PH100 Lecture Notes

Intuition pump 3 do you have your best friends body

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Intuition pump #3: Do you have your best friend's body or does your best friend have your character? If the former, then sameness of matter does not seem to be sufficient for personal identity. Sider: “...[F]or all you know, the matter that now makes up your body once made up the body of another person thousands of years ago...Clearly, that would not make you numerically identical to that statesman. You should not be punished for his crimes...” (10) 2. Souls: Do souls exist? Does not seem sufficient for identity Suppose that transmigration of soul (reincarnation) is possible. It is possible that Socrates' soul is in someone else's body. Suppose that that body is my body. Am I Socrates? I have none of his memories, nor of his character traits, none of his knowledge 3. Spatiotemporal continuity: First problem – is it sufficient for personal identity? “suppose that you are captured, put into a pot, and melted into soup, (Sider 13). Refinement: “Persons are numerically identical if and only if they are spatiotemporally continuous via a series of persons.” (13) Intuition pump #1: The professor and the roller derby professional are spatiotemporally continuous. Are they numerically identical? The prince and the cobbler example – John Locke Who is who? It seems reasonable to claim that the prince is now in the cobbler's body, whereas the cobbler is in the prince's body If you are convinced by this thought experiment, then spatiotemporal continuity does not suffice for personal identity. 4. Psychological continuity: What does the term psychological continuity mean? X is psychologically continuous to Y is X has (some of) Y's memories, character traits, dispositions Branching Suppose that there is a machine that can copy the psychology of a person and then transport that psychology into someone else's mind. So suppose person B can be made to have person A's psychology. But if psychological continuity suffices for personal identity then person B is numerically identical to person A. Problem: they are one in the same, but occupy different spatiotemporal location. October 23, 2012: Personal Identity (cont.) Focus: Should we care that much about personal identity? What's the relationship between “You on Thursday” and “You now”? Is it one of numerical identity? Or is it something else? Parfit's double target in “Personal Identity”: The question of personal identity must have an answer. The question of personal identity needs to have an answer for otherwise we cannot answer certain important questions (such as questions about matters of survival, memory, and responsibility) Main goal: show that although certain questions do presuppose a question about personal identity, “they can be freed of this presupposition. And when they are, the question about identity has no importance.” (4) Case 1: Extreme cosmetic surgery Want a slimmer body – take your brain out of your old body and put it in a new body Parfit's response: “We suppose that my brain is transplanted into someone else's body, and that the
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resulting person has my character and apparent memories of my life. Most of us would agree, after
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