Concept

Reasons and Persons

Summary
Reasons and Persons is a 1984 book by the philosopher Derek Parfit, in which the author discusses ethics, rationality and personal identity. It is divided into four parts, dedicated to self-defeating theories, rationality and time, personal identity and responsibility toward future generations. Summary Self-defeating theories Part 1 argues that certain ethical theories are self-defeating. One such theory is ethical egoism, which Parfit claims is 'collectively self-defeating' due to the prisoner's dilemma, though he does not believe this is sufficient grounds to reject the theory. Ultimately, Parfit does reject "common sense morality" on similar grounds. In this section, Parfit does not explicitly endorse a particular view; rather, he shows what the problems of different theories are. His only positive endorsement is of "impersonal ethics" – impersonality being the common denominator of the different parts of the book. Rationality and time Part 2 focus
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