Biography of Derek Parfit

Published on 01 January 2020

SJ Beard self-published a short biography of the philosopher Derek Parfit, with whom they had previously worked.

Derek Parfit was well known for his contributions to ethics and the philosophy of personhood, most famously in his 1984 book Reasons and Persons. While he was primarily known as a highly theoretical and speculative philosopher, Parfit was always keen to stress the practical importance of his work and inspired many researchers who would go on to focus on solving humanity’s greatest challenges, such as the founders of the Existential Risk and Effective Altruism community. This biography attempts to reconcile these two aspects of Parfit’s work by exploring the relationship between his personal and professional life and the political and intelectual background of his ideas.

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