phil essay

phil essay - 1 Madison Nina Madison Professor Levin...

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1 Madison Nina Madison Professor Levin Philosophy 262 25 March 2012 Memory The case in the prompt describes an operation that causes Rush Limbaugh and Hillary Clinton’s memories to be switched. Only the parts of their brain that support specific memories are swapped. The doctor claims that Hillary has survived and that she will be awake soon. However, whether or not Hillary is truly the same person is unclear. This thought experiment is important because the discussion of what happens to Hillary involves determining the effect of memory alone on personal identity. This particular case is relevant because memory as a necessary or sufficient condition for a person to be considered the same is questioned. The criterion when evaluating personal identity has been viewed differently by many philosophers such as Locke, Sacks, and Williams. Although Locke argues that memory is a necessary condition for personal identity and Sacks and Williams do not, I find that all their considerations combined provide a convincing argument that personal identity is a mixture of body, personality, and memory. In regards to the effect of memory alone on personal identity, I think that memory is necessary but not sufficient. Locke views that memory is a necessary condition in the identity of a person through time. He uses memory as criteria because it is not ambiguous, consciousness of one’s actions will unify different selves, and it satisfies our deep and considered views when we think that a person in the present is the same as in the future. Locke views that it is necessary for the later person’s memory to be appropriately caused by the thought, action, or experience had or done by the
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2 person. Even if a person has different bodily characteristics or even a different biological species than the later person, they can still be the same person. For example, consider the case of the Frog and the Prince, where the Frog turns into a Prince after being kissed by a Princess. Locke would say that the Prince and the Frog were the same person. Locke proposes that one should think about whether a person should be held accountable for a later person to understand how memory is necessary in personal identity. Locke’s view is illustrated in the case of the Prince and the Cobbler. The Prince in the Cobbler’s body would be held accountable for only the prince’s actions. However, law in society holds a man accountable for actions that he may not remember.
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2012 for the course PHIL 262 taught by Professor Scottpaterson during the Spring '08 term at USC.

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phil essay - 1 Madison Nina Madison Professor Levin...

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