Personal Identity - Memory Theory vs Body Theory vs Soul Theory
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
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This concludes that in order to know whether C really remembers being A, we must already know if C is identical to (actually is) A – this indeed causes the Memory Theory to be circular. However, this is no longer the case if premise (1) is altered to say that C’s seeming memory is real memory, i.e. is caused in “the right way” – this is defined as being caused by a reliably information-preserving process, such as a normally functioning brain (thus allowing for the event of complete amnesia as there is a chain of memories connecting the person-stages). For example, C actually experienced A’s childhood, C does not only “seem to remember” A’s childhood, purely because C has been told that he experienced A’s childhood. In turn, this allows the Memory Theory to be plausible. This is discussed by Gretchen, Sam and Dave – to which Gretchen agrees that “the real rememberer is the one who, in addition to seeming to remember the past thought or action, actually thought or did it” (Perry, 1977, p. 344).
The most dangerous argument against the Memory Theory is the notion of fission – one thing split into two (or more) things. A reliably information-preserving process could include a normally functioning brain, but also a DVD copy or God replicating you after your death.
This argument is