Identifying oneself

The spatiotemporal continuity theory, which argues for the continuity of identity over time for both inanimate and animate objects based on a continuous sequence of life and shift in states that these objects experience under particular observations, is one scientific theory that bases personal identity on natural phenomena. Spatiotemporal continuity describes the continuity of a person's identity based on characteristics observed in children from infancy to adulthood. They are made up of the same matter that is constantly rising. However, spatiotemporal theory has some loopholes in particular circumstances as to when a force is inflicted to an object so that it changes in form, though we can trace a continuous series of the existence of the object, the matter that made up the same object ceases to exist in the initial form we identify the object with. Relatively, the theory relates to a person’s identity continuity when there is spatiotemporal consistent from a group of individuals. (Conee and Sider 12)

When it comes to the next theory, the psychological continuity theory shows that a particular individual is numerically similar to the future, if one, who has casual and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, memories and character traits reflecting those of the past person. Psychological continuity majors on the features in an object which can be replicated from one state to another to possess the fundamental innate components hence making them similar objects. Personal identification in connection to psychological continuity has faced a duplication problem by making it possible for mental properties of a person to be duplicated or even triplicated. (Conee and Sider 15)

Spatiotemporal continuity theory best explains continuity of identity over time. There are instances when there is a spatiotemporal discontinuity of individuals that does not change their status. For example, loss of a limb in an in individual does not lead to personal loss of self-identity (Conee and Sider 16). There’re still losses in one’s body that we can amount to spatiotemporal discontinuity, for instances where more than half of the bodies components are damaged probably in an accident, leading to a loss of one’s identity which now needs the theory refined as to what extent is sufficient for a change to be spatiotemporal continuity or discontinuity. (Conee and Sider 13)

I argue in favor of the extent of duplication that the spatiotemporal continuity can be subjected to as compared to the psychological continuity. In cases where the body receives treatment in parts, for instance, the brain hemispheres, they both heal and duplicate the components of the past brain. Hence brings out spatiotemporal discontinuity. It’s important to note that these these changes take place in the same body form. (Conee and Sider 18)

While both spatiotemporal and psychological continuity theories serve an extensive portion to explain the continuity of identity, spatiotemporal continuity touches on the reflection of the successor persons that emerge from our past characters. However, it impossible to ignore the fact that continuity in identity cannot rely wholly on the twists around our body compositions, memories, and character.


Conee, Earl Brink and Theodore Sider. Riddles of existence : A guided tour of metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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