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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 118, Issue 9, September 2021

Ben Bramble
Pages 504-520

The Defective Character Solution to the Non-identity Problem

The non-identity problem is that some actions seem morally wrong even though, by affecting future people’s identities, they are worse for nobody. In this paper, I further develop and defend a lesser-known solution to the problem, one according to which when such actions are wrong, it is not because of what they do or produce, but rather just because of why they were performed. In particular, I argue that the actions in non-identity cases are wrong just when and because they result from, or reflect in those who have performed them, a morally dubious character trait.