• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How convincing is the claim that our personal identity through time is given by psychological continuity

Extracts from this document...


Persons "How convincing is the claim that our personal identity through time is given by psychological continuity? To determine whether we are the same person from one point in time to the next, there needs to be a characteristic which remains the same from both points in time. This characteristic could be memory, which is what John Locke argues. If I remember doing something, then I am the same person that did that thing. Although this theory is flawed, as we cannot remember everything we've ever done in our lives, memory is variable, what someone remembers can change over time. Reid demonstrates this in an example of an old general who has forgotten that as a child he stole an apple, but he remembers the time when he was a soldier and received a medal. ...read more.


Although there are still problems with memory theory, the duplication argument demonstrates this. If we imagine a teletransporter, a device which can destroy and recreate your entire physical structure with memories, in a different location, Locke's theory would suggest that you would still be the same person. Although what if, instead of destroying your body, the teletransporter just recreates you in a different location. Locke's theory would suggest that the two people would be the same persons, although this is logically impossible, as one person cannot be two people. The only other possibility is for personal identity to be physical. There are two arguments supporting this, the first of the two physical theories suggest that being the same person means being the same human animal. ...read more.


However, if we consider a scenario where your brain was reprogrammed with all my memories, and my brain was reprogrammed with all of your memories. Brain theory would suggest that you have my memories, rather than you having my brain which would make more sense. It seems as though there a various problems with both physical and psychological continuity, no features can be changed without changing the underlying self. As Hume argued, the self is just a bundle perceptions, so there is in fact no personal identity, rather it is an illusion created by the connectedness of mental states. We cannot successfully argue that a person is strictly identical over any stretch of time. Personal identity is, it seems, indeterminate - whether or not we decide to say that someone is the same is not something with a definite answer, it is something which depends on the nature of the case. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. What are the limitations on our personal liberty? Are all of them justified?

    However, if we are to use Mill's harm principle to judge where restrictions on liberty may rightly fall, drug use must be limited in certain situations. He used the example of a drunken police officer to illustrate this point. When a police officer is at home and his actions will not harm others, he should be able to drink alcohol.

  2. Do you find any of the arguments for cognitivism convincing?

    is thy duty " (that is, the imperative form), without first deducing the truth thereof from some other source." (2) This very well asks this question. Another very large issue with Kant's theory is his intense focus on reason. I disagree strongly with this.

  1. Assess the claim 'Our lives are determined'

    This is not to say that God has already set out our future; that is evident in the semantics, pre meaning 'before', therefore 'before destiny'.

  2. Assess the view that identity is psychological continuity

    In response to this theory, much can be said that supports it. Firstly it appeals to common sense allowing for continuity through remembered experience. None of us are exactly as when we were children either physically or psychologically, yet we believe that we are the same individual as the child we once were.

  1. Utilitarianism revision notes.

    of happiness" Mill agrees with the principle of utility but has altered Bentham's approach but instead of QUANTITY he believes in QUALITY. "Some kinds of pleasures are more desirable and more valuable than others" and "it would be absurd that while, estimating all other things, quality is not also considered

  2. Assess the claim that mental states cannot be reduced to physical states.

    One would be forced to conclude that God was also being an ?internal busybody?, and adjusting the way we walk and talk when one is drunk. Furthermore, God would also have to be interfering with our non physical minds in order to give us the feeling of being drunk.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work