Staying Alive

Staying Alive : Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and the Unity of a Life

3.78 (9 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Judgments of personal identity stand at the heart of our daily transactions. Family life, friendships, institutions of justice, and systems of compensation all rely on our ability to reidentify people. It is not as obvious as it might at first appear just how to express this relation between facts about personal identity and practical interests in a philosophical account of personal identity. A natural thought is that whatever relation is proposed as the one which
constitutes the sameness of a person must be important to us in just the way identity is. This simple understanding of the connection between personal identity and practical concerns has serious difficulties, however. One is that the relations that underlie our practical judgments do not seem suited to
providing a metaphysical account of the basic, literal continuation of an entity. Another is that the practical interests we associate with identity are many and varied and it seems impossible that a single relation could simultaneously capture what is necessary and sufficient for all of them. Staying Alive offers a new way of thinking about the relation between personal identity and practical interests which allows us to overcome these difficulties and to offer a view in which the
most basic and literal facts about personal identity are inherently connected to practical concerns. This account, the 'Person Life View', sees persons as unified loci of practical interaction, and defines the identity of a person in terms of the unity of a characteristic kind of life made up of dynamic
interactions among biological, psychological, and social attributes and functions mediated through social and cultural infrastructure.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 20mm | 486g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199684871
  • 9780199684878
  • 1,296,985

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Locke and the Psychological Continuity Theorists ; 2. Division of Labor ; 3. The Expanded Practical and the Problem of Multiplicity ; 4. Complexity and Individual Unity ; 5. The Person Life View ; 6. Personal Identity ; 7. Ontology ; Conclusion ; Index
show more

Review quote

Staying Alive is a beautifully constructive and often subtly argued book. It treats contrary views with great courtesy, and shows a powerful and bold philosophical mind. * Galen Strawson, London Review of Books * A brief review cannot do justice to all the invariably subtle, sophisticated, and fascinating arguments contained in this very fine bookSchechtman's writing style is exceptionally clear, analytic, and yet, as we have all come to appreciate in her prose, tender. Staying Alive is a seminal work, enhancing the debate on personhood and personal identity in an important way. It is highly recommended to experts and students alike, even to those who are not constantly
wondering what it takes to stay alive. * Nils-Frederic Wagner, Philosophical Quarterly * How at this late date in the discussion within contemporary analytic philosophy of personhood and personal identity can one make a significant new contribution to our understanding of both? . . . In this valuable addition to the literature . . . Marya Schechtman may have found a way. It is by moving the analytic debate in a more empirical direction. This is by no means all she does in this important new book. * Raymond Martin, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * Schechtman's book is enjoyable to read, and highly original and interesting. It deserves to be investigated very carefully. * Paul Snowdon, The Philosophers' Magazine *
show more

About Marya Schechtman

Marya Schechtman is a professor of philosophy and member of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of The Constitution of Selves (Cornell University Press 1996) as well as numerous articles on personal identity, bioethics, and philosophy of mind. She also has interests in practical reasoning and Existentialism.
show more

Rating details

9 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 78% (7)
3 22% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X