What is the basis of Personal Identity?

Physical Continuity and Personal Identity

Physical continuity, in my opinion, is insufficient as a basis for personal identity. The physical change acceptance restriction supports the concept that bodily centurion is insufficient for the maintenance of identity. Some philosophers, such as Eric Olsen, contend that physical change is the foundation of identity. He says that if a person maintains the same body throughout their life, their unique identity will be preserved. The argument simplifies and clarifies identification, which should not be the case.

Resistance to Bodily Continuity

There is a lot of resistance to the concept that bodily continuity is the foundation of personal identity. It is evident that the theory is opposed to most of the religious viewpoints which argue that the real souls add the intrinsic value to our identities. The conception of religion is that the immaterial soul tends to live even after we are dead. Hence, they claim that the immortal body which vanishes after death cannot be the fundamental basis of our identity. Also, our bodies are continually changing which is attributed to the regeneration and shedding of cells as well as unprototional growth. So unlike the physical assets which are likely to remain the same way they were years before, how likely is our bodies. For example, if we purchase a pair of socks now, in ten years’ time it will be torn and be trying to repair it several times will mean that the original material will be replaced which will yield to the new identity. The claim is the same as our physical being; we develop a new identity with our body cells. Our body cells changes as the age go by; hence, our appearance or attitude will be undetectable.

Identity Change Due to Worn Out

The agreement on the change of the identity due to worn out is not agreeable among the philosophers. Some argue that despite the repair of physical socks several times the former identity remain the same. The argument is that the regeneration of the cells several times does not inhibit one to be the same person as before. They argue that the body cells are within the given limit which saves the body identity. The argument can be as a result of the theory of body continuity which requires that we maintain the same genetic structure that leads to the acceptance of the theory in science due to the concept that our identity is governed by our brains. The argument goes further to claim that our identity is determined by our genetics. The argument of genetics determinism is usually investigated by the identical twins studies that are said to be of the same genes combination. Most twins are said to be raised in the same environment; hence, regeneration of cells will be universal. Despite the identical twins having the same genetic combination and been exposed to the same situation, they still have different personal identity. Hence, genetics is not the best basis which can be used in the individual identity.

Boundaries of Change and Personal Identity

It is clear that there is a gradual regeneration of cells in our lives despite them falling within the realms of acceptable change which are at the time replaced by the non-human material. The critical question that arises is; what boundaries of change are acceptable. Also, what part of our lives should we lose for us to lose our identity? One of the philosophers Bernard Williams describes physical Spectrum as a condition which a personal body is gradually replaced. He claims that the removal of a grain from a heap does not change its identity since it is still a heap. On the other hand, while talking about a personal identity, the case is different. They are described by more things which are not explicitly limited to the physical being. Change in the material nature does not contribute to the variation in one’s character traits and memories that we associate with the personal identity.

Criticism of Physical Continuity

The physical continuity being the basis of personal identity is a basic argument but not practical in any way. The argument that physical change is gradual to a particular limit is as well not reasonable in a case of plastic surgery or in a fire incident. For example, in a case where the physical being is changed at a go for a fire incident case or plastic surgery, will their identity be changed? The answer will be no meaning that the physical being is not the critical basis of the personal identity.

Brain Transplant and Personal Identity

The argument that the physical body is not the critical basis of the personal identity is supported by Sydney Shoemaker through his experiment on Robinson and Brown. A brain transplant was done on Brown, and his Brain was placed on Robinson body. When Robinson wakes up, he remembered all the Brown’s memories and adopted his lifestyle. He took his character traits, mannerism and started living with the Brown’s family as part of it. The family of the two agreed that Robinson’s body is currently Brown’s identity. The same case happens in the venture pros where even after the death of Dean and Hunk, they are replaced with clone-bodies which are conditioned with their memories. Hence, despite their bodies being in different clones, their identity is still the same. This is a clear demonstration that the physical being is not a sufficient condition for the continuity and personal identity.

Biological Being and Personal Identity

Eric Olson defends the criticism by his claim that an individual is merely a biological being and claims that a human being may undergoes a psychological change and remains the same person. I agree with his argument though it is not practical since the removal of one's memories, mannerisms, depositions, and personality is the removal of one's identity. It is clear that Olson simplifies the concept of personal identity and considers a human as an animal such that nothing else matters rather than the physical being. He easily defines a person's existence without acknowledging his mental life and substantiates that the mentality of an individual is not affected by this at all.

The Basis of Personal Identity

Hence, the physical continuity is not the best basis for the personal identity. Your brain is not always continuous as the body you were born with in case of replacement. The basis for own identity should be souls and memories. If one's memory is altered with or replaced with someone's, their identity will change adjusting the first claim. Secondly, religiously, one's life may continue despite the fact that one's soul remains intact, hence their identity. Therefore, it is evident that personal continuity is not a sufficient condition on the basis of own identity.

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