Personal Identity

Words: 1000
Pages: 4

People tend to assume that there is a future individual who is them. The Problem of Personal Identity questions the specific entity that defines the persistent unity of an individual. What is it for some future individual to be the same individual as the past individual? What general account would be able to confirm whether or not a future individual is indeed the same as a present individual? There are three main views that present solutions to the problem: the soul view, the body view, and the psychology view. The soul view argues that there is something that is the seed of identity called the soul. It is an indivisible, pure, unchanging, and invisible essence. Regardless of the changes that occur in the body and the mind, that essence is …show more content…
The body view holds that an individual is identified in terms of his or her physical body and the psychology (memory) view states that personal identity is a matter of psychological continuity.
Of all the theories, the psychology view is the most plausible solution to the problem of personal identity. One’s mind contains cumulative memories, mannerisms, and opinions which all contribute greatly to one’s identity. While one’s mannerisms and opinions may change over time, memories last. Without the constant various psychological attributes that help develop identity, one is simply a hallow body with a soul. One’s physical body undergoes numerous genetic changes over time, from birth to puberty to old age. Although the body remains numerically identical, it is not qualitatively identical. Imagine what would happen if two different individuals exchanged bodies (the entire mental contents of
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Locke’s criterion for judging personal identity is the continuity of consciousness, or memory of a person over different times and places. However, the memory theory doesn’t go without objection. With the memory theory, it is necessary for an individual to remember having done something in order for it to have been them doing said activity; otherwise it was not considered to be the same individual. According to Locke, one is considered a different person if he or she forgets memories or recalls someone else’s memories as his or her own. The theory does not take into account false memories or forgotten memories. With that logic, it makes it impossible to hold anyone accountable for actions that he or she has committed. Locke fails to make a distinction between real and apparent memories. Radical mental changes can also occur which Locke did not take into consideration. It has been proven that people can experience amnesia, brain damage, etc. In these cases there is a very distinct discontinuity in psychology, though, we would tend to consider that the subject in each case remains the same person. Some claim that simply because an individual has forgotten a memory, is inebriated, or has experienced a mental trauma does not change his or her