Julia North Thought Experiment Essay

1277 WordsOct 24, 20096 Pages
In the Julia North thought experiment, Julia North’s brain is transplanted into a different body. The underlying question arising from this case is does Julia North continue to exist after the operation? In this paper I will explore how the same-brain view, the bodily view, and the psychological linkage view would answer this question and provide evidence as to why I believe that the psychological linkage view in general and the indirect memory view in particular provide the most compelling answer. A view obviously related to this case is the same-brain view in which Julia’s continued existence and personal identity is determined by the survival of her living brain. According to such a view, Julia remains alive after the operation…show more content…
However, I, like Locke, find this answer to be incomplete. In Locke’s criticism of bodily views he raises the example of a prince and a cobbler who, upon awakening, find themselves to be inside each other’s bodies. In this case, as in the case of Julia North, the same body-same person relationship does not hold because the thoughts and memories of the cobbler-bodied person and the prince-bodied person are no longer the same. The cobbler and the prince continue to exist within different bodies. The continued existence of the prince and the cobbler, like that of Julia North, is attributed to the persistence of memory and traits of character over time. This account of personal identity and existence is known as the psychological linkage view. According to this view, Julia North would still exist after the operation because she was able to maintain all of her previous memories and traits of character. However, there are discrepancies within this view. The psychological linkage view provided by Locke states that personal identity is based on a direct memory account. In other words, if at any point in time a person loses their direct memory of the past they cease to have the same personal identity. This view can be exhibited by the following example. Consider the case of a person who is involved in a car accident and suffers a concussion. After the accident, the person cannot remember any of the events that transpired contiguous to the accident and resulting
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