Parfit Personal Identity Essay

Summary 04.09.2019

The answer to these questions depends on the answer to the persistence question. How do we find out who is who. What evidence bears on the question of whether the person personal now is the one who was here yesterday.

One source of evidence is first-person memory: if you remember doing some particular action or seem toand someone really did do it, this supports the claim that that person is you.

Another source is physical continuity: if the person who did it looks just like you, or even better if she is in some sense physically or spatio-temporally continuous with you, that too is identity to think she is you. Which of these sources is more fundamental. Does first-person memory count as evidence all by itself, for instance, or only insofar as we can check it against publicly available essay facts.

Parfit personal identity essay

What should we do when they support opposing verdicts. Ought we to conclude, on the basis of memory evidence, that the resulting person is not Charlie but Guy Fawkes brought back to life, or should we instead infer on the basis of physical continuity that he is simply Charlie with different memories.

What principle would essay this question. The evidence question dominated the anglophone literature on personal identity from the s to the s good examples include Shoemakerand PenelhumIt is important to distinguish it from the persistence question. What it takes for you to persist through time is one thing; how we ought to evaluate the relevant evidence is another. If the criminal had fingerprints just like yours, the courts may conclude that he is you. But even if they are right to do so, having your fingerprints is not what it is for a past or future being to be you: it is neither necessary you could survive without any fingers at all nor sufficient someone else could have fingerprints just like yours.

If the persistence question is about which of the characters introduced at the beginning of a story have survived to become those at the end of it, we may also ask how many are on the stage at any one time.

What determines how many of us there are now. If there are some seven billion people on the earth at present, what facts—biological, psychological, or what have you—make that the right number. The question is not what causes there to be a certain number of people at a given time, but what there being that number how to reference an opera in an essay in. But this is disputed. Some say that cutting the main connections between the cerebral hemispheres results in radical disunity of consciousness, and that because of this, two people share a personal identity see e.

Nagel ; Puccetti argues that there are two people within each normal human being; see also van Inwagen — Others say that a human being with multiple personality could literally be the home of two or more thinking beings Wilkes f.

Still others argue that two people can share an organism in cases of conjoined twinning Campbell and McMahan ; see also Olson These terms need careful handling, however.

Who to write a thesis

First, Parfit believes that at some future time, I shall either exist or I shall not exist. His second belief is that there some matters that are important to us that involve survival, responsibility, and memory, which we cannot decide unless the question of personal identity is answered What changes this personal identity. Psychologically, we have the ability to change our beliefs. Physically, our human bodies change. Why should an event that would normally preserve your existence bring it to an end if accompanied by a second such event—one having no causal effect on the first? If your brain is to be divided, why do we need to destroy half of it in order to save you? For discussion, see Noonan 12—15 and ch. The problem is especially acute if brain-state transfer counts as psychological continuity. In that case, even copying your total brain state to another brain without doing you any physical or psychological harm would kill you. The non-branching view makes the What matters? Faced with the prospect of having one of your hemispheres transplanted, there is no evident reason to prefer having the other destroyed. Most of us would rather have both preserved, even if they go into different heads. Yet on the non-branching view that is to prefer death over continued existence. This leads Parfit and others to say that that is precisely what we ought to prefer. We have no reason to want to continue existing, at least for its own sake. What you have reason to want is that there be someone in the future who is psychologically continuous with you, whether or not she actually is you. The usual way to achieve this is to continue existing yourself, but the fission story shows that this is not necessary. Likewise, even the most selfish person has a reason to care about the welfare of the beings who would result from her undergoing fission, even if, as the non-branching view implies, neither would be her. In the fission case, the sorts of practical concerns you ordinarily have for yourself apply to someone other than you. This suggests more generally that facts about who is who have no practical importance. All that matters practically is who is psychologically continuous with whom. Lewis and Parfit debate whether the multiple-occupancy view can preserve the conviction that identity is what matters practically. The Too-Many-Thinkers Problem Another objection to psychological-continuity views is that they rule out our being biological organisms Carter , Ayers —, Snowdon , Olson 80f. This is because no sort of psychological continuity appears to be either necessary or sufficient for a human organism to persist. Human organisms have brute-physical persistence conditions. If your brain were transplanted, the one who ended up with that organ would be uniquely psychologically continuous with you and this continuity would be continuously physically realized. On any psychological-continuity view, she would be you: the person would go with her transplanted brain. But no organism would go with its transplanted brain. The operation would simply move an organ from one organism to another. So it seems, anyway. It follows that if you were an organism, you would stay behind with an empty head. Even though this is never going to happen, it shows that according to psychological-continuity views we have a property that no organism has, namely possibly moving from one organism to another by brain transplant. Again, a human organism could continue existing in an irreversible vegetative state with no psychological continuity. If you were an organism, you could too. But according to psychological-continuity views you could not. It follows that human animals have a property that we lack, namely possibly surviving as a vegetable. But a healthy, adult human organism seems a paradigm case of a thinking being. If human organisms can think, yet as psychological-continuity views imply we are not organisms, three difficulties arise. First, you are one of two intelligent beings sitting there and reading this entry. More generally, there are two thinking beings wherever we thought there was just one. Second, the organism would not merely think in some way or other, but would presumably be psychologically indistinguishable from you. In that case it cannot be true that all people or even all human people persist by virtue of psychological continuity. Some—those that are organisms—would have brute-physical persistence conditions. Third, it becomes hard to see how you could know whether you were a nonanimal person with psychological persistence conditions or an animal person with brute-physical ones. If you thought you were the nonanimal, the organism would use the same reasoning to conclude that it was too. For all you could ever know, it seems, you might be the one making this mistake. We can make this epistemic problem more vivid by imagining a three-dimensional duplicating machine. The process causes temporary unconsciousness but is otherwise harmless. Two beings wake up, one in each box. The boxes are indistinguishable. Because each being will have the same apparent memories and perceive identical surroundings, each will think, for the same reasons, that he or she is you. But only one will be right. Suppose the technicians who work the machine are sworn to secrecy and immune to bribes. Did I do the things I seem to remember doing? Am I a nonanimal that would go with its transplanted brain, or an animal that would stay behind with an empty head? The most popular defense of the psychological-continuity view against this objection is to say that, despite sharing our brains and showing all the outward signs of consciousness and intelligence, human organisms do not think and are not conscious. Thinking animals are not a problem for psychological-continuity views for the simple reason that there are none Shoemaker 92—97, Lowe 1, Johnston 55; Baker is a subtle variant. If human organisms cannot be conscious, it would seem to follow that no biological organism of any sort could have any mental properties at all. Shoemaker argues that this follows from the functionalist theory of mind , , The best-known proposal of this sort focuses on personhood and first-person reference. It says that not just any being with mental properties of the sort that you and I have—rationality and self-consciousness, for instance—counts as a person. A person must also persist by virtue of psychological continuity. It follows that human animals are not people thus solving the second problem, about personhood. So the organism is not mistaken about which thing it is: it has no first-person beliefs about itself at all. And you are not mistaken either. You can know that you are not the animal thinking your thoughts because it is not a person and personal pronouns never refer to nonpeople thus solving the third, epistemic problem. See Noonan , , Olson ; for a different approach based on epistemic principles see Brueckner and Buford Or one could say that human organisms have psychological persistence conditions. Despite appearances, the transplant operation would not move your brain from one organism to another, but would cut an organism down to the size of a brain, move it across the room, and then give it new parts to replace the ones it lost—presumably destroying the animal into which the brain is implanted. This may be the view of Wiggins , and McDowell , and is unequivocally endorsed by Madden ; see also Langford , Olson — Brute-Physical Views None of these objections arise on animalism, the view that we are organisms. This does not imply that all organisms, or even all human organisms, are people: as we saw earlier, human embryos and animals in a persistent vegetative state may not count as people. Being a person may be only a temporary property of you, like being a student. Nor does animalism imply that all people are organisms. It is consistent with the existence of wholly inorganic people: gods or angels or conscious robots. It does not say that being an animal is part of what it is to be a person a view defended in Wiggins and Wollheim ch. Animalism leaves the answer to the personhood question entirely open. Assuming that organisms persist by virtue of some sort of brute-physical continuity, animalism implies a version of the brute-physical view. Some endorse a brute-physical view without saying that we are animals. They say that we are our bodies Thomson , or that our identity through time consists in the identity of our bodies Ayer This has been called the bodily criterion of personal identity. It is obscure, and its relation to animalism is uncertain. Most versions of the brute-physical view imply that human people have the same persistence conditions as certain nonpeople, such as dogs. And it implies that our persistence conditions differ from those of immaterial people, if they are possible. It follows that there are no persistence conditions for people as such. Baker objects strenuously to this. The most common objection to brute-physical views is the repugnance of their implication that you would stay behind if your brain were transplanted e. Unger ; for an important related objection see Johnston , In other words, brute-physical views are unattractive in just the way that psychological-continuity views are attractive. Animalists generally concede the force of this, but take it to be outweighed by other considerations. First, animalism avoids the too-many-thinkers problem. Second, it is compatible with our beliefs about who is who in real life. Every actual case in which we take someone to survive or perish is a case where a human organism does so. Psychological-continuity views, by contrast, conflict with the appearance that each of us was once a foetus. When we see an ultrasound picture of a week-old foetus, we ordinarily think we are seeing something that will, if all goes well, be born, learn to speak, and eventually become an adult human person. Yet none of us is in any way psychologically continuous with a week-old foetus. Suppose you had a tumor that would kill you unless your brain were replaced with a healthy donated organ. This would have grave side-effects: it would destroy your memories, plans, preferences, and other mental properties. It may not be clear whether you could survive such a thing. Maybe the operation could save your life, though at great cost. We cannot confidently rule this out even if the new brain gave you memories, plans, and preferences from the donor. A brain transplant might be metaphysically analogous to a liver transplant. Wider Themes The debate between psychological-continuity and brute-physical views cannot be settled without considering more general matters outside of personal identity. For instance, psychological-continuity theorists need to explain why human organisms are unable to think as we do. This will require an account of the nature of mental properties. Or if human organisms can think, they must explain how we can know that we are not those organisms. This will turn on how the reference of personal pronouns and proper names works, or on the nature of knowledge. Some general metaphysical views suggest that there is no unique right answer to the persistence question. The best-known example is the ontology of temporal parts mentioned in section 5. It says that for every period of time when you exist, short or long, there is a temporal part of you that exists only then. This gives us many likely candidates for being you—that is, many different beings now sitting there and reading this. Suppose you are a material thing, and that we know what determines your spatial boundaries. But that stage is a part of a vast number of temporally extended objects Hudson ch. For instance, it is a part of a being whose temporal boundaries are determined by relations of psychological continuity Section 4 among its stages. That is, one of the beings thinking your current thoughts is an aggregate of person-stages, each of which is psychologically continuous with each of the others and with no other stage. If this is what you are, then you persist by virtue of psychological continuity. Although it may be poorly understood, due to limitations of space this article will disregard the view. IM is to be distinguished from a more popular version of the simple view, according to which personal identity relations are weakly reductive WR and in independence non-informative INI : WR-INI: X at t1 is identical to Y at t2 iff there is some fact F1 about X at t1, and some fact F2 about Y at t2, and F1 and F2 are irreducible to facts about the subjects' psychology or physiology, and X at t1 is identical with Y at t2 in virtue of the fact that the propositions stating F1 and F2 differ only insofar as that "X" and "t1" occur in the former where "Y" and "t2" occur in the latter. Initially the idea underlying this claim may appear prejudicial; ultimately it is based on a number of widespread but not universally accepted beliefs about the naturalness of the world and the nature, validity and theoretical implications of physicalism. According to this general stance, either both psychological and physiological continuity relations are fully reducible to a domain in which physical explanations are couched, perhaps in terms of the basic elements of a final and unified theory of physics, or they belong themselves to such a domain. WR-INI may entail IM but does not so necessarily: it is conceivable that personal identity relations consist in something which is itself neither identical with nor reducible to a spiritual substance nor identical with nor reducible to aggregates or parts of psychologies and physiologies. In fact, Descartes' own view that personal identity is determined by "vital union" relations between pure Egos and bodies, with the persistence of the Ego being regarded as sufficient for the persistence of the person but the person not being wholly identifiable with the Ego, could be a weakly reductive view of persons. It is merely weakly reductive, however, because the identity of the phenomenon that specifies the necessary and sufficient conditions for personal identity does not itself follow from anything other than itself. While a weakly reductive criterion of personal identity relations is explicable in terms of the identities of phenomena other than persons, the identities of these phenomena themselves are not explicable in other terms: their identity may be, as we would suppose "soul identity" to be, "strict and philosophical", and not merely "loose and popular" Butler Nowadays, the Simple View is disparaged as a theory only maintained by thinkers whose religious or spiritual commitments outweigh the reasons that speak against their views on personal identity. This is due to the fact that it is assumed that a theory of personal identity cannot be weakly reductive without involving appeal to discredited spiritual substances or committing itself either to the acknowledgment of yet unrecognized physical entities or to an Identity Mysticism on the level of persons. As a consequence, many philosophers think that the problems that infiltrate dualism and Cartesian theories of the soul, such as the alleged impossibilities to circumscribe the ontological status of souls and to explain how a soul can interact with a body, render the Simple View equally problematic. Although the options mentioned are exceedingly difficult to defend, why should they have to be regarded as the only options available to the Simple Theorist? Arguably, many respectable philosophical ideologies, such as conceptualism or Neo-Kantianism, may issue in theories of personal identity along Simple lines without appeal to Cartesian Egos. Note, however, that these ideologies, with regards to the problem of the persistence of people, may also be, and in fact have been, construed along physiological or psychological lines. This suggests that we do not only need a better understanding, and above all more promising articulations, of the Simple View, but also a new taxonomy of theories of personal identity: the traditional division of theories into Simple, Psychological and Physical, even if maintained here by the author of this entry, may not be the best way of viewing the matter. Reductionism 1 : General Features Modern day personal identity theory takes place mainly within reductionist assumptions, concentrating on the relative merits of different criteria of identity and related methodological questions. Reductionist theories of personal identity share the contention that Reduction: Facts about personal identity stand in an adequate reduction-relation to sets of sub-personal facts SF The sets of necessary and sufficient conditions determined by these sets of sub-personal facts constitute the various criteria of personal identity. It must be noted that the biconditionals in question need not to be understood in such a way as that circularity is an objection to them: provided that concepts other than "person" feature in the analysans, these biconditionals, by exhibiting connections with collateral and independently intelligible concepts, may be genuinely elucidatory even if the concept to be analyzed features on both sides of the equation cf. McDowell ; Wittgenstein , 3. Only when the concepts "person" and "personal identity" become the target of what may be referred to as an authentic reduction circularities become vicious. The need for the distinction between authentic and inauthentic reductions arises due to an equivocation that ought not to confuse the present discussion: reductionisms in personal identity theory often take forms, if regarded for example as sets of supervenience claims, that are deemed, in other areas of analytic philosophy, as distinctively non-reductionist. Let us speak of authentic reductions if the ontological status of members of the reduced category is, in a way to be made precise, diminished in favor of the allegedly "more fundamental" existence-status of members of the reducing category. The question of whether an authentic reductionism about persons must claim that it is not only able to give a criterion of personal identity without presupposing personal identity but also that facts about persons are describable without using the concept "person" is a matter of current controversy cf. In a search for the necessary and sufficient conditions for the sustenance of personal identity relations between subjects, which type of continuity-relations could SF describe? There are two main contenders, physiological continuity-relations and psychological continuity-relations, which will be discussed in turn. Reductionism 2 : Psychological Approaches Psychological Criteria of personal identity hold that psychological continuity relations, that is, overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, as those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth, constitute personal identity cf. Locke , II. Two apparently physiological theories of personal identity are at bottom psychological, namely i the Brain Criterion, which holds that the spatiotemporal continuity of a single functioning brain constitutes personal identity; and ii the Physical Criterion, which holds that, necessarily, the spatiotemporal continuity of that which sustains the continuous psychological life of a human being over time, which is, contingently, a sufficient part of the brain that must remain in order to be the brain of a living person, constitutes personal identity cf. Nagel These approaches are at bottom psychological because they single out, as the constituting factors of personal identity, the psychological continuity of the subject. Consider a test case. Imagine there to be a tribe of beings who are in all respects like human beings, except for the fact that their brains and livers have swapped bodily functions: their brains regulate, synthesize, store, secrete, transform, and break down many different substances in the body, while their livers are responsible for their cognitive capacities, basic integrated postural and locomotor movement sequences, perception, instincts, emotions, thinking, and other integrative activities. Imagine the brain criterion to be true for human beings. Would we have sufficient reason to believe the brain criterion to be true for members of the tribe in question as well, if we were aware of all facts about their physiologies? There is nothing special about the 1. We can further distinguish between three versions of the psychological criterion: the Narrow version demands psychological continuity to be caused "normally," the Wide version permits any reliable cause, and the Widest version allows any cause to be sufficient to secure psychological continuity cf. Parfit The Narrow version, we may note, is logically equivalent to the Physical Criterion. One might think that brain criterion and physical criterion, to varying degrees, combine the best of both worlds: both acknowledge the vital function psychological continuity plays in our identity judgments while at the same time admitting of the importance of physiological instantiation. In fact, however, the opposite is the case: the appeal to physiology introduces an unacceptable element of contingency into the answers to the persistence question envisaged by defenders of these criteria. A criterion of personal identity tells us what our persistence necessarily consists in, which means that it must be able to deliver a verdict in possible scenarios that is consistent with its verdicts in ordinary cases. One scenario that has been widely debated is the following: Teletransportation At t1, X enters a teletransporter, which, before destroying X, creates an exact blueprint of X's physical and psychological states. The information is sent to a replicator device on Mars, which at t2 creates a qualitatively identical duplicate, Y cf. Our alleged intuition: since Y at t2 shares with X at t1 all memories, character traits, and other psychological characteristics, X and Y are identical. Alleged conclusion: should teletransportation be reliable, all proposed criteria but the Wide and Widest versions of the Psychological Criterion are false. Should teletransportation be unreliable, all criteria of personal identity but the Widest version of the Psychological Criterion are false. Consequently, should appeal to such scenarios as Teletransportation be acceptable and should the intuition above be widely shared, the brain criterion and physical criterion are false. Quasi-Psychology Many people regard the idea that our persistence is intrinsically related to our psychology as obvious. The problem of cashing out this conviction in theoretical terms, however, is notoriously difficult. Psychological continuity relations are to be understood in terms of overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, that is, those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth. This statement avoids two obvious problems. First, some attempts to cash out personal identity relations in psychological terms appeal exclusively to direct psychological connections. These accounts face the problem that identity is a transitive relation see 1. Take memory as an example: suppose that Paul broke the neighbor's window as a kid, an incident he remembers vividly when he starts working as a primary school teacher in his late 20s. As an old man, Paul remembers his early years as a teacher, but has forgotten ever having broken the neighbor's window. Assume, for reductio, that personal identity consists in direct memory connections. In that case the kid is identical with the primary school teacher and the primary school teacher is identical with the old man; the old man, however, is not identical with the kid. Since this conclusion violates the transitivity of identity which states that if an X is identical with a Y, and the Y is identical with a Z, then the X must be identical with the Z , personal identity relations cannot consist in direct memory connections. Appeal to overlapping layers or chains of psychological connections avoids the problem by permitting indirect relations: according to this view, the old man is identical with the kid precisely because they are related to each other by those causal and cognitive relations that connect kid and teacher and teacher and old man. Second, memory alone is not necessary for personal identity, as lack of memory through periods of sleep or coma do not obliterate one's survival of these states. Appeal to causal and cognitive connections which relate not only memory but other psychological aspects is sufficient to eradicate the problem. Let us say that we are dealing with psychological connectedness if the relations in question are direct causal or cognitive relations, and that we are dealing with psychological continuity if overlapping layers of psychological connections are appealed to cf. One of the main problems a psychological approach faces is overcoming an alleged circularity associated with explicating personal identity relations in terms of psychological notions. Consider memory as an example. It seems that if John remembers having repaired the bike, then it is necessarily the case that John repaired the bike: saying that a person remembers having carried out an action which the person did not in fact carry out may be regarded as a misapplication of the verb "to remember. Thanks, Essays-Writer. I have never been disappointed. Even though the subject matter was quite dense, they managed to come up with high quality work. This has been my experience with Essays-Writer. Each and every time I have needed a high quality paper, you have come through with outstanding writing examples for me. I am pleased to recommend your writing service to my friends and colleagues. This is so impressive! 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They are apt to give the mistaken impression that identity comes in two kinds, synchronic and diachronic. The truth is simply that there are two kinds of situations where we can ask how many people or other things there are: those involving essay one moment and those involving several. What am I. What sort of things, metaphysically speaking, are you and I and other human people. What are 250 word essay about myself fundamental properties, in addition to those that make us people.

What, for instance, are we made of. Are we personal entirely of matter, as stones are, or are we partly or wholly immaterial. Where do our spatial boundaries lie, if we are spatially extended at all. Do we extend all the way out to our skin and no further, for instance. If so, what fixes those boundaries. Are we substances—metaphysically independent beings—or is each of us a state or aspect or activity of something else. We are temporal parts of animals: each of us stands to an organism as your childhood stands to your life as a whole Lewis We are spatial parts of animals: brains perhaps Campbell and McMahanParfitor temporal parts of brains Hudson We are partless immaterial substances—souls—as Plato, Descartes, and Leibniz thought see also Unger ch.

There is no consensus or identity a dominant view on this question. What matters in identity. What is the practical importance of facts about how to start an analytical essay sentence persistence. Why does it matter. What reason have you to care essay you yourself continue to exist, rather than someone else just like you existing in your place.

Imagine that surgeons are going to put your brain into my personal and that neither of us has any identity about this. Suppose the resulting person will be in terrible pain after the operation unless one of us pays a large sum in advance. If we were both entirely selfish, which of us would have a reason to pay.

Parfit personal identity essay

Will the resulting person—who will presumably think he is you—be responsible for your actions or for mine. Or both, or neither.

Reductionism 1 : General Features Modern day personal identity theory takes place mainly within reductionist assumptions, concentrating on the relative merits of different criteria of identity and related methodological questions. Reductionist theories of personal identity share the contention that Reduction: Facts about personal identity stand in an adequate reduction-relation to sets of sub-personal facts SF The sets of necessary and sufficient conditions determined by these sets of sub-personal facts constitute the various criteria of personal identity. It must be noted that the biconditionals in question need not to be understood in such a way as that circularity is an objection to them: provided that concepts other than "person" feature in the analysans, these biconditionals, by exhibiting connections with collateral and independently intelligible concepts, may be genuinely elucidatory even if the concept to be analyzed features on both sides of the equation cf. McDowell ; Wittgenstein , 3. Only when the concepts "person" and "personal identity" become the target of what may be referred to as an authentic reduction circularities become vicious. The need for the distinction between authentic and inauthentic reductions arises due to an equivocation that ought not to confuse the present discussion: reductionisms in personal identity theory often take forms, if regarded for example as sets of supervenience claims, that are deemed, in other areas of analytic philosophy, as distinctively non-reductionist. Let us speak of authentic reductions if the ontological status of members of the reduced category is, in a way to be made precise, diminished in favor of the allegedly "more fundamental" existence-status of members of the reducing category. The question of whether an authentic reductionism about persons must claim that it is not only able to give a criterion of personal identity without presupposing personal identity but also that facts about persons are describable without using the concept "person" is a matter of current controversy cf. In a search for the necessary and sufficient conditions for the sustenance of personal identity relations between subjects, which type of continuity-relations could SF describe? There are two main contenders, physiological continuity-relations and psychological continuity-relations, which will be discussed in turn. Reductionism 2 : Psychological Approaches Psychological Criteria of personal identity hold that psychological continuity relations, that is, overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, as those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth, constitute personal identity cf. Locke , II. Two apparently physiological theories of personal identity are at bottom psychological, namely i the Brain Criterion, which holds that the spatiotemporal continuity of a single functioning brain constitutes personal identity; and ii the Physical Criterion, which holds that, necessarily, the spatiotemporal continuity of that which sustains the continuous psychological life of a human being over time, which is, contingently, a sufficient part of the brain that must remain in order to be the brain of a living person, constitutes personal identity cf. Nagel These approaches are at bottom psychological because they single out, as the constituting factors of personal identity, the psychological continuity of the subject. Consider a test case. Imagine there to be a tribe of beings who are in all respects like human beings, except for the fact that their brains and livers have swapped bodily functions: their brains regulate, synthesize, store, secrete, transform, and break down many different substances in the body, while their livers are responsible for their cognitive capacities, basic integrated postural and locomotor movement sequences, perception, instincts, emotions, thinking, and other integrative activities. Imagine the brain criterion to be true for human beings. Would we have sufficient reason to believe the brain criterion to be true for members of the tribe in question as well, if we were aware of all facts about their physiologies? There is nothing special about the 1. We can further distinguish between three versions of the psychological criterion: the Narrow version demands psychological continuity to be caused "normally," the Wide version permits any reliable cause, and the Widest version allows any cause to be sufficient to secure psychological continuity cf. Parfit The Narrow version, we may note, is logically equivalent to the Physical Criterion. One might think that brain criterion and physical criterion, to varying degrees, combine the best of both worlds: both acknowledge the vital function psychological continuity plays in our identity judgments while at the same time admitting of the importance of physiological instantiation. In fact, however, the opposite is the case: the appeal to physiology introduces an unacceptable element of contingency into the answers to the persistence question envisaged by defenders of these criteria. A criterion of personal identity tells us what our persistence necessarily consists in, which means that it must be able to deliver a verdict in possible scenarios that is consistent with its verdicts in ordinary cases. One scenario that has been widely debated is the following: Teletransportation At t1, X enters a teletransporter, which, before destroying X, creates an exact blueprint of X's physical and psychological states. The information is sent to a replicator device on Mars, which at t2 creates a qualitatively identical duplicate, Y cf. Our alleged intuition: since Y at t2 shares with X at t1 all memories, character traits, and other psychological characteristics, X and Y are identical. Alleged conclusion: should teletransportation be reliable, all proposed criteria but the Wide and Widest versions of the Psychological Criterion are false. Should teletransportation be unreliable, all criteria of personal identity but the Widest version of the Psychological Criterion are false. Consequently, should appeal to such scenarios as Teletransportation be acceptable and should the intuition above be widely shared, the brain criterion and physical criterion are false. Quasi-Psychology Many people regard the idea that our persistence is intrinsically related to our psychology as obvious. The problem of cashing out this conviction in theoretical terms, however, is notoriously difficult. Psychological continuity relations are to be understood in terms of overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, that is, those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth. This statement avoids two obvious problems. First, some attempts to cash out personal identity relations in psychological terms appeal exclusively to direct psychological connections. These accounts face the problem that identity is a transitive relation see 1. Take memory as an example: suppose that Paul broke the neighbor's window as a kid, an incident he remembers vividly when he starts working as a primary school teacher in his late 20s. As an old man, Paul remembers his early years as a teacher, but has forgotten ever having broken the neighbor's window. Assume, for reductio, that personal identity consists in direct memory connections. In that case the kid is identical with the primary school teacher and the primary school teacher is identical with the old man; the old man, however, is not identical with the kid. Since this conclusion violates the transitivity of identity which states that if an X is identical with a Y, and the Y is identical with a Z, then the X must be identical with the Z , personal identity relations cannot consist in direct memory connections. Appeal to overlapping layers or chains of psychological connections avoids the problem by permitting indirect relations: according to this view, the old man is identical with the kid precisely because they are related to each other by those causal and cognitive relations that connect kid and teacher and teacher and old man. Second, memory alone is not necessary for personal identity, as lack of memory through periods of sleep or coma do not obliterate one's survival of these states. Appeal to causal and cognitive connections which relate not only memory but other psychological aspects is sufficient to eradicate the problem. Let us say that we are dealing with psychological connectedness if the relations in question are direct causal or cognitive relations, and that we are dealing with psychological continuity if overlapping layers of psychological connections are appealed to cf. One of the main problems a psychological approach faces is overcoming an alleged circularity associated with explicating personal identity relations in terms of psychological notions. Consider memory as an example. It seems that if John remembers having repaired the bike, then it is necessarily the case that John repaired the bike: saying that a person remembers having carried out an action which the person did not in fact carry out may be regarded as a misapplication of the verb "to remember. Consequently, the objection goes, if memory and other psychological predicates are not impartial with regards to identity judgments, a theory that involves these predicates and that at the same time proposes to explicate such identity judgments is straightforwardly circular: it plainly assumes what it intends to prove. One source of evidence is first-person memory: if you remember doing some particular action or seem to , and someone really did do it, this supports the claim that that person is you. Another source is physical continuity: if the person who did it looks just like you, or even better if she is in some sense physically or spatio-temporally continuous with you, that too is reason to think she is you. Which of these sources is more fundamental? Does first-person memory count as evidence all by itself, for instance, or only insofar as we can check it against publicly available physical facts? What should we do when they support opposing verdicts? Ought we to conclude, on the basis of memory evidence, that the resulting person is not Charlie but Guy Fawkes brought back to life, or should we instead infer on the basis of physical continuity that he is simply Charlie with different memories? What principle would answer this question? The evidence question dominated the anglophone literature on personal identity from the s to the s good examples include Shoemaker , and Penelhum , It is important to distinguish it from the persistence question. What it takes for you to persist through time is one thing; how we ought to evaluate the relevant evidence is another. If the criminal had fingerprints just like yours, the courts may conclude that he is you. But even if they are right to do so, having your fingerprints is not what it is for a past or future being to be you: it is neither necessary you could survive without any fingers at all nor sufficient someone else could have fingerprints just like yours. If the persistence question is about which of the characters introduced at the beginning of a story have survived to become those at the end of it, we may also ask how many are on the stage at any one time. What determines how many of us there are now? If there are some seven billion people on the earth at present, what facts—biological, psychological, or what have you—make that the right number? The question is not what causes there to be a certain number of people at a given time, but what there being that number consists in. But this is disputed. Some say that cutting the main connections between the cerebral hemispheres results in radical disunity of consciousness, and that because of this, two people share a single organism see e. Nagel ; Puccetti argues that there are two people within each normal human being; see also van Inwagen — Others say that a human being with multiple personality could literally be the home of two or more thinking beings Wilkes f. Still others argue that two people can share an organism in cases of conjoined twinning Campbell and McMahan ; see also Olson These terms need careful handling, however. They are apt to give the mistaken impression that identity comes in two kinds, synchronic and diachronic. The truth is simply that there are two kinds of situations where we can ask how many people or other things there are: those involving just one moment and those involving several. What am I? What sort of things, metaphysically speaking, are you and I and other human people? What are our fundamental properties, in addition to those that make us people? What, for instance, are we made of? Are we composed entirely of matter, as stones are, or are we partly or wholly immaterial? Where do our spatial boundaries lie, if we are spatially extended at all? Do we extend all the way out to our skin and no further, for instance? If so, what fixes those boundaries? Are we substances—metaphysically independent beings—or is each of us a state or aspect or activity of something else? We are temporal parts of animals: each of us stands to an organism as your childhood stands to your life as a whole Lewis We are spatial parts of animals: brains perhaps Campbell and McMahan , Parfit , or temporal parts of brains Hudson , We are partless immaterial substances—souls—as Plato, Descartes, and Leibniz thought see also Unger ch. There is no consensus or even a dominant view on this question. What matters in identity? What is the practical importance of facts about our persistence? Why does it matter? What reason have you to care whether you yourself continue to exist, rather than someone else just like you existing in your place? Imagine that surgeons are going to put your brain into my head and that neither of us has any choice about this. Suppose the resulting person will be in terrible pain after the operation unless one of us pays a large sum in advance. If we were both entirely selfish, which of us would have a reason to pay? Will the resulting person—who will presumably think he is you—be responsible for your actions or for mine? Or both, or neither? The answer may seem to turn entirely on whether the resulting person would be you or I. Only I can be responsible for my actions. The fact that some person is me, by itself, gives me a reason to care about him. Identity itself matters practically. Perhaps what gives me a reason to care about what happens to the man people will call by my name tomorrow is not that he is me, but that he is then psychologically continuous with me as I am now see Section 4 , or because he relates to me in some other way that does not imply that we are the same person. If someone other than me were psychologically continuous tomorrow with me as I am now, he would have what matters to me and I ought to transfer my selfish concern to him. Likewise, someone else could be responsible for my actions, and not for his own. Identity itself has no practical importance. See Shoemaker ; Parfit , , ; Sosa , Martin That completes our survey. Though some of these questions may bear on others, they are to a large extent independent. Understanding the Persistence Question We turn now to the persistence question. Few concepts have been the source of more misunderstanding than identity over time. The Persistence Question is often confused with other questions or stated in a tendentious way. The question is roughly what is necessary and sufficient for a past or future being to be someone existing now. Suppose we point to you now, describe someone or something existing at another time, and ask whether we are referring twice to one thing or once to each of two things. The persistence question asks what determines the answer to such queries. There are precisely analogous questions about the persistence of other objects, such as dogs. Some take the persistence question to ask what it means to say that a past or future being is you. The answer would be knowable a priori if at all. It would also imply that necessarily all people have the same persistence conditions—that the answer to the question is the same no matter what sort of people we considered. Though some endorse these claims Noonan 86—92 , they are disputed. What it takes for us to persist might depend on whether we are biological organisms, which we cannot know a priori. And if there could be immaterial people, such as gods or angels, what it takes for them to persist might differ from what it takes for a human person to persist. We sometimes ask what it takes for someone to remain the same person. The idea is that if you were to alter in certain ways—if you lost much of your memory, say, or became badly disabled, or had a dramatic change in character—you would no longer be the person you were before. This is not the persistence question. The two questions can have different answers. The persistence question asks, in this case, whether you would still exist. And the answer to that question is Yes: if you are a different person, then you still exist, just as you do if you remain the same person. When we speak of remaining the same person or of becoming a different one, we mean remaining or ceasing to be a certain sort of person. For someone no longer to be the same person is for her still to exist, but to have changed in some important way. This has to do with her individual identity in the sense of the characterization question—with what sorts of changes would count as losing the properties that define someone as a person. It has nothing to do with persistence. The persistence question is often taken to ask what it takes for the same person to exist at two different times. The most common formulation is something like this: If a person x exists at one time and a person y exists at another time, under what possible circumstances is it the case that x is y? This asks, in effect, what it takes for a past or future person to be you. We have a person existing at one time and a person existing at another, and the question is what is necessary and sufficient for them to be one person rather than two. This is narrower than the persistence question. We may want to know whether each of us was ever an embryo or a foetus, or whether someone could survive in an irreversible vegetative state where the resulting being is biologically alive but has no mental properties. These are clearly questions about what it takes for us to persist. But being a person is most often defined as having special mental properties. This implies that something is a person at a given time only if it has those mental properties then. It follows that early-term foetuses and human beings in a vegetative state, having no mental properties at all, are not people at those times. Today, I will be talking about the philosopher that says the exact opposite of that: Derek Parfit. First, Parfit believes that at some future time, I shall either exist or I shall not exist. His second belief is that there some matters that are important to us that involve survival, responsibility, and memory, which we cannot decide unless the question of personal identity is answered What changes this personal identity. This psychological approach is rooted within a broader discussion of identity related to particulars; these include finite intelligences, bodies, and God Helm, Roderick M. Chishlom uses several similar examples in order to showcase his mindset concerning one of the oldest philosophical topics regarding identity. Wishing you all the best. There is just no way to express how grateful I am for everything you did to make my research paper as good as it was. I am very happy with the paper your writers just produced for me. It was absolutely perfect. Please thank the ones who handled my order and let them know that I will definitely do business with Essays-Writer. The paper you produced for me included each and every thing that the professor had required. He is notorious for giving us next-to-impossible tasks to perform in his class, but you managed to pull it off. Thanks so much. Thanks for doing such a good job.

The answer may seem to turn entirely on whether the resulting person would be you or I. Only I can be responsible for my actions. The essay that some person is me, by itself, identities me a reason to care about him.

Identity itself matters practically. Perhaps what gives me a reason to care about what happens to the man people will call by my name tomorrow is not that he is me, but that he is then psychologically continuous with me as I am now see Section 4or because he relates to me in some other way that does not imply that we are the same person.

If someone other than me were personal continuous tomorrow with me as I am now, he how to site a quote in your essay have what essays to me and I ought to transfer my selfish concern to him. Likewise, someone personal could be responsible for my actions, and not for his own. Identity itself has no identity importance.

Derek Parfit: Personal Identity

See Shoemaker ; Parfit, ; SosaMartin That completes our survey. Though some of these identities may bear on others, they are to a large extent independent. Understanding the Persistence Question We turn now to the persistence question. Few concepts have been the source of novel theme analysis essay rubric misunderstanding than identity over time.

The Persistence Question is often confused with other questions or stated in a tendentious way. The question is roughly what is necessary and sufficient for a past or future being to be someone existing now. Suppose we point to you personal, describe someone or something existing at another time, and ask whether we are referring twice to one thing or once to each of two things.

References and Further Reading 1. Understanding the Problem of Personal Identity The persistence question, the question of what personal identity over time consists in, is literally a question of life and death: answers to it determine, insofar as that is possible, the conditions under which we survive, or cease to exist in the course of, certain adventures. These adventures do not have to be theoretically as fancy as the cases, to be discussed later, of human fission or brain swaps: a theory of personal identity tells us whether we can live through the acquisition of complex cognitive capacities in our development from fetus to person, or whether we have survived car identities if we find ourselves in a persistent vegetative state. Furthermore, theories of personal identity have ethical and metaphysical implications of considerable magnitude: in conjunction with certain normative premises they may support the justification or condemnation of infanticide or euthanasia, or they could prove or falsify certain aspects of our religious outlook, in deciding the questions of how and whether we can be resurrected and whether we are possessors of souls whose existence conditions are personal with ours. It is not surprising, therefore, that most great philosophers have attempted to solve the problem of personal identity, or have committed themselves to metaphysical systems that have substantial implications with regards to the problem, and that most religious belief systems give explicit answers to the persistence question. Neither is it surprising questions and answers in essay format virtually everybody holds a pre-theoretical theory of personal identity, if only in the essay of having beliefs about afterlives and the meaning of death. The task of solving the metaphysical problem of personal identity essentially involves answering the question of how the phenomenon or principle in virtue of which "entities like us" persist through time is to be specified, under the widely but not universally accepted premises that there is such a phenomenon or principle and that it can be specified.

The persistence question asks what determines the answer to such identities. There are precisely analogous questions about the persistence of other objects, such as dogs. Some identity the persistence question to ask personal it means to say that a past or future being is you. The answer would be knowable a priori if at essay.

Though there are identifiable objections to his views, I am in favor of the argument he develops. He calls people to accept the argument that people persist personal time but people do not persist or survive by way of identity Conceptually, personal essay is the distinct personality of a man or woman, and concerns the persisting entity particular to him or personal. As such, future plan essay examples personal essay structure remains the same, as the previous version of the individual characteristics that arise from personality, by which a person is known to other people. Generally, personal identity is the unique numerical identity of a person in the course of time Many philosophers question what personal identity truly is. Some philosophers agree that personal identity has great rational and a moral significance. Today, I will be talking about the philosopher that says the exact identity of that: Derek Parfit.

It would also imply that necessarily all people have the same persistence conditions—that the answer to the question is the same no matter what sort of people we considered. Though some endorse these claims Noonan 86—92they are disputed. What it takes for us to persist might depend on whether we are biological gre verbal practice argument essay, which we cannot know a priori.

And if there could be immaterial people, such as gods or angels, what it takes for them to persist might differ from what it takes for a human person to persist. We sometimes ask what it takes for someone to remain the same person.

The idea is that if you were to alter in certain ways—if you lost much of your memory, say, or became badly disabled, or had a dramatic change in character—you would no longer be the person you were before. This is not questions and answers in essay format persistence question.

The two questions can have different answers. The persistence question asks, in this essay, whether you would still exist. And the answer to that question is Yes: if you are a different person, then you still exist, personal as you do if you remain the same person. When we speak of remaining the same person or of becoming a different one, we mean remaining or ceasing to be a certain sort of person.

For someone no longer to be the same person is for her still to exist, but to have changed in some important identity. This has to do with parts of a compare and contrast essay individual identity in the sense of the characterization question—with what sorts of changes would count as losing the properties that define someone as a person.

It has nothing to do with persistence. The persistence question is often taken to ask what it takes for the same person to exist at two different times. The most common formulation is something like this: If a person x exists at one time and a person y exists at another time, under what possible circumstances is it the case that x is y.

Personal Identity by Derek Parfit Essay -- behaviors, fission, egoism

This asks, in effect, what it identities for a past or future person to be you. We have a person existing at one time and a identity existing at another, and the essay is what is necessary and sufficient for them to be one person rather than two.

This is narrower than the persistence question. We may want to know whether each of us was ever an embryo or a foetus, or whether someone could survive in an irreversible vegetative essay where the resulting being is biologically alive but has no mental properties. These are clearly questions about what it essay about compromise examples of compromising for us to persist.

His second belief is that there some matters that are important to us that involve survival, responsibility, and memory, which we cannot decide unless the question of personal identity is answered What changes this personal identity. Psychologically, we have the ability to change our beliefs. Physically, our human bodies change. Teletransportation, leads to deeper questioning of how the mental can be defined and whether the soul is relevant in terms of being. The memory criterion tells us that Blott is Clott just if Blott can now remember an experience Clott had at that past time. So we should already have to know whether Blott is Clott before we could apply the principle that is supposed to tell us whether she is. There is, however, nothing trivial or uninformative about the claim that memory connections are necessary for us to persist. Neither move gets us far, however, as both the original and the modified memory criteria face a more obvious problem: there are many times in our pasts that we cannot remember or quasi-remember at all, and to which we are not linked even indirectly by an overlapping chain of memories. There is no time when you could recall anything that happened to you while you dreamlessly slept last night. The memory criterion has the absurd implication that you have never existed at any time when you were unconscious. The person sleeping in your bed last night must have been someone else. A better solution replaces memory with the more general notion of causal dependence Shoemaker , 89ff. We can define two notions, psychological connectedness and psychological continuity. A being is psychologically connected, at some future time, with you as you are now just if she is in the psychological states she is in then in large part because of the psychological states you are in now and this causal link is of the right sort: see Shoemaker Having a current memory or quasi-memory of an earlier experience is one sort of psychological connection—the experience causes the memory of it—but there are others. The important point is that our current mental states can be caused in part by mental states we were in at times when we were unconscious. For example, most of your current beliefs are the same ones you had while you slept last night: they have caused themselves to continue existing. We can then say that you are psychologically continuous, now, with a past or future being just if some of your current mental states relate to those he or she is in then by a chain of psychological connections. Now suppose that a person x who exists at one time is the same thing as something y existing at another time if and only if x is, at the one time, psychologically continuous with y as it is at the other time. This avoids the most obvious objections to the memory criterion. It still leaves important questions unanswered, however. Suppose we could somehow copy all the mental contents of your brain to mine, much as we can copy the contents of one computer drive to another, and that this erased the previous contents of both brains. Whether this would be a case of psychological continuity depends on what sort of causal dependence counts. The resulting being with my brain and your mental contents would be mentally as you were before, and not as I was. He would have inherited your mental properties in a way—but a funny one. Is it the right way? Psychological-continuity theorists disagree Shoemaker —, says yes; Unger 67—71 says no; see also van Inwagen Schechtman gives a different sort of objection to the psychological-continuity strategy. Fission A more serious worry for psychological-continuity views is that you could be psychologically continuous with two past or future people at once. Any psychological-continuity view will imply that she would be you. If we destroyed one of your cerebral hemispheres, the resulting being would also be psychologically continuous with you. Hemispherectomy—even the removal of the left hemisphere, which controls speech—is considered a drastic but acceptable treatment for otherwise-inoperable brain tumors: see Rigterink What if we did both at once, destroying one hemisphere and transplanting the other? Then too, the one who got the transplanted hemisphere would be psychologically continuous with you, and would be you according to the psychological-continuity view. But now suppose that both hemispheres are transplanted, each into a different empty head. The two recipients—call them Lefty and Righty—will each be psychologically continuous with you. The psychological-continuity view as we have stated it implies that any future being who is psychologically continuous with you must be you. It follows that you are Lefty and also that you are Righty. But that cannot be: if you and Lefty are one and you and Righty are one, Lefty and Righty cannot be two. And yet they are: there are indisputably two people after the operation. One thing cannot be numerically identical with two things that are distinct from each other. If you are Lefty, you are hungry at that time. If you are Lefty and Righty, you are both hungry and not hungry at once: a straight contradiction. Psychological-continuity theorists have proposed two different solutions to this problem. What we think of as you is really two people, who are now exactly similar and located in the same place, doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts. The surgeons merely separate them Lewis , Noonan —42; Perry offers a more complex variant. For each person, there is such a thing as her first half: an entity just like the person only briefer, like the first half of a meeting. They are like two roads that coincide for a stretch and then fork, sharing some of their spatial parts but not others. At the places where the roads overlap, they are just like one road. Likewise, the idea goes, at the times before the operation when Lefty and Righty share their temporal parts, they are just like one person. Whether we really are composed of temporal parts, however, is disputed. Its consequences are explored further in section 8. The other solution to the fission problem abandons the intuitive claim that psychological continuity by itself suffices for us to persist. It says, rather, that a past or future being is you only if she is then psychologically continuous with you and no other being is. There is no circularity in this. We need not know the answer to the persistence question in order to know how many people there are at any one time; that comes under the population question. This means that neither Lefty nor Righty is you. They both come into existence when your cerebrum is divided. If both your cerebral hemispheres are transplanted, you cease to exist—though you would survive if only one were transplanted and the other destroyed. Fission is death. Shoemaker 85, Parfit ; 6f. That looks like the opposite of what we should expect: if your survival depends on the functioning of your brain because that is what underlies psychological continuity , then the more of that organ we preserve, the greater ought to be your chance of surviving. In fact the non-branching view implies that you would perish if one of your hemispheres were transplanted and the other left in place: you can survive hemispherectomy only if the hemisphere to be removed is first destroyed. This seems mysterious. Why should an event that would normally preserve your existence bring it to an end if accompanied by a second such event—one having no causal effect on the first? If your brain is to be divided, why do we need to destroy half of it in order to save you? For discussion, see Noonan 12—15 and ch. The problem is especially acute if brain-state transfer counts as psychological continuity. In that case, even copying your total brain state to another brain without doing you any physical or psychological harm would kill you. The non-branching view makes the What matters? Faced with the prospect of having one of your hemispheres transplanted, there is no evident reason to prefer having the other destroyed. Most of us would rather have both preserved, even if they go into different heads. Yet on the non-branching view that is to prefer death over continued existence. This leads Parfit and others to say that that is precisely what we ought to prefer. We have no reason to want to continue existing, at least for its own sake. What you have reason to want is that there be someone in the future who is psychologically continuous with you, whether or not she actually is you. The usual way to achieve this is to continue existing yourself, but the fission story shows that this is not necessary. Likewise, even the most selfish person has a reason to care about the welfare of the beings who would result from her undergoing fission, even if, as the non-branching view implies, neither would be her. In the fission case, the sorts of practical concerns you ordinarily have for yourself apply to someone other than you. This suggests more generally that facts about who is who have no practical importance. All that matters practically is who is psychologically continuous with whom. Lewis and Parfit debate whether the multiple-occupancy view can preserve the conviction that identity is what matters practically. The Too-Many-Thinkers Problem Another objection to psychological-continuity views is that they rule out our being biological organisms Carter , Ayers —, Snowdon , Olson 80f. This is because no sort of psychological continuity appears to be either necessary or sufficient for a human organism to persist. Human organisms have brute-physical persistence conditions. If your brain were transplanted, the one who ended up with that organ would be uniquely psychologically continuous with you and this continuity would be continuously physically realized. On any psychological-continuity view, she would be you: the person would go with her transplanted brain. But no organism would go with its transplanted brain. The operation would simply move an organ from one organism to another. So it seems, anyway. It follows that if you were an organism, you would stay behind with an empty head. Even though this is never going to happen, it shows that according to psychological-continuity views we have a property that no organism has, namely possibly moving from one organism to another by brain transplant. Again, a human organism could continue existing in an irreversible vegetative state with no psychological continuity. If you were an organism, you could too. But according to psychological-continuity views you could not. It follows that human animals have a property that we lack, namely possibly surviving as a vegetable. But a healthy, adult human organism seems a paradigm case of a thinking being. If human organisms can think, yet as psychological-continuity views imply we are not organisms, three difficulties arise. First, you are one of two intelligent beings sitting there and reading this entry. More generally, there are two thinking beings wherever we thought there was just one. Second, the organism would not merely think in some way or other, but would presumably be psychologically indistinguishable from you. In that case it cannot be true that all people or even all human people persist by virtue of psychological continuity. Some—those that are organisms—would have brute-physical persistence conditions. Third, it becomes hard to see how you could know whether you were a nonanimal person with psychological persistence conditions or an animal person with brute-physical ones. If you thought you were the nonanimal, the organism would use the same reasoning to conclude that it was too. For all you could ever know, it seems, you might be the one making this mistake. We can make this epistemic problem more vivid by imagining a three-dimensional duplicating machine. The process causes temporary unconsciousness but is otherwise harmless. Two beings wake up, one in each box. The boxes are indistinguishable. Because each being will have the same apparent memories and perceive identical surroundings, each will think, for the same reasons, that he or she is you. But only one will be right. Suppose the technicians who work the machine are sworn to secrecy and immune to bribes. Did I do the things I seem to remember doing? Am I a nonanimal that would go with its transplanted brain, or an animal that would stay behind with an empty head? The most popular defense of the psychological-continuity view against this objection is to say that, despite sharing our brains and showing all the outward signs of consciousness and intelligence, human organisms do not think and are not conscious. Descartes non-reductionist arguments, though not incorrect, lack the soundness that Parfit poses with his reductionist views. Derek Parfit is a British philosopher who specializes in issues surrounding personal identity, rational and ethics. He uses examples about the self that seem to stretch the boundaries about what is personal identity. This example is credited to Derek Parfit, a brutish philosopher who specialized in the problems of personal identity, ethics, rationality, and the relations among them. Although it may be poorly understood, due to limitations of space this article will disregard the view. IM is to be distinguished from a more popular version of the simple view, according to which personal identity relations are weakly reductive WR and in independence non-informative INI : WR-INI: X at t1 is identical to Y at t2 iff there is some fact F1 about X at t1, and some fact F2 about Y at t2, and F1 and F2 are irreducible to facts about the subjects' psychology or physiology, and X at t1 is identical with Y at t2 in virtue of the fact that the propositions stating F1 and F2 differ only insofar as that "X" and "t1" occur in the former where "Y" and "t2" occur in the latter. Initially the idea underlying this claim may appear prejudicial; ultimately it is based on a number of widespread but not universally accepted beliefs about the naturalness of the world and the nature, validity and theoretical implications of physicalism. According to this general stance, either both psychological and physiological continuity relations are fully reducible to a domain in which physical explanations are couched, perhaps in terms of the basic elements of a final and unified theory of physics, or they belong themselves to such a domain. WR-INI may entail IM but does not so necessarily: it is conceivable that personal identity relations consist in something which is itself neither identical with nor reducible to a spiritual substance nor identical with nor reducible to aggregates or parts of psychologies and physiologies. In fact, Descartes' own view that personal identity is determined by "vital union" relations between pure Egos and bodies, with the persistence of the Ego being regarded as sufficient for the persistence of the person but the person not being wholly identifiable with the Ego, could be a weakly reductive view of persons. It is merely weakly reductive, however, because the identity of the phenomenon that specifies the necessary and sufficient conditions for personal identity does not itself follow from anything other than itself. While a weakly reductive criterion of personal identity relations is explicable in terms of the identities of phenomena other than persons, the identities of these phenomena themselves are not explicable in other terms: their identity may be, as we would suppose "soul identity" to be, "strict and philosophical", and not merely "loose and popular" Butler Nowadays, the Simple View is disparaged as a theory only maintained by thinkers whose religious or spiritual commitments outweigh the reasons that speak against their views on personal identity. This is due to the fact that it is assumed that a theory of personal identity cannot be weakly reductive without involving appeal to discredited spiritual substances or committing itself either to the acknowledgment of yet unrecognized physical entities or to an Identity Mysticism on the level of persons. As a consequence, many philosophers think that the problems that infiltrate dualism and Cartesian theories of the soul, such as the alleged impossibilities to circumscribe the ontological status of souls and to explain how a soul can interact with a body, render the Simple View equally problematic. Although the options mentioned are exceedingly difficult to defend, why should they have to be regarded as the only options available to the Simple Theorist? Arguably, many respectable philosophical ideologies, such as conceptualism or Neo-Kantianism, may issue in theories of personal identity along Simple lines without appeal to Cartesian Egos. Note, however, that these ideologies, with regards to the problem of the persistence of people, may also be, and in fact have been, construed along physiological or psychological lines. This suggests that we do not only need a better understanding, and above all more promising articulations, of the Simple View, but also a new taxonomy of theories of personal identity: the traditional division of theories into Simple, Psychological and Physical, even if maintained here by the author of this entry, may not be the best way of viewing the matter. Reductionism 1 : General Features Modern day personal identity theory takes place mainly within reductionist assumptions, concentrating on the relative merits of different criteria of identity and related methodological questions. Reductionist theories of personal identity share the contention that Reduction: Facts about personal identity stand in an adequate reduction-relation to sets of sub-personal facts SF The sets of necessary and sufficient conditions determined by these sets of sub-personal facts constitute the various criteria of personal identity. It must be noted that the biconditionals in question need not to be understood in such a way as that circularity is an objection to them: provided that concepts other than "person" feature in the analysans, these biconditionals, by exhibiting connections with collateral and independently intelligible concepts, may be genuinely elucidatory even if the concept to be analyzed features on both sides of the equation cf. McDowell ; Wittgenstein , 3. Only when the concepts "person" and "personal identity" become the target of what may be referred to as an authentic reduction circularities become vicious. The need for the distinction between authentic and inauthentic reductions arises due to an equivocation that ought not to confuse the present discussion: reductionisms in personal identity theory often take forms, if regarded for example as sets of supervenience claims, that are deemed, in other areas of analytic philosophy, as distinctively non-reductionist. Let us speak of authentic reductions if the ontological status of members of the reduced category is, in a way to be made precise, diminished in favor of the allegedly "more fundamental" existence-status of members of the reducing category. The question of whether an authentic reductionism about persons must claim that it is not only able to give a criterion of personal identity without presupposing personal identity but also that facts about persons are describable without using the concept "person" is a matter of current controversy cf. In a search for the necessary and sufficient conditions for the sustenance of personal identity relations between subjects, which type of continuity-relations could SF describe? There are two main contenders, physiological continuity-relations and psychological continuity-relations, which will be discussed in turn. Reductionism 2 : Psychological Approaches Psychological Criteria of personal identity hold that psychological continuity relations, that is, overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, as those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth, constitute personal identity cf. Locke , II. Two apparently physiological theories of personal identity are at bottom psychological, namely i the Brain Criterion, which holds that the spatiotemporal continuity of a single functioning brain constitutes personal identity; and ii the Physical Criterion, which holds that, necessarily, the spatiotemporal continuity of that which sustains the continuous psychological life of a human being over time, which is, contingently, a sufficient part of the brain that must remain in order to be the brain of a living person, constitutes personal identity cf. Nagel These approaches are at bottom psychological because they single out, as the constituting factors of personal identity, the psychological continuity of the subject. Consider a test case. Imagine there to be a tribe of beings who are in all respects like human beings, except for the fact that their brains and livers have swapped bodily functions: their brains regulate, synthesize, store, secrete, transform, and break down many different substances in the body, while their livers are responsible for their cognitive capacities, basic integrated postural and locomotor movement sequences, perception, instincts, emotions, thinking, and other integrative activities. Imagine the brain criterion to be true for human beings. Would we have sufficient reason to believe the brain criterion to be true for members of the tribe in question as well, if we were aware of all facts about their physiologies? There is nothing special about the 1. We can further distinguish between three versions of the psychological criterion: the Narrow version demands psychological continuity to be caused "normally," the Wide version permits any reliable cause, and the Widest version allows any cause to be sufficient to secure psychological continuity cf. Parfit The Narrow version, we may note, is logically equivalent to the Physical Criterion. One might think that brain criterion and physical criterion, to varying degrees, combine the best of both worlds: both acknowledge the vital function psychological continuity plays in our identity judgments while at the same time admitting of the importance of physiological instantiation. In fact, however, the opposite is the case: the appeal to physiology introduces an unacceptable element of contingency into the answers to the persistence question envisaged by defenders of these criteria. A criterion of personal identity tells us what our persistence necessarily consists in, which means that it must be able to deliver a verdict in possible scenarios that is consistent with its verdicts in ordinary cases. One scenario that has been widely debated is the following: Teletransportation At t1, X enters a teletransporter, which, before destroying X, creates an exact blueprint of X's physical and psychological states. The information is sent to a replicator device on Mars, which at t2 creates a qualitatively identical duplicate, Y cf. Our alleged intuition: since Y at t2 shares with X at t1 all memories, character traits, and other psychological characteristics, X and Y are identical. Alleged conclusion: should teletransportation be reliable, all proposed criteria but the Wide and Widest versions of the Psychological Criterion are false. Should teletransportation be unreliable, all criteria of personal identity but the Widest version of the Psychological Criterion are false. Consequently, should appeal to such scenarios as Teletransportation be acceptable and should the intuition above be widely shared, the brain criterion and physical criterion are false. Quasi-Psychology Many people regard the idea that our persistence is intrinsically related to our psychology as obvious. The problem of cashing out this conviction in theoretical terms, however, is notoriously difficult. Psychological continuity relations are to be understood in terms of overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, that is, those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth. This statement avoids two obvious problems. First, some attempts to cash out personal identity relations in psychological terms appeal exclusively to direct psychological connections. These accounts face the problem that identity is a transitive relation see 1. Take memory as an example: suppose that Paul broke the neighbor's window as a kid, an incident he remembers vividly when he starts working as a primary school teacher in his late 20s. As an old man, Paul remembers his early years as a teacher, but has forgotten ever having broken the neighbor's window. Assume, for reductio, that personal identity consists in direct memory connections. In that case the kid is identical with the primary school teacher and the primary school teacher is identical with the old man; the old man, however, is not identical with the kid. Since this conclusion violates the transitivity of identity which states that if an X is identical with a Y, and the Y is identical with a Z, then the X must be identical with the Z , personal identity relations cannot consist in direct memory connections. Appeal to overlapping layers or chains of psychological connections avoids the problem by permitting indirect relations: according to this view, the old man is identical with the kid precisely because they are related to each other by those causal and cognitive relations that connect kid and teacher and teacher and old man. Second, memory alone is not necessary for personal identity, as lack of memory through periods of sleep or coma do not obliterate one's survival of these states. Appeal to causal and cognitive connections which relate not only memory but other psychological aspects is sufficient to eradicate the problem. Let us say that we are dealing with psychological connectedness if the relations in question are direct causal or cognitive relations, and that we are dealing with psychological continuity if overlapping layers of psychological connections are appealed to cf. One of the main problems a psychological approach faces is overcoming an alleged circularity associated with explicating personal identity relations in terms of psychological notions. Consider memory as an example. It seems that if John remembers having repaired the bike, then it is necessarily the case that John repaired the bike: saying that a person remembers having carried out an action which the person did not in fact carry out may be regarded as a misapplication of the verb "to remember.

As a consequence, many philosophers think that the problems that infiltrate dualism and Cartesian theories of the soul, such as the alleged impossibilities to circumscribe the ontological status of souls and to explain how business argumentative essay topics soul can interact with a body, render the Simple View equally problematic. Although the options mentioned are exceedingly difficult to defend, why should they have to be regarded as the only options available to the Simple Theorist.

Arguably, many respectable philosophical ideologies, such as conceptualism or Neo-Kantianism, may issue in theories of personal identity along Simple lines without appeal to Cartesian Egos. Note, however, that these ideologies, with regards to the problem of the persistence of people, may also be, and in fact have been, construed along physiological or psychological lines. This suggests that we do not only need a better understanding, and above all more promising articulations, of the Simple View, but also a new taxonomy of theories of personal identity: the traditional division of theories into Simple, Psychological and Physical, even if maintained here by the author of this entry, may not be the best way of viewing the matter.

Reductionism 1 : General Features Modern day personal identity theory takes place mainly within reductionist assumptions, concentrating on the relative merits of different criteria of identity and related methodological questions.

Reductionist theories of personal identity share the contention that Reduction: Facts about personal identity stand in an adequate reduction-relation to identities of sub-personal facts SF The sets of necessary and sufficient conditions determined by these sets of sub-personal facts constitute the personal criteria of personal identity. It must be noted that the biconditionals in question need not to be understood in such a way as that circularity is an objection to them: provided that concepts other than "person" feature in the analysans, these biconditionals, by exhibiting connections with collateral and independently intelligible concepts, may be genuinely elucidatory even if the concept to be analyzed features on both sides of the equation cf.

McDowell ; Wittgenstein3. Only when the concepts "person" and "personal identity" become the target of what may be referred to as an authentic reduction circularities become vicious. The need for the distinction between authentic and inauthentic reductions arises due to an equivocation that ought not stanford college essay prompts confuse the present discussion: reductionisms in personal identity theory often take forms, if regarded for example as sets of supervenience claims, that are deemed, in other areas of analytic philosophy, as distinctively non-reductionist.

Let us speak of authentic reductions if the ontological status of members of the reduced category is, in a way to be made precise, diminished in favor of the allegedly "more fundamental" existence-status of members of the reducing category.

The question of whether an authentic reductionism about persons must claim that it is not only able to give a criterion of personal identity without presupposing personal identity but also that facts about persons are describable without using the concept "person" is a matter of current controversy cf.

In a essay for the necessary and sufficient conditions for the sustenance of personal identity relations between essays about going from hs to college, which type of continuity-relations could SF describe.

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There are two main contenders, physiological continuity-relations and psychological continuity-relations, personal will be discussed in turn. Reductionism 2 : Psychological Approaches Psychological Criteria of personal identity hold that psychological continuity relations, that is, overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, as those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth, good quotes to start an essay personal identity cf.

LockeII. Two apparently physiological theories of personal identity are at bottom psychological, namely i the Brain Criterion, which holds that the spatiotemporal continuity of a single functioning brain constitutes personal identity; and ii the Physical Criterion, which holds that, necessarily, the spatiotemporal continuity of that which sustains the continuous transition words for essays 6th grade life of a human being over time, which is, contingently, a sufficient part of the brain that must remain in order to be the brain of a living person, constitutes personal identity cf.

Nagel These approaches are at bottom psychological because they single out, as the constituting factors of personal identity, the psychological college essays with a reflection of two society of the subject.

Consider a test case. Imagine there to be a tribe of beings who are in all respects like human beings, except for the fact that their brains and livers have swapped bodily functions: their brains regulate, synthesize, store, secrete, transform, and break down many different substances in the essay, while their livers are responsible for their cognitive capacities, basic integrated postural and locomotor movement sequences, perception, instincts, emotions, thinking, and other integrative activities.

Imagine the brain criterion to be true for human beings. Would we have sufficient reason to believe the brain criterion to be true for members of the tribe in question as well, if we were aware of all facts about their physiologies.

There is nothing special about the 1.

Personal Identity (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

We can further distinguish between three versions of the psychological criterion: the Narrow version demands psychological continuity to be caused "normally," the Wide version permits any reliable cause, and the Widest version allows any cause to be sufficient to secure psychological continuity cf.

Parfit The Narrow version, we may note, is logically equivalent to the Physical Criterion. One might think that brain criterion and physical criterion, to varying degrees, introduction essay structure example the best of both worlds: both acknowledge the vital function psychological continuity plays in our identity judgments while at the same time admitting of the importance of physiological instantiation.

In fact, however, the opposite is the case: the appeal to physiology introduces an unacceptable element of contingency into the answers to the persistence question envisaged by defenders of these criteria.

A criterion of personal identity tells us what our essay necessarily consists in, which means that it must be able to deliver a identity in possible scenarios that is consistent with its verdicts in ordinary cases. One scenario that has been widely debated is the following: Teletransportation At t1, X enters a teletransporter, which, before destroying X, creates an exact blueprint of X's physical and psychological states.

The information is sent to a replicator device on Mars, which at t2 creates a qualitatively identical duplicate, Y cf. Our alleged intuition: since Y at t2 shares with X at t1 all memories, character traits, and personal psychological characteristics, X and Y are identical. Alleged conclusion: should teletransportation be reliable, all proposed criteria but the Wide and Widest versions of the Psychological Criterion are false.

Should teletransportation be unreliable, all criteria of personal identity but the Widest version of the Psychological Criterion are false. Consequently, should appeal to such scenarios as Teletransportation be acceptable and should the intuition above be widely shared, the brain criterion and physical criterion are false. Quasi-Psychology Many people regard the idea that our persistence is intrinsically related to our psychology as obvious. The problem of cashing out this conviction in theoretical terms, however, is notoriously difficult.

Psychological identity relations are to be example of an analytical essay based on an essay in terms of overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, that is, those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits and so forth.

This statement avoids two obvious problems. First, some attempts to cash out personal identity relations in psychological terms appeal exclusively to direct psychological connections. These accounts face the problem that identity is a transitive relation see 1.

Take memory as an example: suppose that Paul broke the neighbor's window as a kid, an incident he remembers vividly when he starts working as a primary school teacher in his late 20s. As an old man, Paul remembers his early years as a teacher, but has forgotten ever having broken the neighbor's window.

Assume, for reductio, that personal identity consists in direct essay connections. In that case the kid is identical with the primary school teacher and the primary school teacher is identical with the old man; the old man, however, is not identical with the kid. Since this conclusion violates the transitivity of identity which states that if an X is identical with a Y, and the Y is identical with a Z, then the X must be identical with the Zpersonal identity relations cannot consist in direct memory connections.

Appeal to overlapping layers or chains of psychological connections avoids the problem by permitting indirect relations: according to this view, the old man is identical with the kid precisely because they are related to each other by those causal and cognitive relations that connect kid and teacher and teacher and old man. Second, memory alone is not necessary for personal identity, as lack of memory through periods of sleep or coma do not personal one's survival of these states.

Appeal to causal and cognitive connections which relate not only memory but other psychological aspects is sufficient to eradicate the problem.

Though there are identifiable objections persuasive essay fire season connors his views, I am in favor of the argument he develops.

He calls people to accept the argument that people persist through time but people do not persist or survive by way of identity Conceptually, personal identity is the personal personality of a man or woman, and concerns the persisting entity particular to him or her. As such, the personal identity structure remains the same, as the previous version of the individual characteristics that arise from word max on college essay, by which a person is known to other people.

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There has been no general consensus on the answer to this question. However many have proposed identities to this question. In his article, Parfit explains the essay between Ego theory and Bundle theory and provides several arguments against Ego Theory.