The Problem Of Personal Identity Essay

The Problem Of Personal Identity Essay

Length: 1290 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Who are we? Most individuals would answer that we are human beings. But consider taking this concept one step further by asking the following: What makes us human beings? What makes each individual person that same person over a period of time? When do we, as human beings, begin to exist and cease to exist? These questions give rise to the problem of personal identity, which is centered on the idea of essential properties. An essential property of any specific thing makes that thing what it is, and if an essential property is changed or is taken away, that specific thing no longer exists. The problem of personal identity asks the following: What are the “essential” properties of human beings? Numerous philosophers have attempted to answer the question of personal identity, contributing to one of three core theories studied in class: Plato’s/Descartes’ Soul Theory, the Psychological Continuity Theory, and the Bodily Continuity Theory. For the purpose of this paper, I claim that the best rationale regarding the problem of personal identity stems from the Psychological Continuity Theory and its connection with natural human intuition and existential evidence.
The Psychological Continuity Theory is rooted in the idea that you, as an individual, are your psychology; you are made up of your beliefs, ideas, memories, habits, personality traits, etc. As defined by Shoemaker in his work A Materialist’s Account, a person’s psychological states are what makes that person the same over time, namely: current person P2 is identical to previously existing person P1 if and only if P2’s psychological states are continuous with P1’s psychological states. Consequently, a supporter of the Psychological Continuity Theory would say that you stop exi...


... middle of paper ...


...nuity Theory in which our psychology exists in our physical brain.
After studying the components of the three mentioned theories, it is easier to perceive the rationality behind the claim that Psychological Continuity Theory offers the best explanation to the problem of personal identity. First, Psychological Continuity offers an aspect of human intuition that Bodily Continuity does not consider. The fact that humans naturally associate themselves with their psychology is strong evidence in itself. Second, Psychological Continuity offers existential proof that is not apparent in the Soul Theory. A proponent of this theory cannot offer strong evidence for us being souls when it cannot be proven that souls even exist. From these comparisons, it is reasonable to see that the Psychological Continuity Theory offers the best explanation to the problem of personal identity.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Problem Of Personal Identity Essay

- In philosophy, the matter of personal identity comprises the related subjects of contiguity, change, sameness, and time. Conceptually, personal identity is the distinct personality of a man or woman, and concerns the persisting entity particular to him or her. As such, the personal identity structure remains the same, as the previous version of the individual characteristics that arise from personality, by which a person is known to other people. Generally, personal identity is the unique numerical identity of a person in the course of time....   [tags: Mind, Consciousness, Philosophy of mind]

Better Essays
1263 words (3.6 pages)

The Problem Of Personal Identity Essay

- Who are we. Most individuals would answer that we are human beings. But consider taking this concept one step further by asking the following: What makes us human beings. What makes each individual person that same person over a period of time. When do we, as human beings, begin to exist and cease to exist. These questions give rise to the problem of personal identity, which is centered on the idea of essential properties. An essential property of any specific thing makes that thing what it is, and if an essential property is changed or is taken away, that specific thing no longer exists....   [tags: Mind, Soul, Psychology, Metaphysics]

Better Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)

Personal Statement On The Problem Of Personal Identity Essay

- In this paper I offer an explication of John Perry’s dialogue on the problem of personal identity, and my evaluation of the strongest account of personal identity between the body, mind, and soul. In this paper I will argue that the strongest account of personal identity is that a person can be identified by their soul. By having the sameness of soul you will then be able to solve the problem of personal identity. Your soul is the foundation of whom you are and by definition, personal identity means “The persistent and continuous unity of the individual person normally attested by continuity of memory with present consciousness.” And without your soul memory could not exist....   [tags: Soul, Spirit, Mind, Chocolate]

Better Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Personal Identity at a High School Reunion

- 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....   [tags: Criteria of Identity]

Better Essays
1506 words (4.3 pages)

Personal Identity And Social Identity Essay

- Depending on an individual’s sense of personal identity and self-beliefs this influences their understanding of what makes them, them. This idea relates to this transportation device because some people believe it to compromise ones identity, depending upon on their definition of personal identity. I personally will be agreeing with the 60% of the class who are prepared to travel in this device that destroys them and rebuilds another copy. I would be in the 60% of the class of which agree to this device because I believe my identity to be psychological....   [tags: Mind, Philosophy of mind, Psychology, Soul]

Better Essays
1138 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Most Problematic Social and Economic Problem in Today’s Society

- Identity Theft might just be the most problematic social and economic problem in the US. Identity theft can cause many problems for the victim and the thief, obviously. One problem is the victims personal record, it is extremely important to have a clean one if you want to apply for college, buy a house, become a citizen, etc. Another problem is after the identity theft has taken their toll, the victim is suffering with trying to recover all the money that they have lost. And the most dangerous problem is victims can be accused of crimes that they have not committed....   [tags: identity theft, economic fraud, personal record]

Better Essays
986 words (2.8 pages)

Is Personal Identity in the Mind of the Beholder? Essay

- Personal identity is a very controversial aspect of life. Who are we. What defines us. According to John Locke, psychological continuity is what defines our personal identity. Locke discusses the case of the prince and the cobbler to help shape his theory. However, I absolutely disagree with Locke’s theory. Locke’s theory of personal identity creates many problems, such as the duplication problem. By reformulating Locke’s theory of personal identity, we still come across these problems that prove Locke’s theory false....   [tags: theory, duplication, memory, numerically]

Better Essays
805 words (2.3 pages)

Memory and Personal Identity Essays

- 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....   [tags: philosophical analysis]

Better Essays
750 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Establishing Personal Identity

- 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....   [tags: modified body criterion]

Better Essays
1788 words (5.1 pages)

Identity Essay

- Stealing the identity of another is not an honest act. However, the Internet allows many opportunities for exploration of identity and has displayed personal social exploration to fulfill their curiosity. According to Lemke (1998), young people develop a sense of full presence online, living in them semiotically as they make cultural and personal sense of their participation. The shaping of an identity plays a vital role in the online world especially in having sustained online presence within any particular online-group....   [tags: Technology, Online Identity]

Free Essays
605 words (1.7 pages)