New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

Philosophy Week 4

by: Bharat Punna

Philosophy Week 4

Marketplace > Auburn University > > Philosophy Week 4
Bharat Punna

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in

Popular in Department

This 21 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bharat Punna on Saturday December 5, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to at Auburn University taught by in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 13 views.


Reviews for Philosophy Week 4


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 12/05/15
Philosophical Review 7KH▯6HOI▯DQG▯WKH▯)XWXUH $XWKRU▯V▯▯▯%HUQDUG▯:LOOLDPV 6RXUFH▯▯7KH▯3KLORVRSKLFDO▯5HYLHZ▯▯9RO▯▯▯▯▯▯1R▯▯▯▯▯$SU▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯SS▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ 3XEOLVKHG▯E\▯▯Duke University Press▯RQ▯EHKDOI▯RI▯Philosophical Review 6WDEOH▯85/▯▯ . $FFHVVHG▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯ Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, availab.e at JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Duke University Press and Philosophical Review are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Philosophical Review. THE SELF AND THE FUTURE S UPPOSEthattherewere some process which two persons, A and BA could be subjectedas aresultof which they might be said-question-beggingly-to have exchangedbodies.That isto say-less question-beggingly-there is a certain human body which is such thawhen previouslywe were confronted with it, we were confronted with person A, certain utterances coming from itwere expressiveofmemories of thepast experiencesofA, certain movements of itpartlyconstituted theactions ofA and were taken as expressiveof thecharacter ofA, and so forth;but now, after the processiscompleted, utterancescoming from this body areexpressive ofwhat seem tobejust thosememories which previouslywe identifiedas memories of thepast experiencesofB, its movementspartlyconstitute actionsexpressiveofthe character of andso forth;and converselywith theotherbody. B, There are certain important philosophical limitations on how suchimaginarycasesareto be constructed,andhow theyareto be taken when constructed in various ways. I shall mention two principallimitations,ot inorder topursue them furtherhere,but preciselyinorder togetthemout oftheway. There are certain limitations, particularly with regard to character and mannerisms, to our abilitytoimagine such cases even in themost restrictedsenseof ourbeing disposedto takethe later performances of that body which was previouslyA's as expressiveofB's character;ifthepreviousA and B were extremely unlike one another both physically and psychologically, and if, say,in addition, they were of differentsex, there might be grave difficulties readingB's dispositionsnanypossibleperformances of A's body. Let us forget this,nd for the present purposejust take A and B as being sufficientlyalike (howeveralikethatas to be) for the difficulty notoarise; after the experiment, persons familiarwith A and B arejust overwhelmingslyruckby the B-ish character ofthe doings associatedwith what was previously A's i6i BERNARD WILLIAMS body, and conversely.Thus the featof imagining an exchange of bodies issupposedpossible inthe most restrictedsense. But now is furtherlimitationwhich has to be overcomeifthe featis there to be notmerelypossible in the most restrictedsenseut alsois to have an outcome which, on seriousreflection,e are preparedto describe asA and B having changed bodies-that is,an outcome where, confronted with what was previouslyA's body, we are prepared seriously to saythat we are now confronted with B. It would seem a necessary condition of so doing that the utterancescoming fromthat bodybe takenasgenuinely expressive ofmemories ofB'spast. Butmemory is a causalnotion;and aswe actually use it, it seems a necessary condition on x's present knowledge of x'earlierexperiences constitutingmemory of those experiences thatthe causal chain linking the experiencesnd the knowledge should not run outside x's body. Hence if utterances coming froma givenbody are to be takenasexpressive ofmemo- riesof theexperiences ofB, there should be some suitable causal link between the appropriate stateof that body and the original happening ofthoseexperiences to B. One radical way of securing that condition inthe imagined exchange case is tosuppose,with Shoemaker,' thatthe brainsofA andofB aretransposed. We may not need so radicala condition. Thus suppose itwere possibleto extract informationfrom a man's brain and storeit in a device while his brain was repaired, or even renewed, theinformation then being replaced: it would seem exaggerated toinsistthat the resultantman couldnot possiblyhave the memories he had before the operation.With regard toour knowledge ofour own past,we draw distinctionsbetween merelyrecalling, being reminded, and learning again, and those distinctionscorrespond (roughly) to distinctionsbetween no new input, partialnew input, and total to the in and it new input with regard information question; seems clear that the information-parking case just imagined would not countas new input inthe sensenecessary and sufficient for "learning again." Hence we can imagine the case we are concerned with in terms of information extracted into such devices from A's and B's brainsand replacedin the other brain; 1 Self-KnowleendSelf-Identityhaca, N. I963),p.23f. i62 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE thisisthe sortf modelwhich, Ithink notunfairlyforthe present argument, shallhavein mind. We imagine the following.The processconsideredabove exists; two persons can enter some machine, let ussay, and emerge changed in theappropriateways. IfA and B are the personswho enter,letuscallthe personswho emerge theA-body-person the B-body-persont:he A-body-personis that person (whoever it is) with whom I am confronted the I am when, after experiment, confrontedwith that bodywhichpreviouslywas A'sbody-that is to say,thatpersonwho would naturallybe taken forA by some- one who justsaw thisperson, was familiarwith A's appearance beforethe experiment,and did not know about thehappening of the experiment. A non-question-begging description of the experiment willleaveitopen which (ieither)ofthepersons A and B the A-body-person is; the description of the experiment as "persons changingbodies" of courseimpliesthat the A-body-per- son actuallyB. We taketwo personsA andB who aregoing tohave the process carriedout on them. (We can suppose,ratherhazily,thattheyare willing forhistohappen; toinvestigatet allcloselyt thisstage why they might be willingor unwilling,what theywould fear, and so forth, would anticipate some later issues.) We further announcethatoneofthetworesultantpersons,theA-body-person and the B-body-person,is going afterthe experimentto be given ooooo $I while the otherisgoing to be tortured.We then ask each A and B to choosewhich treatmentshould be dealt out to which of the personswho will emerge from the experiment, the choiceto bemade (ifit canbe)onselfishgrounds. Suppose thatA choosesthat the B-body-person should getthe pleasant treatment and the A-body-person the unpleasant treatment;and B choosesconversely(thismightindicatethatthey thought that"changingbodies"wasindeed a good descriptionf the outcome). The experimentercannot act in accordancewith both these sets ofpreferences, those expressedbyA and those expressedby B. Hence there isone clear sensen which A and B cannotboth get what want: thatif they namely, theexperimenter, beforethe experiment, announces to A and B that he intendsto carry out thealternative (for example),f treatingtheB-body- I63 BERNARD WILLIAMS person unpleasantly and the A-body-personpleasantly-then A can sayrightly, "That'snot the outcome I choseto happen," and B cansayrightly,"That'sjust theoutcomeI chosetohappen."So, evidently,A andB before theexperimentcan each come toknow either that the outcome he chosewill be that which will happen, or thatthe one he chose will nothappen, and in that sensethey can get orfailtogetwhat theywanted.Butisit alsotruethatwhen the experimenterproceeds afterthe experimentto actin accord- ance with one of the preferencesand not the other, then one of A andB will havegotwhat hewanted,and theothernot? There seemsvery good ground for saying so.For suppose the experimenter,having elicitedA'sandB'spreference,saysnothing to A and B aboutwhat he will do; conductsthe experiment;and then, for example, givestheunpleasanttreatmentto the B-body- personandthepleasant treatmentto theA-body-person. Then the B-body-personwill not onlycomplain of theunpleasant treatment as such, but will complain (since he has A's memories)that that was not the outcome he chose, since he chose that theB-body- person should be well treated; and sinceA made hischoice in selfish spirit, he may add that heprecisely chosein that way becausehe did not want the unpleasantthings to happen tohim. The A-body-person meanwhilewill expresssatisfactionbothatthe receiptof the$ioo,ooo,and also at thefact thathe experimenter has chosen to act in the way that he,B, so wisely chose. These facts make a strong case for saying that the experimenter has brought it about that B did intheoutcome get what he wanted and A did not. It is thereforea strong case fsaying that the B-body-personreallyis A, and the A-body-person reallysB; and thereforefor saying that the procesof the experiment reallyis that of changingbodies. For the samereasons would seem that A and B in ourexample really didchoosewisely, and that iwas A's bad luck that thechoice he correctlymade was not carried out,B's good luck thatthe choice hecorrectlymade was carried out.This seemsto showthat to careaboutwhat happens to me in the future is notnecessarilyo care about what to this happens body (the one I now have); and thisin turn might be taken to show that insome senseof Descartes'sobscurephrase, I and my body are "reallydistinct"(though, of course, nothingin these i64 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE considerationscould support the ideathat Icould existwithout a body atall). These suggestionsseem to bereinforcedifwe considerthe cases where A andB makeotherchoiceswith regardto the experiment. Suppose that A chooses that the A-body-person should get the money, and the B-body-person get the pain, and B chooses conversely.Here again there can be no outcome which matches the expressed preferences of both of them: they cannot both get what they want. The experimenter announces, before the experiment, that the A-body-person willin factget the money, and the B-body-personwill get the pain. So A at this stage gets what he wants (the announced outcome matches his expressed preference).Aftertheexperiment, thedistributioniscarriedout as announced. Both the A-body-person and the B-body-person willhave toagreethatwhat ishappening isinaccordancewith the preference that A originallyexpressed. The B-body-person will naturallyexpressthisacknowledgment (sincehehas A'smemories) by saying that this isthe distributionhe chose; he will recall, among other things, the experimenter announcing this outcome, his approving it aswhat he chose, and so forth.However, he (theB-body-person)certainly does not likehatisnow happening to him, and would much prefer to bereceivingwhat the A-body- person is receiving-namely, $ioo,ooo. The A-body-person will on the otherhand recallhoosing an outcome other than thisone, did not do but will reckonitgood luckthat theexperimenter what he recalls choosing. It looks,en, as though the A-body-person had gotten what he wanted, but not what he chose, while the B-body-person has gottenwhat he chose,but notwhat he wanted. So once more itlooksas though they are, respectively, and A; and that in thiscase the originalchoicesof both A and B were unwise. Suppose,lastly,that inthe originalhoice A takesthelineof the firscase and B of the second:that is, choosesthat the B-body- person shouldget themoney and the A-body-person the pain,and B choosesexactly the same thing. In thiscase, the experimenter would to in situation of both seem be the happy giving persons what they want-or atleast,likeGod, what they have chosen.In this case, the B-body-person likeswhat he is receiving,recalls i65 BERNARD WILLIAMS choosing it, and congratulates himself on the wisdom of (as he puts it)his choice;while the A-body-person does not like what it,and is forced to acknowledge he isreceiving,recallschoosing that (ashe putsit)hischoicewas unwise.So once more we seemto getresultstosupport thesuggestionsdrawn fromthefirst case. Let us now consider the question,not of A and B choosing certainoutcomes to take placeafter the experiment,but of their willingnessto engagein the experimentat all.ftheywere initially inclinedto accept thedescription of the experimentas "changing bodies" then one thing that would interestthem would be the character of the other person'sbody. In thisrespect also what would happen after the experiment would seem to suggest that "changing bodies"was agood descriptionof the experiment.f A and B agreed to the experiment, being each not displeasedwith the appearance, physique, and so forth of the other person's body; after the experiment the B-body-person might well be foundsaying such thingsas:"When Iagreed to thisexperiment,I thought that B's face was quiteattractive,ut now look atit in the mirror, I am not so sure";or the A-body-person might say "When I agreed to thiexperiment I didnot know that A had a wooden leg;but now, after it is over, I find thatI have this wooden leg, and I want the experiment reversed."It ispossible thathe might say furtherthat hefindsthe legvery uncomfortable, andthattheB-body-person shouldsay,forinstance,thatherecalls thathe founditvery uncomfortable atfirst,utonegets used toit: but perhaps one would need to know more than atleastIdo about the physiology of habituation toartificiallimbso know whether the A-body-person would find the leguncomfortable: thatbody, afterall,has had the legon it forsome time. But apart fromthis sortof detail, the generalineof the outcome regarded from this point ofview seems to confirmourprevious conclusionsabout the experiment. Now let us suppose that when the experiment isproposed (in non-question-begging terms) A and B think rather of their psychological advantages and disadvantages. A's thoughts turn primarily to certain sorts of anxietyo which he is very prone, while B is concerned with thefrightfulmemories he has of past experiences which still distress himThey each hope that the i66 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE experiment will in someway resultin theirbeing able tget away from these things. They may even have been impressed by philosophical argumentsto the effect that bodilcontinuity isat leasta necessary condition ofpersonalidentity: A, forexample, reasonsthat, granted the experiment comes off, then the person who is bodilycontinuous with him will nothave thisanxiety, while the otherperson will nodoubt have some anxiety-perhaps in some sensehis anxiety-and at leastthaperson will notbe he. The experiment isperformed and the experimenter (to whom A and B previouslyrevealed privately their severadifficultiesd hopes) asks the A-body-personwhether he has gotten rid of his anxiety. This person presumablyreplies thathe does not know what the man is talking about;he never had such anxiety,but he did have some very disagreeable memories, and recalls engaging in theexperiment to getridof them, andis disappointed to discoverthathe stillhasthem. The B-body-person will reactin a similarway to questionsabout his painful memories,pointing out thathe stillhas hianxiety. Theseresultsseem to confirmstill further the descriptionofthe experiment as"changing bodies." And all the resultssuggestthat the only rational thing to do, confronted with such an experiment, would be to identifyneself with one'smemories, and soforth,and not with one's body. The philosophical argumentsdesigned to show that bodily continuity was at leastanecessary conditionofpersonalidentity would seem tobe mistaken. just Let us now considersomething apparentlydifferent.Someone in whose power I am tells me that I am going to be tortured tomorrow. I amfrightened,andlook forwardto tomorrow in great apprehension. He adds that when the time comes, I shall not remember being told that thiwas going tohappen to me, since shortlybeforethe torturesomething elsewillbe done to me which will make me forget the announcement. This certainlywill not cheerme up, since know perfectlywell that Ican forgetthings, and that there is such a thing as indeed being tortured unexpectedly because Ihad forgottenor been made to forget a predictionof thetorture:that will stibea torturewhich, so long as Ido know about the prediction, look forward toin fear. He then adds thatmy forgettingthe announcementwill be only part i67 BERNARD WILLIAMS of a largerrocess:when the momentof torturecomes, I shallot remember any of the things am now in aposition to remember. This doesnot cheerme up, either,sinceI can readilyconceive of being involved in an accident,forinstance, asa resultofwhich I wake up in a completely amnesiac stateand also in greatpain; thatcouldcertainly happento me, should not likeit to happento me, nor to know that itwas going to happen to me. He now further adds that atthe moment of tortureI shall not onlynot remember the thingsI amnow in apositiontoremember, butwill have a differentsetofimpressions of my past, quiteifferentfrom the memories I now have. do notthinkthat thiswould cheer me up, either.For I can at least conceivehe possibility,f not the concrete reality,f going completely mad, and thinking perhaps that I am George IV or somebody; and being toldthat something like thatwas going to happen to me would have no tendency to reduce the terrorofbeing told authoritativelyhat I was goingto be tortured,but would merely compound the horror.Nor do I see why Ishould be putinto any betterframe ofmind by the personin I charge adding lastlythatthe impressions ofmy past with which shall be equipped on the eveof torturewill exactly fite past of another person now living, and that indeed I shallacquire these impressions by (for instance) information now in his brain being copied into mine. Fear, surely, would stillbe the proper reaction:and not because one did not know what was going to happen, but because in one vital respectat leastone did know what was goingto happen-torture, which one can indeed expect to happen to oneself,and to be preceded by certain mental derangements aswell. If this is right, thehole question seems now to be totally what we have justbeen through is of course mysterious. For merely one side,differentlyrepresented,of thetransactionwhich we considered before;and itrepresentsit as aperfectly hateful prospect, while the previous considerations represented it as something one should rationally, perhaps even cheerfully, choose out ofthe options there presented.It is differently pre- sented,of course,and intwo notable respects;utwhen we lookat these two differences of presentation, can we really convince ourselvesthatthesecond presentationiswrong ormisleading, thus I68 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE leaving the road open to the first versionwhich at the time seemed soconvincing? Surely not. The firstdifferenceisthat in thesecond version the torture is throughout represented asgoingto happen to me: "you," the man in charge persistentlysays. Thus he is not very neutral. But should he have been neutral?Or, toput it anotherway, doeshis use of thesecond person have a merely emotional and rhetorical effecton me, making me afraidwhenfurtherreflection would have shown thatI had no reason tobe? Itiscertainlynot obviouslyso. The problem justis thatthrough every stepof his predictionsI seem to be able to follow him successfully.nd if I reflecton whether what he hassaid givesme grounds forfearing that Ishall be tortured,I could consider that behind my fears lies some principle such as this:that my undergoing physical pain in the futureisnotexcludedby anypsychological stateI may be in at the time, with the platitudinous exception of those psychological stateswhich in themselvesexclude experiencing pain,notably (ifit is a psychological state) unconsciousness. In particular, what impressions I have about the past will not have any effect on whether I undergo the pain or not. This principleseems sound enough. It is an important fact that not everythingI would, as things are,regard as an evilwould be something that should rationally fear asan evil ifitwere predicted that it wouldhappen to me in the future and also predicted that I should undergo significant psychological changes inthe meantime. For thefact that regard that happening, things being as they are, as an evilcan be dependent on factorsofbeliefrcharacterwhichmight themselves be modified by the psychologicalchanges in question.Thus if I am appallingly subject to acrophobia, and am told that I shall find myselfon topof a steepmountain in thenearfuture, I shallto that extent be afraid;but ifI am told thatI shall be psychologi- callychanged in the meantime in such away as to rid me ofmy acrophobia (and aswith the other prediction,Ibelieve it), then have no reasonto be afraidof thepredictedhappening,or at least not the same reason. Again, I might look forwardto meeting a certain person again with either alarm or excitement because of my memories of our past relations.n some part, thesememories I69 BERNARD WILLIAMS operate in connection with my emotion, not only on the present time, but protectivelyforward: forit is tomeetingitselfaffected by thepresence ofthose memoriesthat I look forward. If Iam convinced that when the time comes I shall not have those memories,then I shallnot havejust the samereasonsasbeforefor looking forward to that meeting with the one emotion or the other. (Spiritualism, incidentally, appears to involve the belief that I have just the same reasons for a given attitude toward encounteringpeople again after I am dead, as I did before:with the onemodificationthat I canbesureit willallbeverynice.) Physical pain, however, the example which for simplicity (and not for any obsessionalreason) have taken, is absolutely minimally dependent on character or belief. No amount of change in my character or my beliefs would seem to affect substantiallythe nastinessof torturesapplied to me; correspond- ingly, no degree ofpredictedchange inmy character and beliefs can unseatthe fearof torturewhich, togetherwith thosechanges, ispredicted forme. I am not atallsuggesting thatthe onlybasis,orindeed the only rational basis,for fearin the faceof thesevarious predictions is how things will be relative to my psychological state in the eventual outcome. I am merely pointing out that this is one component; itisnot the only one. For certainlyone will fearnd otherwise rejectthechangesthemselves, orin verymany casesone would. Thus one ofthe oldparadoxes ofhedonisticutilitarianism; ifone had assurancesthat undergoingcertainoperations and being attached to a machine would provide one for the rest ofone's existence with an unending sequence of delicious and varied experiences,one might very well rejectthe option,and react with fear ifsomeone to it and that fear proposed apply compulsorily; and horrorwould seem appropriatereactions in the second case may help to discredittheinterpretation (if anyonehas the nerve to proposeit)that one'sreasonfor rejectingthe optionvoluntarily would be a consciousness ofduties to others which one in one's hedonic state would leave undone. The prospect ofcontented madness or vegetablenessisfound by many (not perhapsby all) appalling inways which are obviously not function of how things would then be for them, for thingswould then be for them not 170 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE appalling. In the case weare at presentdiscussing,these sortsof considerationsseem merely tomakeit clearerthat thepredictions of the man incharge provide a double ground of horror: at the prospect of torture,nd at theprospect of the changein character and in impressionsof the pastthat willprecede it.And certainly, to repeatwhat has already been said, the prospectof thesecond certainly seemsto provide no ground for rejectingr not fearing theprospect ofthe first. I said that there were two notable differences between the second presentation of our situation and the first.The first difference,which we havejust saidsomething about, was that the very changed man predicted the tortureforme, psychologically "me." We have yet tofind reason forsaying that he should not have done this,orthat really should beunable tofollowhim ifhe does; I seem to be able to followhim only too well. The second difference isthat in thispresentation he does not mention the other man, except in the somewhat incidentalrole of being the provenance ofthe impressions of thepast end up with. He does not mention him at allassomeone who will endup with impres- sionsofthepast derived from me (and, incidentally,ith $ Ioo,ooo aswell-a consideration which, in theframe of mind appropriate to thiversion,will merelymake me jealous). Butwhyshould hementionthis man andwhat isgoingtohappen to him? My selfishconcernis to be toldhat isgoing tohappen to me, and now Iknow: torture,preceded by changes ofcharacter, brain operations,changes inimpressions of the past.The knowl- edge that one otherperson, or none, or many will be similarly mistreated may affect me in other ways, of sympathy, greater horror at the power of this tyrant,and so forth;but surely it cannot affectmyexpectations oftorture?But-someone will say- thisisto leave out exactly theeaturewhich, asthe firspresenta- tion ofthe caseshowed, makes allthe difference:foritis to leave out theperson who, as thefirspresentation showed, willbeyou. It is toleave out not merely a featurewhich should fundamentally affectyourfears,itistoleave out thevery personforwhom you are fearful.So of course, the objectorwill say, this makes all the difference. But can it?Consider thefollowing seriesf cases.In each case '7' BERNARD WILLIAMS we are tosuppose that afterwhat isdescribed,Ais, asbefore,to be tortured;we are also to supposetheperson A is informed before- hand that justthese thingsfollowed by the torturewillhappen to him: (i)A is subjected to an operation which produces total amnesia; (ii)mnesia produced in A, andother interferenceleadsto certainchanges inhis character; (iii) changesin his characterreproduced, and at thesame time certainillusory"memory" beliefsreinduced in him; theseare of aquite fictitiouskindand do not fitthe lifef any actualperson; (iv)the same as (iii),xcept that both the character traits and the "memory" impressions are designed to be appro- priatetoanother actualperson, B; (v)the same as (iv),xcept thatthe resultis produced by putting the information intoA from the brain of B, by a methodwhich leavesB thesame ashewas before; (vi)the same happens to A as in (v),but B is not leftthe same, sincea similaroperation isconducted in the reverse direction. I take it that no ones going to disputethatA has reasons,and forfear ofpainwhen theprospect is fairlystraightforwardreasons, that of situation(i);thereseems no conceivable reason why this should not extend to situation (ii),and the situation (iii)can surely introduce no difference of principle-it just seems a situationwhich for morethan one reason we should have grounds for fearing,as suggestedabove. Situation(iv)at least introduces the person B, who was the focus of the objectionwe are now discussing.Butit doesnot seem tointroduce himin any way which makes a material difference; if I can expect pain through a transformation which involves new "memory"-impressions, it would seem a purely external fact, relative tothat, that the had a model. Nor, in (iv),o we "memory"-impressions satisfy a causal condition which I mentioned at the beginning for the "memories" actuallybeing memories; though notice that ifthe 172 THE SELFAND THE FUTURE I able to elicitromthe job were done thoroughly, might well be A-body-person the kinds of remarks about his previous expecta- tionsof the experiment-remarks appropriate to the original- which soimpressed us inthefirstversion ofthestory.I shallhave a similarassurance of thisbeingso in situation(v),where,moreover, a plausibleapplication ofthecausal condition isavailable. Buttwo thingsare to be noticedaboutthis situation.First,ifwe concentrate on A and the A-body-person, we do not seem to have added anything which from the point of view of his fearsakes any material difference;just as,in the move from (iii)to (iv), it made no relevant difference that the new "memory"-impressions which precede the pain had, as it happened, a model, so in the move from (iv) to (v) allwe have added is that they have a model which isalsotheir cause:and it is stillfficulttosee why that, tohim looking forward, could possibly make the difference between expecting pain and not expecting pain. To illustrate that point from the case ofcharacter: if A icapable of expecting pain, he is capableof expecting pain preceded by a change in his dispositions-and to that expectation it can make no difference, whether that change in his dispositionsismodeled on, or indeed indirectly causedby, the dispositionsf some otherperson. If his a mere fears can, as itwere, reach through the change, it seems trimming how the change is in fact induced. The second point about situation (v) is that if the crucialquestion for A's fears with regard to what befalls the A-body-person is whether the A-body-person is oris not theperson B,2 then that condition has satisfiedin situation (v): for there we have an not yet been undisputed B in addition to the A-body-person, and certainly thosetwo arenot thesame person. But insituation(vi),we seemedto think, thatis finallyhat he is. But if A's original fearscould reach through the expected changes in(v),as theydidin (iv)and (iii),hen certainlythey can reach through in (vi).Indeed, from the point of view of A's expectations and fears,thereis lessdifferencebetween (vi)and (v) than there isbetween (v) and (iv)or between (iv)and (iii).n 2 Thisof course does have tobe the cruciaquestion,utitseemsone faiway oftakingupthepresentobjection. '73 BERNARD WILLIAMS those transitions,here wereat leastdifferences-though we could not see that they were really relevant differences-in the content and cause ofwhat happened to in him; the present case there is absolutelyno differenceat all in what happens to him, the only difference being inwhat happens to someoneelse. Ifhe can fear painwhen (v) ispredicted,why should heceaseto when (vi) is? I can seeonly one way ofrelevantlylaying great weight on the transition from (v) to (vi);and this involves a considerable difficulty.his isto denythat, asI putit, thetransitionfrom (v)to (vi) involves merely the addition of something happening to somebode ylse;what rather itdoes, itwill besaid, is tinvolve the reintroductionof A himself, as the B-body-person; since he has reappeared in this form, it is forthis person, and not for the unfortunate A-body-person, that A will have his expectations. This isto reassert,ineffect,the viewpoint emphasized in our first presentation ofthe experiment. Butthis surelyhas theconsequence thatA shouldnot have fearsforthe A-body-personwho appeared in situatio(v).For by thepresentargument, theA-body-person in (vi)isnot A; theB-body-person is.Butthe A-body-person in(v)is, in character,history,everything, exactly the same as theA-body- person in (vi);so ifthe latters notA, then neitheristhe former. (It is thispoint,no doubt, that to of encouragesone speak the difference thatgoes with [vi]s being, on the present view, the reintroductiofnA.)But no one elsein (v)has any better claimto be A. So in (v),it seems,A just does not exist.This would certainly explain why A should have no fears for the stateof things in (v)-though he might well have fearsfor the path toit. But it rather looked earlieras though he could well have fearsfor the state of things in (v).Let us grant, however, that that was an illusion,and thatA reallydoesnot exist in(v);then doesheexist in (iv), (iii), (ii),(i) Itseems very difficulttdeny itfor (i)and (ii);arewe perhaps todraw thelinebetween (iii)and (iv)? Here someone will say:you must not insiston drawing aline- borderlinecases areborderlinecases, and you must not push our conceptsbeyond theirlimits.But thiswell-knownpiece ofadvice, sensibleas itis inmany cases, seems in the presentcaseto involve an extraordinarydifficulty.Itmayintellectually comfortobservers ofA's situation;but what isA supposed to make ofit? To be told 174 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE that futuresituation isa borderlineone foritsbeing myselfthatis hurt, that it is conceptuallyundecidablewhetherit will be me or not,issomethingwhich, itseems, can do nothingwith; because, inparticular,itseemstohave no comprehensiblerepresentationin myexpectations and theemotionsthatgowith them. If I expect that a certain situationS, willcome about in the future,there is ofcourse wide range of emotions and concerns, directed on which I may experience now in relation to my S, expectation. Unless I am exceptionally egoistic,t is not condi- tion on my being concernedin relationto thisexpectation, thatI myself will be involved in S-where my being "involved" in S means that figure in S assomeonedoing somethingat that time or having something done to me, or, again, that S will have consequencesaffecting me atthat orsomesubsequenttime. There are some emotions, however, which I will feelonly if Iwill be involvedin S, andfearisanobviousexample. Now the descriptionof Sunderwhich itfiguresinmy expecta- tions willnecessarilybe,in variousways, indeterminate; and one way in which it may be indeterminate is that itleave open whether I shallbe involved in S or not. Thus I may have good reason to expectthat one out of usfiveisgoing toget hurt,but no reason to expect it tobe me rather than one of the others. My presentemotions willbe correspondinglyaffectedby thisindeter- minacy. Thus, stickingto the egoistic concerninvolved infear,I shall thanif I it presumably be somewhatmorecheerful knew was going to be me, somewhatlesscheerful thanif I had been left out altogether. Fearwill be mixed with,and qualifiedby, apprehen- sion; and so forth.These emotions revolve aroundthe thought of the eventual determination of the indeterminacy; moments of straightfearfocuson its reallyturningout to be me, ofhope on its turning out not to be me. All the emotions are relatedto the coming about of what I expect: and what Iexpect in such a case just cannotcome aboutsaveby coming aboutin one of theways or another. There are otherways in which indeterminate expectationscan be related tofear.Thus I that may expect (perhapsneurotically) something nasty is going to happen to me, indeed expect that when it happens it willtakesome determinate form, but have no '75 2 BERNARD WILLIAMS range, or no closedrange, of candidates forthe determinate form Differentfrom thiswould be to rehearse in my present thought. the fear of something radically indeterminate-the fear (one might say) of a nameless horror. If somebody had such a fear, one could even saythat he had,in a sense,aperfectly determinate expectation:ifwhat he expectsindeed comes about, there willbe tobe said about itafterthe event than nothing more determinate was saidin the expectation.Both these casesof courseare casesof fear because one thing thatis fixedamid theindeterminacy isthe beliefhat itisto meto which the thingswillhappen. Central to theexpectation of Sis thethought ofwhat itwillbe which may be indeterminate, likewhen ithappens-thought range over alternatives,and so forth.When Sinvolves me, there can be thepossibilityfaspecial form ofsuchthought: the thought of how it willbe for me, the imaginative projection of myselfas participantinS.3 about S in thisway,when itinvolves me; I do nothave tothink but I may be ableto. (Itmight be suggested thatthis possibility was even mirrored in the language, in the distinctionbetween "expecting tobe hurt" and "expecting thatI shallbe hurt";but I am very doubtful about this point, which is in any case of no importance.) Suppose now that thereis an S with regard to which it isfor conceptual reasons undecidable whether it involvesme or not, as isproposed for the experimental situation by the line we are discussing.Itisimportant that theexpectation of S is notindeter- we have just been considering. Itisnot minatein any of the ways like thenameless horror,sincethe fixedpoint ofthat casewas that it was going to happen to the subject, and that made his state unequivocally fear.Nor is itikethe expectation of the man who expects one of thefive to be hurt;his fearwas indeed equivocal, and that of the expectation,was thatwhen S came but its focus, about, it would certainlycome about in one way or the other.In thepresent case,fear(of thetorture,that isto say,ot ofthe initial experiment) seems neither appropriate, nor inappropriate, nor 3For amore detailedreatmentofissuesrelated this,eeImaginationd theSelf,ritishcademy (London, i966);reprintedn P.. Strawson(ed.), StudiesnThoughtndActionOxford,I68). 176 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE appropriatelyequivocal. Relatedly, the subjecthas an incurable difficultyabout how he may think about S. If he engages in projectiveimaginativethinking (abouthow it will be forhim), he implicitly answers the necessarily unanswerable question; if he thinksthat he cannot engage insuch thinking,it looksvery much as ifhe also answersit,though in the oppositedirection.Perhaps he mustjust refrainfrom such thinking; but is hejust refraining from it,ifit isincurably undecidable whether he can or cannot engage in it? It may be said that allthat these considerations can show is that fear,atany rate, does not get its properfootingin this case; but that there could be some other, more ambivalent, form of concern which would indeed be appropriate to this particular expectation, the expectation of the conceptually undecidable situation.There are, perhaps, analogous feelings that actually occur in actual situations.hus material objects do occasionally undergo puzzling transformations which leave a conceptual I shadowover theiridentity. Suppose weresentimentallyattached to an object to which thissort ofthing then happened; then it mightbe that couldneitherfeelaboutit quite asI didoriginally, nor be totally indifferentto it,but would have some other and rather ambivalent feeling toward it. Similarly,it may be said, toward the prospectivesuffererof pain,my identityrelationswith whom are conceptually shadowed, I can feel neithersI would if he were certainlyme, nor as Iwould ihe were certainly not, but rather some suchambivalent concern. But thisanalogy doeslittletoremove the mostbafflingaspect of the present case-an aspect which has already turnedup in what was said about the subject'sdifficultyn thinking either projec- tivelyor non-projectively about the situation.For toregard the prospective pain-sufferer justlike the transmogrified object of sentiment, and to conceive of my ambivalent distressabout his future pain as just likeambivalent distress about some future damage tosuch an object,is ofcourseto leavehim and me clearly distinct from one and thus to the conceptual another, displace shadow from itsproper place. I have to get nearer to him than that. But is therany nearer that I canget tohim without expect- ing hispain? Ifthereis,the analogy has not shown us it. Wecan '77 BERNARD WILLIAMS certainlynot get nearer by expecting, as it were,mbivalentpain; there is no placeat all for seems to be an obstinate bafflement to mirroringin my expectationsa situationinwhich it isconceptually undecidable whether I occur. The bafflement seems, moreover, to turntoplain absurdity ifwe move from conceptual undecidability to its closefriend and neighbor, conventionalistdecision.This comes out if weconsider another description,overtly conventionalist,of the seriesfcases This descriptionwould which occasioned the present discussion. rejecta point I relied on in an earlierargument-namely, that if we deny that the A-body-person in (vi)is A (because the B-body-person is),then we must deny that theA-body-person in (v) isA, sincethey areexactly the same. "No," it may be said, "this isjustto assume thatwe say the same in differentsortsof situation.No doubt when we have the very good candidate for being A-namely, the B-body-person-we call him A; but this does not mean thatwe should not call the A-body-person A in that other situationwhen we have no better candidate around. Different situationscall fordifferentdescriptions."This line of thing indeed appropriate to lawyers deciding talk isthe sort of the ownership of some property which has undergone some bewildering setoftransformations; theyjusthave to decide,and in each situation,letus suppose,it hasgot to go tosomebody, on as reasonablegrounds asthe factsand the law admit. But as line to deal with a person'sfearsor expectationsabout hisown future,it seems to have no sense at all.f A'sfearscan extend towhat will happen to theA-body-person in (v), do not seehow they can be rationallydiverted from the fate of theexactly similarperson in (vi)by hisbeing told that someone would have a reason in the lattersituationwhichhe would nothave inthe former fordeciding to callanotherperson A. Thus, tosum up, itlooksas though there aretwo presentations of the imagined experiment and the choice associated with it, each of which carries conviction,and which lead to contrary conclusions. The idea, moreover, that the situation after the experiment is conceptually undecidable in the relevantrespect the puzzlement; while seems not to assist,ut rather to increase, the idea (sooften appealed to inthese matters) that its conven- 178 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE tionally decidableis evenworse.Followingfromall that, amnot in the leastclearwhich optionit would be wiseto takeif one were presented with them before the experiment. I find that rather disturbing. Whateverthepuzzlement, there is onefeature of thearguments which have led to it which is worth picking out, since it runs counter to something which is, I think, often rather vaguely supposed.It isoftenrecognizedthat thereare"first-personal" and "third-personal"aspects of questions about persons, and that there are difficultiesabout the relationsetween them. It is also recognized that "mentalistic"considerations (aswe may vaguely callthem) and considerationsof bodily continuity areinvolved in questionsof personalidentity (which is not to say that there are mentalisticandbodily criteriaofpersonalidentity). It istempting to think thatthe two distinctionsrun inparallel: roughly,that a first-personal approach concentrates attention on mentalistic considerations, while a third-personal approach emphasizes considerations of bodily continuity. The present discussionis an illustrationof exactly the opposite.The firstargument,which led to the "mentalistic"conclusionthatA andB would changebodies and that each personshouldidentify himselfwith the destination of his memories and character,was an argument entirely con- ducted inthird-personalterms.The secondargument,which sug- gested the bodily continuity identification,oncerned itself with the first-personalissue of what A could expect. That this is so seems tome (though I will not discussit furtherhere) of some significance. I will end by suggesting one rather shaky way in which one mightapproach resolutionoftheproblem,usingonly thelimited materialsalreadyavailable. The apparently decisive arguments of the first presentation, which suggested thatA should identifyhimselfwith the B-body- person, turned on the extreme neatness of the situationin satis- fying,if any could, the descriptionof "changingbodies."But this neatnessis basically artificial;itsthe product of the willof the experimenter toproduce a situationwhich would naturallyelicit, with minimum hesitation, that description. By the sorts of methods he employed, he could easilyhave leftoff earlierorgone '79 BERNARD WILLIAMS on further.He could have stoppedat situation (v),leavingas he or he could have gone on and produced two persons each was; with A-likecharacter and memories, aswell as one or two with B-likecharacteristics.f he had done either of those,e should have been in yet greaterdifficultyabout what to say;he just chose tomakeit aseasy aspossibleforusto findsomething tosay. Now ifwe had some model of ghostlypersonsin bodies,which certainprocedures, were in some senseactuallymoved around by we could regard the neat experiment justas the effectiveperi- ment: the one method thatreallydid resultinthe ghostlypersons' changing places withoutbeing destroyed,dispersed,or whatever. But we cannot seriouslyuse such amodel. The experimenter has not in thesense ofthat model induceda change of bodies;he has rather produced the one situation out of a range of equally possiblesituationswhich we should be most disposed to calla change ofbodies. As againstthis,he principlehat one'sfearscan extend to futurepain whatever psychological changes precede it seems positivelytraightforward.Perhaps,indeed, it isnot;utwe iswrong with it.Untilwe areshown what need to beshown what is wrong with it,we should perhaps decide thatif we were the person A then, ifwe were to decide selfishly, should passthe pain to theB-body-person. It would be risky:that thereis room forthe notionof risk hereisitself major featureofthe problem. BERNARD WILLIAMS King'sCollege,ambridge I80


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Jim McGreen Ohio University

"Knowing I can count on the Elite Notetaker in my class allows me to focus on what the professor is saying instead of just scribbling notes the whole time and falling behind."

Jennifer McGill UCSF Med School

"Selling my MCAT study guides and notes has been a great source of side revenue while I'm in school. Some months I'm making over $500! Plus, it makes me happy knowing that I'm helping future med students with their MCAT."

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Parker Thompson 500 Startups

"It's a great way for students to improve their educational experience and it seemed like a product that everybody wants, so all the people participating are winning."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.