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PH100 Lecture Notes

Most of us would agree after thought that the

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resulting person has my character and apparent memories of my life. Most of us would agree, after thought, that the resulting person is me. I shall here assume such agreement” (4-5) Psychological continuity = personal identity Case 2: Fission Split your brain into two hemispheres – plant half of the brain in body A and the other half in body B What happens to you? You don't survive You survive as either A or B You survive as both A and B Parfit says none of them are sufficient answers Problems with (1) – You don't survive If only half of your brain was destroyed and the other half was transplanted into someone else's body, then you would have survived But how is it possible for you not to survive if both of your hemispheres were successfully transplanted? Cannot be numerically identical Problems with (2) – You survive as either A or B If I survive as A, then why don't I also survive as B? Or if I survive as B, why don't I also survive as A? Problems with (3) – You survive as both A and B Initial reaction: Cannot be the case, because if “survival” means “identity”, then I cannot be identical to two persons. Transitivity issue Response: A and B are not two people. They are instead one person: two bodies that share a brain. They are something akin to a two-headed monster. “Suppose that the bridge between my hemispheres is brought under my voluntary control. This would enable me to disconnect my hemispheres as easily as if I were blinking. By doing this I would divide my mind. And we can suppose that when my mind is divided I can, in each half, brig about reunion.” (6) Can this case provide support for possibility (3)? Parfit: (3) might not be absurd but it is unsatisfactory. The two hemispheres case is not homologous to (3). For one to “survive” one person has to die. However, irrational to want one person to die Argument against the belief that there needs to be an answer to the question about personal identity Additional issue: If the question of personal identity doesn't have an answer then we cannot answer certain important questions Parfit's proposal: We should not understand survival to mean identity. First conclusion “The relation of the original person to each of the resulting people contains all that interests us – all that matters – in any ordinary case of survival. This is why we need a sense in which one person can survive as two” (10) SURVIVAL DOES NOT MEAN IDENTITY So if survival does not mean identity, then you can survive as both A and B (fission case) Identity vs. survival Identity is a one-to-one relation; survival doesn't have to be. Psychological continuity as a criterion of personal identity. Objection: A person can be psychologically continuous to two persons. But if the psychological continuity theory is understood as a theory of personal identity, then we end up with the absurd
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claim that there are two distinct persons which are nonetheless identical to each other.
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