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Philosophical origins

The writings of philosophers like Joseph Butler in the 18th century served as the source of inspiration for the most recent psychological research on the future self.

“The person of today is really no more interested in what will befall the person of tomorrow, than in what will befall any other person, if the self or person of tomorrow and that of today are not the same, but only like persons,” Butler wrote in 1736.

British philosopher Derek Parfit, whose work drew the attention of a young researcher named Hal Hershfield, later developed the theory and defended it.

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