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Publisher's Summary

Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interests, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions that most of us will find very disturbing.

©1984 Derek Parfit (P)2021 Upfront Books

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-06-2021

A modern classic

One of the many rumours about Derek Parfit is that he would read Kant while brushing his teeth in order to cram more philosophy into his day. It feels rather fitting, therefore, to have been listening to Parfit's work while brushing my teeth — and having breakfast, washing the dishes, and such like.

It would be absurd to give this audiobook anything less than five stars. "Reasons and Persons" is, without a doubt, one of the greatest works of twentieth-century moral philosophy. That said, this is not "fun" reading; it requires careful and sustained concentration, and prolonged reflection between periods of listening. If you haven't heard of Parfit before, this probably isn't for you. But if "Reasons and Persons" is on your bucket-list, this is a wonderful way to work through it. Peter Batchelor's narration is clear, smooth and well-paced.

On the technical side: There were heroic efforts here to give verbal descriptions of Parfit's visual diagrams; sometimes these were perfectly clear, but often a PDF would have been better. There were also just a few hiccups — two sections are repeated (sections 11 and 84, and appendix J) — but luckily this simply meant skipping forward a bit each time.

Otherwise, I am very glad this classic work has been turned into an unabridged audiobook.

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