Personal Identity and Psychological Reductionism When we tackle the question of 'What makes us the individual persons that we are? ', one approach that we can take is to seek an answer to the question of what it is that is required for a person to continue to exist over time. If we could agree on what is required for it to be true that you continued to exist, then we would have good grounds to believe that we had discovered what makes someone the particular person they are, and by extension, what makes any person the person they are. In essence, what we are searching for are the necessary and sufficient conditions for personal identity over time. In this essay we will focus on the claim that it is in fact, only the psychological characteristics of a person that are essential to personal identity over time.
They would live two different lives. Therefore, the body theory alone cannot be considered a necessary and sufficient definition when defining personal identity. Another common theory of personal identity is the soul theory. This theory is: a person is has personal identity if and only if they have the same soul. The problem with this theory is arrived from the definition of a soul.
Hume thinks the self if a fiction while Locke believes that if there is no memory continuum the person is not the same person. The only things that would be at stake is whether you believe that what you think of yourself is fiction or not and whether you are the same person or not. I think for many the thought of thinking of us, as being fictitious would be a very disappointing thought. Personal identity is more than memory continuum. I agree with Locke that you need memory continuum to be the same person and are necessary in order to exist, but it’s not everything that defines personal identity.
The Correct Solution to the Problem of Self-Identity Identity can be defined as the way you perceive or define you, or whatever makes an entity definable and recognizable in terms of possessing a set of qualities or characteristics that distinguish it from other entities, or what makes me, me and you, you. In philosophy, identity is essentially sameness (Solomon, Higgins, Martin 296). In this sense, identity consists of what makes you a unique individual and distinguishes you from others. Identity is also how you define yourself and the structure of your life made up of learned values and principles. Self-identity is the way one characterizes oneself, either in general or in particular (Solomon, Higgins, Martin 285).
Many theories exist arguing for and against the inner sense. Evolutionary considerations often favor the inner sense as understanding the self is necessary for monitoring and control. Behaviorism on the other hand suggests that the inner sense does not exist, along with privileged access, as the only mental states are those that are dispositions to behave. Although the question regarding the existence of the inner sense remains, it is clear that the transparent epistemic rule allows for an individual to further understand their mental state, therefore supporting the idea of privileged access. Assuming that one is conscious of their state of mind, the logical rules allow inductive and deductive inferences to be made and can therefore help an individual determine what is true and not.
The Wide Psychological Criterion is clearly the favored theory in describing and defining personal identity. The way that we would interact with individuals is based on their personality and psychological state. The physical state of the brain is neither as significant nor as tangible as one’s personality and psychological state. In addition, in certain scenarios the Physical Criterion fails to cohere with our prior beliefs on identifying persons based on our intuitions, whereas the Wide Psychological Criterion coheres well. This coherence is strong evidence supporting the validity of the Wide Psychological Criterion.
Whether an experience is negative or positive it plays a significant role in how personal identity is shaped. Like James Baldwin mention: “identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience”. Baldwin made it clear how identity is manifested and very understandable to say he is right because people can relate to experiencing.
The way people feel and act towards something or someone is from their previous experiences and their mental states. The definition of functionalism is what makes something a desire, pain, and a thought, but you cannot think, desire, or feel pain without a physical experience with it. In conclusion, my objection is lack of experience towards Putnam’s theory of functionalism. Putnam and Jackson’s theory, both have great arguments, but Jackson’s objection towards Putnam’s theory raises questions about his theory. The questions that it raises are, “How can experience not change a person?
The Explanatory Gap: The Responses of Horgan and Papineau The what it is like to undergo an experience is essential to understanding that experience. Known by philosophers as subjective qualia, these characteristics are part of what makes a felt experience exactly that experience. If we introspect our own mental states, this seems apparent and incontrovertible. Most philosophers are unwilling to grant that subjective qualia are non-physical states, and attempts to face this problem and maintain physicalism must address arguments from qualia. While differing physical explanations for these subjective qualia exist, I will only briefly refer to them here as qualia will serve only as a means of leading the reader to the Explanatory Gap(1).
According to Locke, it is consciousness that “alone makes self”. Therefore personal identity consists in the person not the human being. To Locke, this question of personal identity was im... ... middle of paper ... ...However this is why psychological continuity theory, is essential in creating a coherent personal identity theory that does not consider amnesia victims as non-existent. It is in this continuance chain of memories links that allows personal identity, as a meaningful concept in itself, to live on.