Reasons and Persons

Ranked #11 in Utilitarianism, Ranked #13 in Jurisprudencesee more rankings.

Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Derek Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interests, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions that most of us will find very disturbing.

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We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Reasons and Persons from the world's leading experts.

Will MacAskill I would say that Derek Parfit was the most brilliant philosopher of the 20th century. His book Reasons and Persons, especially, has over 10,000 citations. (Source)

David Edmonds Reasons and Persons was written in 1984, and Derek Parfit was one of my postgraduate supervisors. One of the blurbs on the back of book says “Reasons and Persons is a work of genius”, and I think it is. It’s an incredibly important book, and one written in a tradition completely different to Bernard Williams, even though the two were friends. Bernard Williams is an essayist and he looks at the big picture, like Nagel. Parfit, more like Singer, is in the tradition of the 19th century philosopher Henry Sidgwick – he is a detailed, rigorous, almost mathematical philosopher, who worked from... (Source)

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