The Nature of Identity

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TheNature of Identity

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TheNature of Identity

Theobjective of this paper is to analyze the nature of identity throughthe arguments of Weibro and Parfit. Weibro opposes the bodilyidentification, while Parfit expresses the possession of memories andcharacters as essential for future survival. The theoreticalarguments by Weibro are factual in the sense that an individual doesnot live into the future if the proposed conditions of Parfit areachieved.

Parfitis of the view that people should distinguish the thoughts ofsurvival and identity. He argues further that there is a likelihoodthat a person will survive in the future even if no one is alike tohim at the time. It can also be assumed that Parfit’s argument isthat the conditions for a person’s survival are based on hisobvious memories and character. He suggests that it is sensible for aperson to think that someone would survive after his brain istransplanted into someone else’s body. As such, the resultingindividual will possess the memories and characters of the person whodonated the brain. In such a case, Parfit’s perception is that theindividual survives as two people.

Parfitfurther notes that contradictions can be avoided if a person candistinguish the difference between identity and survival because thetwo individuals are evidently not alike. He also redefines otherpsychological links and memory in a manner that a person does notneed to be the same individual as the one who initially experiencedthe remembered thing. His argument is based on the fact thatcontinued existence is not transitive. He states, “Xat t1 is the identical being as Y at t2 if X is inimitablypsychologically incessant with Y, where psychological continuityconsists in overlapping strong chains of psychological relationship,itself consisting of considerable numbers of express psychologicalassociations like intentions, memories, beliefs/desires/goals/, andresemblance of behavior(Perry, 361).”

Onthe other hand, Weirob argues that no one can touch, see, or smellsouls. He also disputes the notion that genuine memories are thosethat are possessed by a person who had the experiences of his liferemembered. He does not accept the idea that people should appeal tomemory to explicate identity, as such would mean that humans appealto identity to spot the variance between a distinct memory and a realmemory. Weirob also argues that there are problems with reduplicationof memories. He states that “Godcould create two distinct persons, both designed after me. Theycannot both be identical to me for then they would be identical toeach other, and they are not. So either these persons do not havereal memories or else memory is not sufficient for personal identity(Perry,338).” Therefore, people can generate absurdities from such anargument without limit.

Idisagree with Parfit’s argument that there is a likelihood that aperson will survive in the future even if no one is alike to him atthe time. The quote, “X at t1 is the identical being as Y at t2 ifX is inimitably psychologically incessant with Y,” also makeslittle sense to me. The quote can be argued out that if person Trecalls the majority of the life experiences of J, and J recalls themajority of the life experiences of K, T will not necessarily recallthe majority of the life experiences of K. Therefore, T will onlysurvive if he has the life memories of K. Such a survival perceptionis applicable in humans’ general speaking ways that they survivethrough their children, but not practically applicable. I find itimproper to think that a person will continue living through hischildren after he dies because he shares same behaviors as hischildren, or because of obvious memories. People who arenon-relatives can have similar behaviors though they live indifferent parts of the world just in the same way some people lookalike, yet they are not relatives. A person can imitate the charactertraits of an individual he admires, and thus, it is not a significantfactor that determines a person’s survival in future. I argue thatParfit’s reasons should not make people think that they willsurvive into the future if the proposed conditions by Parfit arerealized.

Onthe other hand, I agree with Weirob’s point of view that genuinememories are not the memories that are possessed by a person who hadthe experiences of his life remembered. Personal identity is not amere identity of the body in the sense that if an individual is abody, then every personal identity judgment must be about the bodilyidentity judgment. However, a person can ignore making bodilyidentity judgments, and make personal identity judgments.Additionally, if an individual becomes a body, then it is notpossible for him to possess a dissimilar body. However, it is likelyfor the individual to possess an entirely a different body. It can beconcluded that an individual cannot be a body.


Perry,J. (2015). Introductionto Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings.Oxford University Press. ISBN#: 978-0-19-020023-7