Posted at 11.30.2018
In this section I explain my position in relation to personal identity as time passes. I describe the limitations of acceptable mental health change, and discuss which elements of the psyche are essential to our success. I also try to address whether psychological change has a physical cause or not.
The Psychological Criterion for Identity
Sydney Shoemaker suggested the idea of internal continuity as an improvement upon memory continuity. While sacrificing our memories would certainly be considered a huge loss, maybe it's possible for folks to keep the same mental health life despite this. But what do we mean when we speak of emotional life? This encompasses more than simply memories, including values, passions, and tendencies. Plainly, our mentality changes greatly during our lifetime. This theory, then, permits a similar move as Locke's recollection criterion. As long as I am psychologically connected to my earlier self, I am still the same person when i was.
Criticisms of this position
But what about almost complete personality changes? For instance, people who have lived lives of horrible sins may experience a spiritual transformation and change nearly every aspect of their lives totally willingly. Does this mean these are literally no more the same person they used to be?
Marya Schechtman boasts that if people change their beliefs, they need to have empathic access to their old values. This does not simply entail using a good memory of those beliefs, but having the ability to recall them with the same love as when these were fervently kept. Schechtman states that they need to look after their old beliefs favourably and still give them some weight in the decisions they make today. However, many people dismiss their old values, nor wish to give them any weight by any means, because they no more see these old values as relevant to their current decisions. Schechtman gives the example of a party girl who mellows after becoming a mother, to the point that she views her young days with embarrassment and even disdain. According to Schechtman, this female is not similar person as she was as an adolescent.
But it appears that maturity, and the changes in belief which come with it, are unavoidable. For instance, children generally have an extremely self-centred lifestyle and only respond in their own interests. Yet as they mature they gain a larger knowledge of manners and courtesy, and have the ability to put others before themselves when necessary. If we must give weight to our old views, as Schechtman promises, we should all give the selfish child within us an chance to disregard the emotions of others. It seems that giving all our earlier beliefs some consideration ends up with us offering weight to numerous contradictory views. More importantly, Schechtman's attempt to keep a web link open to our old selves results us behaving a way which is untrue to your new selves.
I, however, believe what is more important would be that the changes a person goes through as they grow older and presumably wiser, are voluntary changes. As long as the changes aren't somehow imposed after the individual, perhaps therefore of brainwashing or fitness, the changes a person goes through should not get them to an completely new person.
[I believe change in personal information as time passes is inevitable, unless one lives in a pack from labor and birth. The first few years of our own life are spent developing an personality. After that, almost all of our life is put in learning and striving new things which issue that personal information. Sometimes we combine our new knowledge (not just factual, but also societal and emotional. . . ) in to the identity we've at the time, and sometimes our old values are pushed apart and changed by this new information. ]
I believe that the Dispatch of Theseus can be an appropriate analogy for the development and changes which arise in one's identification. The usual kind of development which occurs inside our identities is a continuous one, where new knowledge is integrated alongside the knowledge we already had. If, however, we were to dismiss all of our past passions, dispositions, beliefs and opinions simultaneously, it is difficult to defend the position that we remain the same person once we were before. It seems the only path we could protect this position has been the criterion of physical continuity, which we have already seen is not that helpful.
From this we can conclude that what's necessary for us to preserve our identity as time passes is made for the changes to be continuous and voluntary.
Some may declare that any mental health changes we experience will need to have a physical cause. This has not yet been validated by technology, though. Many mental disorders which might affect our personality do have physical symptoms on the brain. But it is impossible to find out causality in such cases. For example, people with despair have lower levels of serotonin(?) than folks who are psychologically healthy. However we can not determine whether this is the cause of the unhappiness or the consequence of it. So we cannot tell whether it is brain continuity or psychological continuity which is the true concern here.
But whether or not or not emotional change has a physical cause, it appears the brain continues to be had a need to encapsulate our psychology. As we uncovered from the chapter on bodily continuity, our DNA is an important aspect to the continuity in our selves. Which means that our psychology in a robot wouldn't normally really be us.
http://onphilosophy. wordpress. com/2006/11/12/what-matters-for-psychological-continuity/
Defining emotional continuity in conditions of style of thought which, though possibly due to past experiences, do not hinge upon our remembrances of these. Amnesiacs often show the same styles of thought as that they had shown prior with their loss of storage area. Additionally it is possible that people regularly forget bits of information and later reform those stories just as as before.
But imagine if the personality change is not total? What if there remains one tenuous mental link to our past personal, while the rest is lost. How many internal links must there maintain order for our personal information to go on? During our lifetime the majority of our psychology changes, so majority isn't good enough. Refers again to Dispatch of Theseus- perhaps if the change is progressive enough it's ok. Problem will arise when the change is a majority one and rapid.
What if recollections were downloaded to a robot? This might be you corresponding to internal continuity. Again, shows that the physical body is required to encapsulate and validate the mental aspect (although this is dangerously Cartesian. But to be fair, the only person who objects to that is Ryle, who isn't all of that great).
Ultimate concern: what is mindset if not, essentially, the brain? Cannot defend a disagreement based on a mysterious immaterial head, but may need to resort to the until neuroscience is able to explain the positioning of each component of the personality.
Similarly, cause and effect cannot be proven. Is the change in personality due to an alteration in the brain, which appears to suggest it might be involuntary, or will our intentional change or development of personality cause our brain to work diversely?
Parfit details a scenario where a scientist attaches a number of switches to a man's brain. As each move is flicked, they cause the person to become marginally more psychologically like Napoleon. After half the switches have been flicked, the man's mindset is half his own and half Napoleon's. Once all the switches have been flicked, his psychology is completely similar to Napoleon's. Williams argues that, as each change caused by the turn is so little, changes in identity are at the mercy of the same problem as Sorites' problem and the heap paradox. It is because each change is so slight that we are inclined to say that singularly they do not change the man's identity. But if no swap changes his individuality, we must conclude that whenever all the switches have been flicked he's still the same man he was, despite having none of the same tendencies or memories. Parfit suggests that we are simply just mistaken in our opinion that the question 'Will I die when the next transition is flicked' will need to have a remedy. He argues that it's absurd to believe there's a well-defined borderline which is so incremental that we could never really know the location of it. Therefore, he concludes, it is a lot more sensible to look at a reductionist view of personal identity. That is?
However, I argue that the razor-sharp borderline which is available can be is aware quite easily. Even though many may claim that we lose our personal information around the 50% mark, where the most our mindset becomes more similar compared to that of somebody else's, I claim the distinction is a lot sooner. I believe our personal information is lost when the scientist flips the first transition. Although the consequences are nominal, our mindset has been artificially altered into something which is different then us. The fact that we allow this tampering simply because the effects are minimal is what lures us in to the heap of the paradox.