Abstract

At the center of Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons is nestled a famous short story about a person who uses a teletransporter. Parfit argues that his “thought experiment” shows that “personal identity”—as (analytic) philosophy understands it—doesn’t matter. As long as I know that my “self” on Mars is unharmed by the teletransporter, it shouldn’t matter to me that I remain on Earth, soon to die. I use Christopher Priest’s novel The Prestige and the Nolan brothers’ film of it to challenge the method and alleged moral of this “branch-line” teletransportation thought experiment, treating it as a work of literature in miniature.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 128-153
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-30
Open Access
No
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