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Personal Identity Argument

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Unity as an Argument for Personal Identity

This essay will discuss the idea that personal identity persists over time. It will start by briefly analysing some philosophical approaches to the problem, with views from René Descartes, G.W. Leibniz, Thomas Reid, Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Perry and Derek Parfit. Also in the discussion, the concept of psychological continuity will be presented, and also its reaches and limits. I will, then, introduce the concept of unity as a consequence of personal continuity, and its compelling argument for the persistence of personal identity. As a conclusion, some suggestions as to where the discussion of personal identity should advance will be recommended.

1. A Fundamental Philosophical Problem
The attempt
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Some of them, more classical, suggest a criterion of re-identification, that is, a theoretical guarantee capable of rationally justifying the belief in the persistence of personal identity over time. It is the case of proposals by Descartes and Leibniz . However, such proposals are difficult to prove, e.g. the thesis of metaphysical substantiality subjacent to the theories of Descartes and Leibniz face the following challenge: even if we have the same soul or the same monad, and even if this entity fundaments personal identity, how can we know that it is the same entity through every moment of its life?
An alternative to resolve the problem seeking a criterion for re-identification is to conceive this criterion without recurring to any type of substantiality. This is the path which this article will take - in accordance to the view that personal identity is understood as a continuity. In this perspective, the presence of a substantial element will not be a requirement for the proof of the persistence of identity over time.
The reflection over sameness will give way to a discussion about the concept of unity, which is paramount for the understanding of personal identity. In order to be successful in the latter, we must first investigate the notion of psychological
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The same is true for the mind of the person’s identity: is it possible to re-identify a person based on his/her continuity? How can I know if the continuity was affected or remained the same?
The first difficulty is thus revealed: if there is continuity, then, there must be something that continues. In the proposal of continuity of personal identity it is not necessary that there be an element that continues. Wittgenstein uses the thread analogy to explain this concept: ‘[...] the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.’ .
We have, then, an alternate proposition to that of substantial criteria to understand personal identity. Over time, personal identity is no longer thought as ‘what persists’, but ‘how it persists’. We persist over time because of certain continuity. But in what consists this
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