This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Personal Identity Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

Personal identity has long been one of those riddles the human race has strived to unravel. Even the earliest philosophical works posed the questions of, ‘who am I?’, ‘what am I?’ or ‘what makes a man different to the other men around him?’ I have no doubt that every conscious and self-aware person on the planet has, at some point and to some level, delved in introspection and pondered the notion of their identity, whatever that may consist of. Identity, as defined in the Dictionary of Philosophy, is ‘the theory that mental states and events, such as dreaming, believing, hoping, fearing, feeling pain etc. are identical with certain states or processes in the central nervous ...view middle of the document...

merging to form one person. Some aspects of both individuals would remain and coincide, whereas other contradictory aspects would cancel each other out to create new personality traits. The central question here is, if I fused with another individual, have I survived? Parfit says that, ‘fusion, while not clearly survival, is not clearly failure to survive, and hence that what matters in survival can have degrees’. Fission is the opposite of fusion. Parfit describes a situation where each of the hemispheres of the brain is transplanted into two brainless bodies. It must first be accepted and understood that it is completely possible for one to survive with only half a brain, there are certainly people alive today who are proof of that. So, if the two halves of my brain were to be successfully transplanted into two brainless bodies, have I survived? In response to this question, Parfit says, ‘if survive implies identity, this description makes no sense – you cannot be two people’. In other words, identity-wise I have literally been split in two, but I have survived. Overall, Parfit upholds that it is not personal identity that is important to us, it is survival, and while survival and identity generally accompany each other, as discussed, survival is a matter of degree whereas identity is not; therefore it is possible to survive even if identity has been compromised.
David Lewis, in comparison, believes that psychological continuity and connectedness is directly related to personal identity, which is the central criterion of survival. Lewis sees psychological continuity and connectedness in relation to identity and survival as a sort of line or continuum. He describes each psychological event or experience as a single point in a continuum of psychological events that reaches as far back as an individual’s memory allows, and continues to stretch and grow as the individual proceeds through life. Lewis also stresses that each of these psychological events, or mental states, is shaped by the immediately preceding mental state, and it is this continuity and connectedness that characterises personal identity. Lewis also believes that the most crucial aspect of survival is survival; the concept that I, the individual who currently exists at present, thinking certain thoughts and carrying certain memories, will still exist in the future. But what is most vital to this idea of survival is, of course, identity, specifically the definition of identity that Lewis describes, ‘that relation that everything bears to itself and to no other thing’. Without psychological continuity and connectedness, there can be no personal identity, and without personal identity, there can be no survival.
When...

Other Essays Like Personal Identity essay

Personal Identity in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Conner

1227 words - 5 pages Personal Identity in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor The unnamed grandmother in the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Conner, considers herself to be a lady because of her heritage in the Old South, and believes that she is superior to those around her. In this work, the grandmother puts her family into dangerous situations because of her personal identity, eventually leading them to their death. As the

Personal Idenity Essay

642 words - 3 pages Personal Identity The thing that I can think of best describes my personal identity is basketball. Basketball can be played inside or outside in the hot or cold during the day time or at night. Basketball has been around for many many years and is now played by everyone around the world. And now it is a sport that brings different cultures together. The author Joel L. Swerdlow wrote an essay entitled “Changing America” and in this essay he

Genesis Chapters 1-11

1031 words - 5 pages . Instructions for the Biblical Worldview Essay In a 1,000–1,200-word essay, describe what Genesis 1–11 teaches regarding the natural world, human identity, human relationships, and civilization. Furthermore, explain how this teaching on these topics affects your worldview. Make sure that you address each of these topics in your essay (it is suggested that you organize your essay around these four broad categories). Your essay should include an

Andreas Walther – Interact And Shifting Between The West And The East

1541 words - 7 pages anything you are doing just by yourself. But when you are interacting with someone else (especially when the person is belongs to other ethnic groups), you come to think of the ethnic identity, your own ethnic identity and others ethnic identity. This is why I tend to see ethnic identity as an interactional identity. On the other hand, ethnic identity is a situational identity, too. In this essay I would discuss about these interactional and

Consumer Culture And Identity

2282 words - 10 pages consumer culture can have on social agents, and not just on the economic or capitalism that comes with consumption. This essay will discuss the relationship between Consumer culture and Identity. The essay is divided into five parts; the first section is an introduction into what Consumer culture is, the second section is also an introduction into what Identity is and how it is used in the context of the essay, the third section deals with

King Richard

1615 words - 7 pages Draft Essay: King Richard III and Looking For Richard - Ambition and Identity “A deeper understanding of ambition and identity emerges from pursuing the connections between King Richard III and Looking for Richard.” Compare how these texts explore ambition and identity. By exploring the connections between Shakespeare’s play, King Richard III, and Al Pacino’s film, Looking for Richard, the understanding and interpretation of ambition and

Struggles of Identity

653 words - 3 pages Jada Thornton  September 25, 2015  Dr. Rampone  English 150­08  Struggles of Identity  In the essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, Gloria Anzaldua describes how she is  targeted for her culture and the way that she speaks. Anzaldua feels that “she is her language”.  She makes the reader feel the way she does in her life of exclusion by speaking spanish  periodically through the essay. She realizes she does not need to satisfy English

Essay About Arts

1920 words - 8 pages global identity as a bilingual nation. For this, we should be proud. But languages, because of their capacity for communication, must only be used to unite people and never to divide us by distinguishing the educated from the underprivileged.essay  Use Essay in a sentencees·say[n. es-ey for 1, 2; es-ey, e-sey for 3-5; v. e-sey] Show IPAnoun1.a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject,usually in prose and generally

Health and Social Care

2398 words - 10 pages be threatened for people needing and receiving care services. Using one or more of the situations in Block 2, explain why this is so and what care workers can do to support a sense of self. Identity is a continuing, lifelong journey, constructed on a foundation established in the earliest relationship of one’s life, which Bowlby (cited in The Open University, 2010 p.26) associated with the ‘attachment theory’. This essay will

Computers Change Thinking

1231 words - 5 pages heavily cautious tone, Turkle repeatedly warns us of the potential dangers we face if we continue down the same path we are currently on. One of the major concerns she expresses in this essay is privacy, or lack thereof. Turkle claims “middle-school and high-school students tend to be willing to provide personal information online with no safeguards” (p.602). This is a very general statement with no given evidence to support her. I believe that

Freaud Stages of Personality Development

606 words - 3 pages ability to or do things on their own, such as dress him or herself? If "guilty" about making his or her own choices, the child will not function well.. 4. Competence- Industry vs. Inferiority - School-age / 6-11. Child comparing self-worth to others (such as in a classroom environment). Child can recognize major disparities in personal abilities relative to other children. 5. Fidelity- Identity vs. Role Confusion - Adolescent / 12 years

Related Papers

Development Of Personal Identity Essay

1870 words - 8 pages Personal Identity The rate at which a person grows and learns as an individual is all based on personal emotional and physical growth. While becoming into that person several things tie into what makes them into who they are. Gender is one of the most obvious examples of this. When meeting someone for the first time it is the first noticeable trait of a person. While it is difficult to determine what a person is going to be like just by their

Personal Identity And Psychological Reductionism Essay

2009 words - 9 pages someone the particular person they are, and by extension, what makes any person the person they are. In essence, what we are searching for are the necessary and sufficient conditions for personal identity over time. In this essay we will focus on the claim that it is in fact, only the psychological characteristics of a person that are essential to personal identity over time. These characteristics include memory, beliefs, intentions and

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

Attributes Of Intimate Social Relationships And Personal Identity

1363 words - 6 pages The reason why I chose this topic and article is because I personally feel that the attributes of intimate social relationships and personal identity are very important. Neither intimacy nor individual development can exist alone. The birth of a child initiates a human being into a life-long process of mutual adaptation between the child, his or her intimate relationship partners and the broader social environment. Intimate interactions and