Derek Parfit

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Kantians, Contractualists, and Consequentialists ... are climbing the same mountain on different sides.

Derek Parfit (11 December 19421 January 2017) was a British philosopher who specialised in problems of personal identity, rationality, ethics, and the relations among them.


Reasons and Persons (1984)[edit]

  • To be a person, a being must be self-conscious, aware of its identity and its continued existence over time.
    • p. 202
  • Is the truth depressing? Some may find it so. But I find it liberating, and consoling. When I believed that my existence was a further fact, I seemed imprisoned in myself. My life seemed like a glass tunnel, through which I was moving faster every year, and at the end of which there was darkness. When I changed my view, the walls of my glass tunnel disappeared. I now live in the open air. There is still a difference between my life and the lives of other people. But the difference is less. I am less concerned about the rest of my own life, and more concerned about the lives of others.
    • p. 281
  • We are paternalists when we make someone act in his own interests.
    • p. 321

On What Matters: Volume One (2011)[edit]

  • It has been widely believed that there are such deep disagreements between Kantians, Contractualists, and Consequentialists. That, I have argued, is not true. These people are climbing the same mountain on different sides.
    • p. 419
  • What now matters most is that we rich people give up some of our luxuries, ceasing to overheat the Earth's atmosphere, and taking care of this planet in other ways, so that it continues to support intelligent life.
    • p. 419

External links[edit]

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