By Eugène Ehrhart
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I, for one, have never stopped in the middle of an orgasm to ask whether it is worthwhile. Nor are more subtle pleasurable experiences usually questioned except when they are bought at So Who Cares? 48 Persons – What Philosophers Say About You great cost morally or financially. Then we question not the goodness of the experience in itself but the means to achieving it. People, therefore, who can bring out the aesthetic experience through their personal appearance or their work are people we tend to care about.
My hair is longer than it was yesterday, so I am not totally like myself yesterday. A naive application of Leibniz’s law assures me that I am not the same person as I was yesterday. The reply that jumps to many The Nature of Persons 26 Persons – What Philosophers Say About You a philosopher’s lips is: Properties like hair length are not essential to the person. Now we see how we might restrict our principles, namely, to talk not of having all properties in common but of having the essential properties in common.
For example, suppose that it is possible to know what persons will do in the future. This epistemological claim about foreknowledge may have the metaphysical consequence that freedom of the will does not exist. If we can know what people do before they do it, then, apparently, they cannot freely choose to do things. After all, their actions must be determined by what happened earlier if we can know what they will do in the sense of having a justified, true belief that they will act thus. I may think that I choose freely to give to charity, The Nature of Persons 38 Persons – What Philosophers Say About You but it is already true beforehand that I will choose to do so.