Memory and Personal Identity Essays

Memory and Personal Identity Essays

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Questions about God, knowledge, freedom, and immortality are asked not only by philosophers, but by all individuals. Answers to these questions are extraordinarily contradictory because different beliefs and opinions are held by everyone. A major philosophical issue is that of personal identity and immortality. Most commonly, philosophers attempt to discover what makes someone the same person they were ten or 20 years ago. Some argue that memory is the key to personal identity: however, others object.
The problem of personal identity is difficult to solve, especially since there is ambiguity in the terms. Identity may mean the same person or how one sees oneself. Anyhow, philosophers wish to assess this issue and find a suitable explanation, one motivation being responsibility. Humans will hold others responsible for acts such as murder, theft, and fraud. However, the person who will face the consequences must be the one who truly committed the wrongful act. A second motivation is interest in the future. An individual may become concerned or excited for an event that will occur in the future. Surely, these emotions entail that they will be the same person once that event occurs. The last motivation for resolving personal identity is immortality; basically, what will connect a person to whatever lives on after their physical death. Something can be identical in two ways: quantitatively or qualitatively. To be quantitatively identical is to be numerically identical, and to be qualitatively identical is to share exact qualities. There are two criterions on which personal identity is based, but the most important is the metaphysical criterion, which attempts to explain “being” or existence, without the necessity of physical evidence ...


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...ll the tables, but the next morning, he cannot recall what happened. Is it not rational to believe he has suppressed these memories to avoid shame? The conscious brain can sometimes veil memories of the unconscious mind. Psychology has demonstrated cases where consciously, individuals could not remember past events, but while sleeping, the memories return. There have also been several occurrences of individuals who have been drugged and abused. The drugs prevented recall for some time, but slowly memories have returned.
Briefly, we can conclude by deduction that body, brain, and soul are not sufficient to explain personal identity. Personal identity and immortality will always cause questions to arise from philosophers, as well as other individuals, and although many philosophers may object and disagree, the memory criterion offers the most sufficient explanation.

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