How might I have been?

Cooper, Rachel (2015) How might I have been? Metaphilosophy, 46 (4-5). pp. 495-514. ISSN 0026-1068

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What would my life have been like if I had been born more intelligent? Or taller? Or a member of the opposite sex? Or a non-biological being? It is plausible that some of these questions make sense, while others stretch the limits of sense making. In addressing questions of how I might have been, genetic essentialism is popular, but this article argues that genetic essentialism, and other versions of origin essentialism for organisms, must be rejected. It considers the prospects for counterpart theory and shows how counterpart theory can be used to illuminate volitional accounts of identity as proposed by Harry Frankfurt. This enables one to make sense of claims that, say, being gay, or Deaf, or black, can be essential to someone's identity. The discussion is then extended to show how it can be made applicable to the transworld identity theorist who denies that individuals possess essential properties.

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cooper, R. (2015), How Might I Have Been?. Metaphilosophy, 46: 495–514. doi: 10.1111/meta.12152 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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?? transworld identitycounterpartslewisfrankfurtmackiephilosophy ??
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28 Sep 2015 11:05
Last Modified:
19 May 2024 00:27