We care about our future selves, that is central to our lives, but whether a particular person is my future self or not is completely subjective. For example, in teleportation paradox, you can in principle have a subjective belief that person that was recreated from your body is not your future self. The difference from all other views is that this view doesn't give any answers to questions like teleportation paradox (or the answer is - it is subjective).

To expand on it a bit - You can then additionally argue that our subjective concept of the future self was evolved for a certain reason, and to say that you die in teleportation paradox is based on wrong reasoning in relation to that particular reason, but that is an additional argument which could in principle not work for a different kind of entity.

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    So you have this view, what is the question?
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 19:36
  • I really don't understand this idea of "my future self" being a separate person I should care about like a friend and not because it's actually me. So far, haven't you experienced the consequences of your past actions first hand? When you went out in the cold who experiences getting sick? When you didn't exercise who experiences getting fat? When you didn't study who experiences getting an F? Not someone else.
    – armand
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 0:40
  • @Conifold what is that view called? Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 6:32
  • @armand it is similar to Derek Parfits views but the conclusion he draws is very different Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 6:35
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    If the "subjective concept" evolved for a reason then the reason is presumably shared by humans. And since humans often agree on which persons are identical to which the concept is obviously not "completely subjective", like qualia, it can be shared. What I think you mean is that personal identity is not a matter of physical fact but rather of convention. That is called conventionalism and it is professed by Unger, Nozick and Parfit , among others, see Merricks, Realism about Personal Identity, Nozick even allows that it varies from person to person.
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


In teletransportation and duplication thought experiments, there are still facts about spacetime underneath the subjectivity. It seems like an additional assumption that identity can't be ultimately objective, especially since we humans naturally simplify the total available facts to make sense of things.

That we have a particular relation between identity and the facts may be heavily influenced from evolution or culture sure, but this could be understood objectively.

E: some extra detail:

Leibniz's Principle of Identity of Indiscernables, I'm taking as no two events in spacetime are the same. Manifest Image and Scientific Image of W. Sellars, the manifest image which is basically our subjective perspective, is ultimately explained by the scientific image. Our manifest image is limited, so we generalize, like identity. Ultimately a scientific explanation for these generalizations.

  • What if half of the brain is teleported and then teleported back? What if I will get destroyed and I have a choice - A. my perfect clone is recreated; B. my clone with slight brain alterations is created and gets 100000 dollars. What if alterations are major? What if they are on the other hand extremely minor? Where do you draw the line between B being your future self and not? I don't see how that line could not be subjective. Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 18:49
  • Because I think the subjective is ultimately explained by the objective. I don't see anything in those examples that precludes such a conception. They probably have intricate explanations, that we can hardly do justice to at this time. But ultimately philosopers like Wilfrid Sellars and those in that lineage think the subjective image can be explained by the scientific image. I'm sorry for such an unsatisfying answer.
    – J Kusin
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 19:09
  • @J Kusin humour is subjective which can be ultimately explained by objective, and different people have different sense of humour. Likewise different people have feelings on whether B is their future self or not. We can in principle explain that feeling by reducing it to physics, it would still be individual for every person Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 6:42
  • @nikishev. I see nothing wrong with that statement, it is open-ended while still setting the stage. It is not entirely subjective, like your titular question asked for - just because identity may be subjective, doesn't mean it is only subjective. I hope that makes sense.
    – J Kusin
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 16:05

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