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Why the Problem Remains: Assessing Three Recent Solutions to the Non-Identity Problem

Thomas, Jean-Philippe; (2021) Why the Problem Remains: Assessing Three Recent Solutions to the Non-Identity Problem. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

My thesis examines three recent solutions to the non-identity problem  by Shamik Dasgupta (2018), Johann Frick (2020), and David Boonin (2014)  which have received no or little critical attention in the literature. In chapter one, I explain the non-identity problem, its variations, and its theoretical and practical implications. In addition, I examine several classical solutions to the non-identity problem and their respective shortcomings. The classical solutions I discuss include the de re/de dicto view, consequentialism, and the rights-based solution. Given the shortcomings of the classical solutions, I move to the recent solutions defended by Dasgupta and Frick. In chapter two, I present and critically assess Dasgupta’s (2018) ‘flexistentialist’ solution, a moral view that embraces a metaphysical position known as ‘unlimited ontic essentialism’. In response to Dasgupta, I offer a three-part challenge which highlights flexistentialism’s weak motivation, its counterintuitive consequences, and its lack of argumentative support. In chapter three, I present and critically assess Frick’s (2020) solution according to which we can solve the non-identity problem via a new view of well-being’s reason-giving force. In response to Frick, I show that his solution suffers from a counter-intuitive view of well-being, an inadequate interpretation of ‘normative standards’, and an inability to distinguish itself from rival, consequentialist solutions. Given the failure of both classical and recent solutions to the non-identity problem, I move on to Boonin’s (2014) solution according to which there is no non-identity problem. Instead, according to Boonin (2014), we should bite the bullet and accept non-identity cases as arguments proving their conclusions. In response, I show that Boonin’s solution does not have the intuitive and argumentative support it needs, and that it has deeply problematic theoretical and practical implications. I conclude my thesis by arguing that, despite a renewed interest in solving the non-identity problem, the problem remains as live as ever.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Why the Problem Remains: Assessing Three Recent Solutions to the Non-Identity Problem
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135596
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