76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Philosophical Equivalent of a Neutron Bomb,
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This review is from: Reasons and Persons (Paperback)
When I first read this book on a trip across Europe, I was blown away: I remember thinking again and again "How can something this blow-the-roof-off important be published so late in the game?" Parfit shows how some of our most common-sensical beliefs about self-interest, ethics, personal identity, and (perhaps most interestingly) our obligations to future generations are beset with surprising and thorny problems, or even flatly self-contradictory or incoherent. He's also the master of the subtle-but-important distinction. Probably several longish books could be spun out from all the original material in Reasons and Persons-- certainly many journal articles already have been! However: while Parfit's style is very clear, and he doesn't refer as extensively as some philosophers to the work of previous authors, I probably wouldn't want to tackle this bad boy without at least some training in philosophy.