Bernard Williams' Argument on Identity

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Williams on Identity Introduction In a series of relatively simple though complexly-worded (out of necessity) thought experiments regarding body-swapping and changes to memory and the mind, Bernard Williams attempts to demonstrate that identity should be identified with the body rather than with the mind when identity is extended into the future (and by extension during the present). That is, though it is typical for identity to be associated with the mind at any given moment, Williams argues that the logic that supports this intuitive association does not hold up over longer periods of time, and that anticipation of the future leads to an association of identity with the body rather than with the mind. Whether or not Williams is successful in this attempt is a matter of much debate, with this author finding some fundamental flaws in the very premise of the comparisons and thus the conclusions, however the argument is fairly elegant and persuasive and certainly worth of closer inspection. A careful reading of the argument might lead one to a conclusion opposite to that which was intended, but is no less rewarding for this unusual quirk. The Argument Williams begins by dispensing with several considerations that are not germane to his argument, and while some could find room to quibble with these dispensations they truly are not of importance to Williams' central argument or its flaws. In his first thought experiment, Williams assumes that there are two people, A
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