What is personal identity? This question has been asked and debated by philosophers for centuries. The problem of personal identity is determining what conditions and qualities are necessary and sufficient for a person to exist as the same being at one time as another. Some think personal identity is physical, taking a materialistic perspective believing that bodily continuity or physicality is what makes a person a person with the view that even mental things are caused by some kind of physical occurrence. Others take a more idealist approach with the belief that mental continuity is the sole factor in establishing personal identity holding that physical things are just reflections of the mind. One more perspective on personal identity and the one I will attempt to explain and defend in this paper is that personal identity requires both physical and psychological continuity; my argument is as follows:
1) Bodily continuity is required for the function of mental continuity.
2) Mental continuity is necessary in defining personal identity.
Therefore, mental and physical continuity are both necessary and sufficient for defining personal identity.
These premises, both of which are true, support the conclusion of this argument. The first premise states that bodily continuity is required for the function of mental continuity; this is of course true as all mental activity is generated within the brain whose livelihood relies on adequate operation of the body. Additionally, in the second premise it is noted that mental continuity is necessary in defining personal identity. Mental continuity as it relates to personal identity is a combination of memory and consciousness. Memo...
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Stewart, Wayne. "Personal Identity." Metaphysics By Default. 1999. Web. 03 Feb. 2011.
Gunnarsson, Logi. "Logi Gunnarsson - Philosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple Personality - Reviewed by John P. Lizza, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania - Philosophical Reviews - University of Notre Dame." About Philosophical Reviews - University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2004. Web. Mar. 2011.
Moore, Brooke Noel., and Kenneth Bruder. "Chapter 6- The Rise of Metaphysics and Epistemology; Chapter 9- The Pragmatic and Analytic Traditions; Chapter 7- The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries." Philosophy: the Power of Ideas. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
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