Personal identity in philosophy

Introduction To say that things are identical is to say that they are the same.

Personal identity in philosophy

Philosophical intuition[ edit ] Bernard Williams presents a thought experiment appealing to the intuitions about what it is to be the same person in the future.

For the first approach Williams suggests that suppose that there is some process by which subjecting two persons to it can result in the two persons have " exchanged " bodies.

Personal identity in philosophy

The process has put into the body of person B the memoriesbehavioral dispositionsand psychological characteristics of the person who prior to undergoing the process belonged to person A ; and conversely with person B. To show this one is to suppose that before undergoing the process person A and B are asked to which resulting person, A-Body-Person or B-Body-Person, they wish to receive a punishment and which a reward.

Upon undergoing the process and receiving either the punishment or reward, it appears to that A-Body-Person expresses the memories of choosing who gets which treatment as if that person was person B; conversely with B-Body-Person.

This sort of approach to the thought experiment appears to show that since the person who expresses the psychological characteristics of person A to be person A, then intuition is that psychological continuity is the criterion for personal identity. The second approach is to suppose that someone is told that one will have memories erased and then one will be tortured.

Does one need to be afraid of being tortured?

Personal identity in philosophy

Next, Williams asked one to consider several similar scenarios. However, the last scenario is an identical scenario to the one in the first scenario. Psychological continuity[ edit ] In psychologypersonal continuity, also called personal persistence, is the uninterrupted connection concerning a particular person of his or her private life and personality.

Personal continuity is the union affecting the facets arising from personality in order to avoid discontinuities from one moment of time to another time. Associations can result from contiguitysimilarity, or contrast.

Personal Identity: Who are you? What am I? | A Philosopher's Take

Through contiguity, one associates ideas or events that usually happen to occur at the same time. Some of these events form an autobiographical memory in which each is a personal representation of the general or specific events and personal facts.

Body and ego control organ expressions. For John Noon, David Hume undertook looking at the mind—body problem. Hume pointed out that we tend to think that we are the same person we were five years ago.

We might start thinking about which features can be changed without changing the underlying self. Hume, however, denies that there is a distinction between the various features of a person and the mysterious self that supposedly bears those features.

When we start introspecting, "we are never intimately conscious of anything but a particular perception; man is a bundle or collection of different perceptions which succeed one another with an inconceivable rapidity and are in perpetual flux and movement".

It is likewise evident that as the senses, in changing their objects, are necessitated to change them regularly, and take them as they lie contiguous to each other, the imagination must by long custom acquire the same method of thinking, and run along the parts of space and time in conceiving its objects.

Hume, similar to the Buddha[48] compares the soul to a commonwealthwhich retains its identity not by virtue of some enduring core substance, but by being composed of many different, related, and yet constantly changing elements. Critics of Hume state in order for the various states and processes of the mind to seem unified, there must be something which perceives their unity, the existence of which would be no less mysterious than a personal identity.

Hume solves this by considering substance as engendered by the togetherness of its properties. No-self theory[ edit ] The "no-self theory" [q] holds that the self cannot be reduced to a bundle because the concept of a self is incompatible with the idea of a bundle.

Propositionallythe idea of a bundle implies the notion of bodily or psychological relations that do not in fact exist. James Gilesa principal exponent of this view, argues that the no-self or eliminativist theory and the bundle or reductionist theory agree about the non-existence of a substantive self.

The reductionist theory, according to Giles, mistakenly resurrects the idea [r] of the self [49] in terms of various accounts about psychological relations. But sense of self breaks down when considering some events such as memory loss[u] split personality disorderbrain damagebrainwashingand various thought experiments.journal of Philosophy, LXIV (i); and R.

How to cite this page

Chisholm S. Shoemaker in "The Loose and Popular and the Strict and the Philosophical Senses of Identity," in Perception . Entrenched in the “simple” view is the idea that personal identity, and the persistence of personal identity, cannot be measured through philosophical discourse or scientific investigation.

There are a number of opposing arguments, known as complex theories of personal identity. Much of the debate about identity in recent decades has been about personal identity, and specifically about personal identity over time, but identity generally, and the identity of things of other kinds, have also attracted attention.

In philosophy, identity, from Latin: identitas ("sameness"), is the relation each thing bears only to itself. The notion of identity gives rise to many philosophical problems, including the identity of indiscernibles (if x and y share all their properties, are they one and the same thing?), and questions about change and personal identity over time (what has to be the case for a person x at.

Personal Identity. What does being the person that you are, from one day to the next, necessarily consist in? This is the question of personal identity, and it is literally a question of life and death, as the correct answer to it determines which types of changes a person can undergo without ceasing to exist.

Academic Tools

Personal Identity. What does being the person that you are, from one day to the next, necessarily consist in? This is the question of personal identity, and it is literally a question of life and death, as the correct answer to it determines which types of changes a person can undergo without ceasing to exist.

Personal Identity (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)