An analysis of the problem of personal identity

Introduction To say that things are identical is to say that they are the same. However, they have more than one meaning. A distinction is customarily drawn between qualitative and numerical identity or sameness.

An analysis of the problem of personal identity

More than theorizing, this text expresses ways of defending ideas and proving them to be true or more-likely-to-be-true than other ideas.

An analysis of the problem of personal identity

In a general sense, it seems that the body theory wins the round of dialogs for having more pros and fewer cons than the soul, memory, and brain theories. Let it be noted that none of the theories was definitely proven flawless. In order to prove my position, I will argue in favor of the memory theory by introducing a new argument, and later by comparing it to the other theories.

The shy smile of somebody recognizing a neighbor, the warm smile of somebody greeting a good friend, and the sadness of somebody that misses someone special are all reactions that are brought about by memories.

One person recognizes another not only by physical characteristics, but also by the combination of accumulated memories, which provides common things to share and talk about. Now let us consider memory loss.

An analysis of the problem of personal identity

If I lose my memories, do I stop being me? There are conscious and subconscious memories. My father laughs very loudly and in a particular way when he is happy, especially after a glass of good wine, which he appreciates.

People perform these tasks without thinking about them. However, speaking, eating, and writing are not inherited traits; they were all learned at some point, and therefore, they are part of memory.

I have never heard of somebody who had their penmanship completely modified after memory loss—people tend to draw the letters in a certain way regardless. The resulting individual is someone with no capability of retaining any memories of any kind, and is therefore a person without identity.

A blind person can recognize friends and family. This recognition is not only based on physical factors such as voice, but also on the way a person uses voice to express thoughts, feelings, and so on.

A blind person may be able to recognize when a close friend is excited, worried, or lying. This recognition does not come from a particular way the body moves, but by the unique behavior that is expressed and repeated to a point that the memory can identify it.

Introduction

For example, plastic surgery is very advanced nowadays—let us consider that a person can be modified as to be exactly like me, having the same facial characteristics, body type, even the same voice, but not the memories that make up my personality. That person is not me, and ultimately will not even sound like me because she will not use the same accented intonation or word choice that I would.

Regarding the soul theory, in which an immaterial soul defines personal identity, the argument is sufficient to discard this theory as determinant of personal identity. Unless there is a way of confirming the existence of a soul by any sort of technology or study, I do not see how this theory could be proven.There are several general philosophical theories of this identity problem.

Body theory, Soul theory and Conscious Theory will come to fit into the missing piece of the puzzle of personal identity.

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The body theory is one of the theories that define personal identity. This sort of analysis of personal identity provides a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the identity of the person over time. In the modern philosophy of mind, this concept of personal identity is sometimes referred to as the diachronic problem of personal identity.

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The four theories of personal identity—body theory, soul theory, memory theory, brain theory—expressed in Perry’s book are well discussed. In a general sense, it seems that the body theory wins the round of dialogs for having more pros and fewer cons than the soul, memory, and brain theories.

Summary of the Problem of Personal Identity April 21, Philosophy of Mind John Messerly This article was reprinted in the online magazine of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, April 25, ). This sort of analysis of personal identity provides a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the identity of the person over time.

In the modern philosophy of mind, this concept of personal identity is sometimes referred to as the diachronic problem of personal identity.

Analysis of Perry’s Theories of Personal Identity | Magnificat