NQ 1 - Kevin Menear 9/29/05 Minds & Machines Section 4...

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Kevin Menear 9/29/05 Section 4 NOTEBOOK QUESTION #1 The instance of Julia and Mary Frances in the novel Who is Julia? by Barbara Harris raises an important question for philosophers. After a horrible accident, Julia’s brain is transplanted into Mary’s body. There is a philosophical debate over whom it is that is lying in the recovery room after the operation. There are myriad opinions involved in this debate and, in each case, there are arguments to support the respective views. To begin our overview of this debate, we must first clarify what we mean by “whom”. By “whom” we are referring to identity. Therefore, in our question, we are really asking what personal identity is lying in the recovery room. The term “identity” must also be clarified. There are two separate forms of identity: numerical and qualitative. Numerical identity is identity in the sense of being one and the same thing as any object or being. It is impossible for two separate things to have the same numerical identity, regardless of their physical similarities, because these two things can never occupy the same space at the same time. Qualitative identity is identity in the sense of being perfectly similar, or exactly alike. For instance, Clark Kent and Superman are numerically similar (they are just different names for the same thing) while two copies of the same book would be qualitatively similar. These definitions give rise to Locke’s Principle. In this principle, Locke states that no one thing, numerically identical to itself, can have two beginnings. Locke also states that no two things, regardless of qualitative identity, can have the same beginning (i.e. although two books may have the exact same physical properties, they must have come into existence at either a separate time or place). Furthermore, Locke distinguishes between the identity of a mass, a living thing and a person. He explains that, along
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course IHSS IHSS 1051 taught by Professor Vanorman during the Spring '08 term at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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NQ 1 - Kevin Menear 9/29/05 Minds & Machines Section 4...

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