude by drawing general lessons about the ethics metaphysics relationship and by sketching a more pressing but metaphysics free problem that naturally arises from Johnston’s discussion.
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DPhil Seminar Organisers: Matthew Hewson and Chiara Martini
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