The Importance Of Personal Identity

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Personal identity is the concept of what makes a unique person, what ‘self’ means, and what connects you to other versions of yourself. It is generally accepted that personal identity exists and that everyone is a unique and distinct being. The more interesting and complicated philosophical problem has to do with personal identity over time, which considers two beings over time: being X, at time T1, and being Y, at time T2. The most important aspect being the specific conditions which do or do not make X and Y the same person. Persisting things can change their intrinsic properties without abandoning their identities as those persisting things. This is not hard to accept since it would be absurd to believe that every time something changed, a whole new identity would be created. You are not a new person because you cut your hair. Although, depending on the type of changes, doubts can occur about whether X and Y are actually the same person since they are no longer numerically identical. Personal identity over time has significant moral, ethical and social importance, especially when pertaining to the doubt of continued existence after certain changes. If personal identity over time exists, this means that a criterion of identity also exists. A criterion of identity specifies the conditions for the survival of persons over time. This deals with problems such as life after death, life support, reincarnation, and generally who we are as people. Consequently, these problems have important implications that could change the way people interact and the way the world works. If personal identity over time does not exist or if your identity changes when you are drunk for example: how can we hold people responsible for their actions. A per... ... middle of paper ... ...mory of our past selves. When something like sleep, interrupts consciousness, we would not have any memories from during that period. Meaning that we would not have continued consciousness which is the idea that personal identity rests upon. It seems illogical to believe that I am a different person after waking up from a nap. The other problem is why we cannot remember many of our childhood experiences or even what we ate for lunch on the first Monday of the last month. People would not doubt the memory theory if all of our perceptions and memories remained present in our mind. This is not neurologically possible and therefore we will lose what our brains consider unimportant events. Does this mean that myself two months ago is not the same person I am now, because I cannot remember what I had for lunch on the first Monday last month – this conclusion seems absurd.
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