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Lecture 3

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Dwayne Moore

 Personal Identity  No enduring self Enduring Self Diotima Partif Hume Locke Reid Plato  Plato on Theseus' Ship o Theseus' ship stayed the same through changes to its parts o Ship w/ material planks  Plato on Personal Identity o Same way essence of ship stays same through changes to its parts, so soul stay same while body changes o Not completely word-for-word quote: "Soul is likeness of divine, and immortal, and intellectual, and uniform, and indissoluble, and unchangeable...body is likeness of human, and mortal, and unintellectual, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable." - Plato,Phaedo  Diotima on Personal Identity o "And not only his body, for the same thing happens to the soul. And neither his manners nor his dispositions, nor his thoughts, nor his desires, nor his pleasures, nor his sufferings, nor his fears are the same throughout his life." - Diotima, Symposium  The change is psychological (the soul changes --> i.e. there's no enduring self)  The Problem of Personal Identity o Given many changes we undergo during out lives, how can we be the same person for the duration of our lives?: are we numerically the same person for the duration of our lies?  Changes: o Bodily Changes --> physical material changes o Psychological Changes --> belief/desire changes  Sameness: 1. Qualitative Sameness/Identity --> if you have different qualities/properties, you're not qualitatively the same 2. Numerical Sameness/Identity --> if you're no longer the same person, you're not numerically the same  Thomas Reid (1710 - 1796) o Diotima states that our bodies and belief/desires change, so we're not the same body/person over time o Reid agrees that our bodies change over time o Reid agrees that our beliefs/desires/attitudes change over time o But there's still an unchanging self/thinker which doesn't change  My beliefs have changed, but the believer of those beliefs hasn't changed o "My thoughts and actions and feeling change every moment: they have no continued, but a successive existence; but that self, or I, to which they belong is permanent…"  David Hume (1711 - 1776) o Hume reacts to Reid's type of thinking by deciding that he is going to attempt to find this thinking "I" o "For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or others of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time w/o a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception" - Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, 1.4.6. o "The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, repass, glide away and mingle in a variety of postures and situations" - Hume o We "imagine something unknown and mysterious connecting the parts." - Hume o However, we never "find anything invariable and uninterrupted to justify our notion of identity" - Hume o "I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement… They are the successive perception only, that constitute the mind." - Hume, Treatise of Human Nature  Metaphysical Realism: (endorsed by Plato) o Selves are real o They're distinct from successions of related thoughts, feelings, and perceptions  Metaphysical Eliminativism: (endorsed by Diotima ) o There are no such things as selves o Only successions of related thoughts, feelings, and perceptions exist  Metaphysical Reductionism (endorsed by Hume ) o Selves are real o But they're nothing other than (i.e. they consist in) changing successions of related thoughts, feelings, and perceptions  Examples of reductionism:  Water = H2O? --> does water still exist? Yes.  Lightning = electrical discharge? Does lightning exist? Yes.  Just redefining water as H2O (both exist; thus there is a self)  The self isn't a separate entity; they're both related  Examples of eliminativism:  Witches = psychosis, distressed women? --> Do witches exist? No, only distressed women exist. (thus, eliminate witches)  Santa = mother? --> Does Santa exist? No, only mothers exist. (thus, eliminate Santa)  Eliminate the self altogether  Examples of metaphysical realism:  Global warming and regular climate change are two distinct things (due to drastic differences)  The selves are real but they are not identical  For Hume: o The self exists as a bundle of perceptions o There's no enduring "I" that persists through change  For Reid: there's a distinction b/w Perfect Identity/Imperfect Identity  Imperfect Identity o When there's no persisting object through change, but for convenience we call it the same thing  Perfect Identity o When there's a persisting object through change, which grounds our identity claim  Examples of imperfect identity
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