Essay on Personal Identity at a High School Reunion

Essay on Personal Identity at a High School Reunion

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All through life people strive to become someone with a specific identity; to be classified as a “somebody” rather than a “nobody”. This classification is most noted amongst high school students. Often youth identities are developed through the activities they participate in, the jock, the cheerleader, the nerd, the band geek. Yet, people are not the activities they participated in in high school. People graduate, go to college, work toward a career, have children. Then at the ten year reunion, those same high school jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, and band geeks gather once again to reminisce over the past. These people are no longer the high school activities of the past nor are these people the activities they participate in currently, their identities now, at this reunion, are judged by something different. The peers at the reunion do not look the same, but such qualitative identity is not important; a person does not have to look specifically the same to be the same person. Yet, how do peers judge a person’s identity, know James is still the same James and has survived time, besides the name tag they wear? Arguably, the most sufficient response to this question of personal identity is the use of the body criterion.
The problem of personal identity is based around the issue created in the high school reunion scenario. Personal relationships and often legal disputes are built around the knowledge of personal identity; knowing a specific person is the same person from the events of the past. In order to completely explain that a person who existed ten years ago or even yesterday is the same person who exists at this moment, a criterion which demonstrates the elements of personal identity needs to be defined. Three criteria which ...


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... identity also is lost after death according to the memory criterion because memories are unable to be caused in the right way after death. Any reproduction of memories, by God or anyone else, would not be caused in the right way. Even if memories were able to be transported to another entity, the psychological elements of identity are not able to be. Consequently, the memory/psychological criterion does not allow for survival after death. Thus the objection of survival after death does not sufficiently reject one criterion over the other.
Personal identity does not reside in the activities a person participates in throughout life. As argued, personal identity relies on the elements of the body criterion. Using the body criterion, the peers at the high school reunion are able to identify James as the same person after ten years even without the name tag he wears.

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