These are among the many issues relevant to an investigation into therelation between personal identity and ethics. “Ethics”here is broadly construed to be about the way(s) in which we ought tolive our lives, and so it includes both self-regarding andother-regarding practical concerns. Among the self-regarding concernsfor which personal identity seems relevant are those about the natureand grounds of survival and immortality, rational anticipation,advance directives, and general prudential concern. Among theother-regarding concerns for which personal identity seems relevantare those about the nature and grounds of moral responsibility,compensation, interpersonal moral relations, abortion and embryonicresearch, population ethics, and therapeutic treatments fordissociative identity disorders. A leading approach to exploring therelation between identity and ethics, then, is to start with aninvestigation into the nature of personal identity and see howconclusions in that metaphysical realm might apply to these sorts ofpractical concerns. After starting with a brief discussion of notablehistorical accounts taking this approach, we will do so as well,surveying the main theories of personal identity on offer and thenseeing what, if anything, they might imply for several self-regardingand other-regarding ethical concerns. We will then turn to discussseveral new approaches to discovering the relation between personalidentity and ethics, alternatives that have breathed fresh life intothe debate.


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