Is Personal Identity in the Mind of the Beholder?

795 WordsJun 21, 20184 Pages
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. Summary: Locke’s argument for the memory criterion of personal identity, is that psychological continuity (the consciousness of past experiences) is the aspect that preservers our personal identity. Locke…show more content…
The duplication problem, is one in which we assume you (A) have a terrible illness and the only solution is to split your body into two and see which will survive. You enter the operation and the doctors divide your body into two. Each halve-body is artificially completed, but somehow both halves are cured and both survive. Now you have two persons (B and C), with your original hemisphere. According to Locke’s theory on psychological continuity, a past person (P1) is numerically identical to the future person (P2) iff the future person remembers the past persons memories, experiences, etc. Therefore, we can assume A is psychologically continuous and numerically identical with B and A is also psychologically continuous and numerically identical with C. By the transitivity of identity, B and C must be numerically identical. However, it is impossible for B and C to be numerically identical. At the exact moment of the split, B and C can be qualitatively similar, but not be numerically identical, for it is impossible to have two different people and consider them both numerically the same person. This is proven by assuming: Charles (B) is numerically identical with Guy Fawkes (A). Robert (C) is numerically identical with Guy Fawkes (A).Therefore; Charles (B) is numerically identical with Robert (C). This argument is valid, but unsound. A valid argument is one in which, if the premise are all assumed to be true, the conclusion must be true. If we assume, Charles (B)
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