An Identity Crisis in Philosophy

Argumenta (forthcoming)
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Abstract

The following seems to be a truism in modern day philosophy: No agent can have had other parents (IDENTITY). IDENTITY shows up in discussions of moral luck, parenting, gene editing, and population ethics. In this paper, I challenge IDENTITY. I do so by showing that the most plausible arguments that can be made in favor of IDENTITY do not withstand critical scrutiny. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I document the prevalence of IDENTITY. In the second, I examine a defense of IDENTITY on the basis of genetic considerations. In the third, I examine a defense of IDENTITY that I call gamete essentialism. In the fourth, I return to genetic considerations to wrap up the paper.

Author's Profile

Samuel J. M. Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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