Personal Identity - Memory Theory vs Body Theory vs Soul Theory

1634 WordsOct 29, 20127 Pages
Personal Identity REFERENCE: Perry, Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality. . Thesis . Identity refers to “a relation that everything has to itself and to no other thing”, and our perception of personal identity is the knowledge that we are ourselves, and who we have been – basically, that I am the same person I was last week, last year, etc. Leibniz’s Law states that if one thing (A) is identical to another (B) at one given point in time, they share the exact same properties, making them the same, one thing (A = B). In this paper, I will argue that the Memory Theory of Personal Identity is the closest to the truth. I will do so by showing that the opposing theories – Body and Soul Theories – have evident flaws and that the…show more content…
371). This responds to the objections raised by Thomas Reid in the 18th century (Shoemaker, 2008, p. 340), however, the Memory Theory did require a modification to include the possibility of temporarily forgetting the experiences of an earlier person-stage, “as long as one has the potentiality of remembering it” (Shoemaker, 2008, p. 340). In the conversations held by Gretchen Weirob, Sam Miller and Dave Cohen in Perry’s ‘Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality’ (Perry, 1977), this concept is addressed in depth. Miller relays a chapter written by Locke – “the relation between two person-stages or stretches of consciousness that makes them stages of a single person is just that the later one contains memories of an earlier one...I can remember only my past thoughts and feelings, and you only yours...take this relation as the source of identity” (Perry, 1977, p. 343). These concepts are logical possibilities in my opinion, and are far less unstable than those presented within the Body/Soul Theory, as these concepts do not require the senses of others, but the individual’s first person perception of their personal identity. Another argument against the Memory Theory involves it’s circular nature if fake memories are implanted within a person who did not actually experience what the memories are about, and only ‘seems to remember’, via brainwashing for example. The above diagram shows the
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