Personal Identity In Daniel Dennett's Where Am I

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Main Quest 2

In Daniel Dennett’s Where Am I?, as the title suggests, he chooses to focus on the issue of personal identity with a primary focus on how we determine our personal spacial location. After presenting and summarizing Dennett’s ideas presented in this paper, I will share my personal interpretation along with a few words of caution and potential argument against his “tokening of thought” ideas that I would present to Dennett if I were ever able to meet him in person. In most cases of life, it would be safe to assume that our brains are attached to our bodies and thus we often are not forced to distinguish between the location of our brain and location of our body. Dennett, however, begins his story by describing a procedure that …show more content…

For simplicity, he names his original brain Yorick and the computer duplicate Hubert. According to the story, the scientists that crafted this experiment had also been sending the exact same incoming sensory signals from Dennett’s body to Hubert for the entirety of this experiment. Also, the signals that Yorick were sending to the body were checked with those of Hubert and were found to be “identical and synchronous” meaning that both Yorick and Hubert were fully capable of fulfilling the functional needs that determined Dennett’s bodily output and thus could both be justifiably identified as Dennett’s brain. Dennett also tells of a switch that determines which brain controls Dennett’s body and that Dennett could switch between Yorick and Hubert at will. Because the two systems operated in the exact same ways, Dennett would not be able to notice a switch of brains as he highlights in the following quote: "I could switch in mid-utterance, and the sentence I had begun speaking under the control of Yorick was finished without a pause or hitch of any kind under the control of Hubert." While this statement may be true, it seems as if Dennett is shying away from a subtle, yet rather critical aspect of the

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