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Wilfrid Laurier University
Gary Foster

PP111 – October 5 - Read Supplementary Reading pages 15-21 for Next Week The Problem of Personal Identity Change and Identity: Review Two Views About Change and Sameness 1. Change requires that something become different than it was; difference is the opposite of sameness; so nothing can change and still be the same a. Nothing stays the same i. Materialism ii. Atomism b. Nothing changes i. Idealism ii. Plato 2. Things can undergo some changes and still remain the same. Provided that those changes are insignificant or minor Plato on Body and Soul (page 34) “The soul is very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intellectual, and uniform, and dissoluble, and unchangeable and the body is the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintellectual, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable” Diotima (page 34) “We assume that a man is the same person in his old age as in infancy, yet although we call him the same, every bit of him is different, and every day he is becoming something new...” “And not only his body, for the same thing happens to his 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 some throughout his life” - Shares the view with Heraclitus (all things change) - What does it mean to be a different person, we easily throw out words like “I don’t feel myself today” - Are we the same person from age 2 to 52? o Depends what we mean about the idea of a “person”  Is it essence based or physically based? Criterion of Person - Diotima and Plato have different views on what a person is - Something transform us o Drug addict o Amnesia o Accidents o Comas - Dramatic changes alter a person Given the many changes we undergo during our lives what makes each of us numerically the same persons for the duration of our lives 1. Changes a. Bodily changes b. Psychological changes 2. Sameness a. Qualitative Sameness/ Identity b. Numerical Sameness/ Identity John Locke on Personal Identity (1989) - Person vs. Human Beings - Identity is Relative (to classification) - Memory criterion for Personal Identity - Notion of identity and motion of diversity (page 37-number one) “Man” (human being) vs. Person 1. Human Being: “…is nothing else but an animal of such a certain form” (page 38) a. “whoever should see a creature of his own shape or make, though it had no more all its life than a cat or a parrot, would still call him a man (human)… a dull irrational man.” (page 38) b. “whoever should hear a cat or a parrot discourse, reason, and philosophize, would call or think it nothing but a cat or parrot… a very intelligent rational parrot.” (page 38) 2. Person: “…is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, can can consider itself as itself” (page 39) a. “*C+onsciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that which makes everyone to be what he calls self” (page 39) Consciousness and Self 3. Consciousness: Thus us Locke’s term for our awareness of our own thoughts and perceptions a. All persons think and perceive, but we are, in addition, conscious of the fact about ourselves 4. Self: “’it is by this *consciousness+ everyone is to himself that which he calls self’, and ‘consciousness… is that which makes everyone to be what he calls self” a. Self-Awareness is about consciousness and being able to see what occurs around you Identity is Relative “The idea of identity *is+ suited to the idea it is applied to” (page 38) “*W+e must consider the idea.. it *identity+ is applied to… it being one thing to be the same substance, another to be the same man, and a third the same person.” (page 38) IS X the same as Y? Locke: The question is incomplete, and cannot be answered until we first identify what we are asking: Is the same as what?! Is X the same parcel of matter as Y?
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