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Personal Identity Essay

487 words - 2 pages

Alan Watts once said, "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." Personal identity defines a quality of a human being that makes him or her unique. People must have images of themselves in their own minds, while identifying others with different images. In other words, both internal (mind) and external (body) aspects need to be considered to differentiate one person from another. There are several general philosophical theories about the term personal identity, such as the body theory, soul theory, and memory theory. However, memory and one's soul often seem to be lumped together because they bear many ...view middle of the document...

If the soul of person A enters the body of person B, person B is no longer person B. Even though his or her outward appearance is the same, his or her behavior will not be the same. Therefore, the soul theory is a viable definition of personal identity.The most recognized philosophical theory of personal identity has been the memory theory for a very long time. John Locke once stated: "For since consciousness always accompanies thinking and 'tis that, that makes every ne to be, where he calls self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things, in this alone consists personal identity." He was referring to consciousness as a collection of memories. Everyone has different experiences and these experiences become one's memories. These different memories make us all unique from one another. For example, the memories or experiences of childhood, school life, and special events all have significance, but influenced people in different ways. Memory is thus necessary when defining personal identity.In summary, there are two common theories of personal identity, the soul theory and the memory theory. From the respective arguments of each, the memory theory seems to be a better definition of the term because there is no concrete evidence to prove that a soul really exists or can enter different bodies. If it does not exist, all the aforementioned arguments are void. Therefore, the memory theory is a better explanation of personal identity.

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