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PHIL 1301
Nalini E Ramlakhan

February 4 , 2014 Personal Identity What is personal identity? • Descartes: “I think therefore I am” • For those who reject dualism – issue of what “self” is Problem of personal identity • What makes you the same person through time and space o Dualist – your body is not your identity; entirely of mental substance (soul/mind)  Problems: experiences are bodily David Hume • No self – only sequence of experience and body in which these sequences occurs What makes a person a person? • Ship of Theseus o Ship made of wood is entirely rebuilt gradually overtime. Continues to function o Is it the same ship?  Most say yes  What is all the old pieces are used to create another ship – which one is the original? • Something more in the case of personal identity • John Locke o Personal identity is a matter of psychological continuity and conscious memories  If a prince and a cobbler switch bodies, they would be the same person but would it be the same man? o Persons are independent of bodies o Distinction between what it is like to be a human vs. a person (self)  Human is tied to body  Person involves consciousness o Issues:  No flow of consciousness that Locke requires – moments of forgetfulness, unconsciousness, blurred memories o Same consciousness at different times that allows for personal identity o Locke singled out memory as central to personal identity – if I remember doing something, then I am the same person that did that thing o Self is capable of conscious emotions concerning themselves o Thomas Reid: well known for criticisms of Locke’s memory criterion of identity  Eg. General (in reading) • A B C
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