The Bodily Continuity Criterion Viewpoint Essay

In this section I will demonstrate that the physical criterion only is not sufficient for continuation of id, by describing the limitations of appropriate physical change. However, I'll also show that some type of physical continuation is essential, like a person's hereditary make-up.

Some materialist philosophers (such as Eric Olsen) have stated that the physical person is the seat of the personality. This view cases that so long as one will keep the same body throughout their life, they are simply guaranteed to maintain their unique id.

This procedure makes determining selves clear and simple, even as can identify the precise spatio-temporal location of every personal, as well as the begins and ends of selves. So, for example, if someone commits a crime, we can simply establish if they are guilty or not by data such a fingerprints and see testimony. So long as their body dedicated the crime, we are able to punish them for it.

Criticisms, specifically in light of change over time

There is a lot of opposition to the view that our id should be limited to just the physical body. This position is unlike most religions, which view our immaterial souls as intrinsic to our identities. The spiritual conception of your soul is commonly like that of consciousness, plus some religions, such as Judeo-Christian religions, declare that this part of us continues to go on following the physical body has perished. (As Parfitt highlights, ) The bodily criterion would only allow for a second life in the form of a physical resurrection or reincarnation. We certainly should not dismiss the position simply because it is incompatible with popular religions, though.

There are definitely more damning criticisms of the physical criterion for identity, however. Our bodies are constantly changing- growing, losing or regenerating cells, etc. So how much of our body must stay the same in order for us to be classed as the same person we were several years ago? For example, a popular analogy was presented with which represents the philosopher John Locke's favorite couple of socks, which develop holes in from being worn so often. As the slots develop, Locke vehicle repairs them with areas. But after a while of mending his socks, none of the initial material remains, and they're simply a patchwork of new bits of material (Where is this from?). The initial debate, which Locke's example was a variance, is that of the Dispatch of Theseus, which includes its pieces replaced one at a time, as necessary (Plutarch, p?). Many people believe that, sooner or later, the Dispatch of Theseus loses too many of its original portions and ceases to be the same ship that Theseus experienced returned from Crete in. Likewise, many assume that Locke's favourite pair of socks vanish when nothing of the initial yarns can be found. But, if we are to equate identity with the body's cells, this position remarks we must develop a new individuality as our physical cells change during our life time. That is a bizarre position to hold, as there would be no detectable change inside our appearance or attitude

Possible solutions to criticisms, and the success of the solutions

But not everyone agrees that this is the situation. Many people think that the gradual change involved in the previous examples ensures that they keep their former identity. In the case of Locke's socks, the consensus is commonly that the resulting couple of socks are indeed exactly like his favourite couple of socks, as this is the way we speak of things which have been repaired. In the same way, the progressive change of the Ship of Theseus ensures it keeps its personal information. As this pertains to the body, it suggests that, despite your skin cells being regenerated every ten years, this does not inhibit us from staying the same person. This means the continuous change of our own body's cells falls within the satisfactory restrictions of change, evidently saving the physical criterion for individuality.

Thomas Hobbes offered another variance upon this theme, whereby the ship's planks ere substituted with aluminium (Hobbes, p. 135?). The pieces taken off the ship were then reassembled to form a 'replica' ship. However in this example, were more inclined to convey that the 'look-alike' ship which has been assembled from the original bits is the same ship of Theseus, as the aluminium replacement unit is a reproduction.

This is perhaps because a vital part of the theory of bodily continuity is that it requires we maintain basically the same genetic framework. This makes the concept of bodily continuity highly supported by the sciences, which tend to view us as biological creatures governed by the physical reactions which appear within our brains. Due to this is the fact, while our bodies could be properly but completely replicated in a metallic form, these robots would lack our genetic code and would thus be considered a replica, somewhat than ourselves.

Genetic determinism will take this position further, and cases that who we are is entirely centered upon our genetics. Hereditary determinists suggest that a clone and his original would have the very same identities. The result of genetics upon one's id has been looked into by studies of monozygotic (indistinguishable) twins, who are genetically similar. While studies of monozygotic and dizygotic twins have previously recommended that up to 50% in our personality is genetic (ref?), most twins have a tendency to be elevated in similar conditions, which makes it difficult to split up the affects of character and nurture. But studies of monozygotic twins who've been raised separately signify that only 20 to 25% of our own personality is genetic in dynamics (Ewen, p. 73).

So we've established that the progressive regeneration of our cells during our lives falls within the realms of satisfactory change, whereas being substituted with a non-human body (for example, a metal one) does not.

So where exactly are the restrictions for changes we consider to be acceptable? Just how much of the body could we lose without dropping our individuality? Bernard Williams explains the physical spectrum, where a person's body is replaced very gradually. He claims that this example is subject to the heap paradox. In the same way taking away a grain from a heap does not stop it from being a heap, it seems that each change is too small to change our individuality. Yet by the end of it the person's body has been changed with that of Napoleon's.

In this example, Williams describes the physical changes which eventually the subject of this experiment, but not the psychological effects. While his body has been changed with that of Napoleon's, he might well still maintain all the same character attributes and memories we associate with his original self applied.

While this is a very radical example, it can have functional implications. If a degree of our body must stay the same for us to stay the same person, this raises questions about amputees and people who undergo comprehensive plastic surgery. For instance, what if a man had his arms amputated, and then his legs? Would he still be the same man he was prior to these procedures? While he might now lack many of the skills he had before, it seems unfair to claim he is not the same man. Imagine if he was somehow reduced to simply his mind, though? Some declare that it isn't the complete body which is necessary for continuity of the self applied, but an extremely small part of computer: the brain.

This objection was raised by Sydney Shoemaker, who explains a thought experiment regarding Brown and Robinson. Brown undergoes a brain transplant, and his brain is positioned in the torso of Robinson. When Robinson's body awakes, it remembers everything of Brown's life, behaves like Dark brown, gets the same beliefs as Dark brown, and even adopts all the mannerisms his family have come to relate with him. It appears that Dark brown and Robinson's family alike must concur that Robinson's body is now home to Brown's individuality.

While this is an extremely extreme case, it does demonstrate that the body together is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition for the continuity.

Eric Olson, however, defends the physical criterion from this criticism, viewing the individual simply as a biological organism. He says that humans can resist complete mental change and continue to be the same as long as they are alive for.

I disagree with this position, however. It seems if you ask me that if you remove someone's personality, mannerisms, remembrances, dispositions, etc, you have removed that person's very identification. It seems to me that in taking into consideration the person as a individuals pet, Olson oversimplifies the problem of identification. It is easy to state that the individual still exists not surprisingly overhaul of the mental life, but it's very difficult to substantiate the declare that their personal personality is not at all afflicted by this.

R. B. Ewen, Personality, a topical strategy: theories, research, major controversies and emerging results, Lawrence Earlbaum Associates Inc Publishers, New Jersey, 1998.

T. Hobbes and W. Moleworth, Components of Philosophy, vol. 4 with the British Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, London, J. Bohn.

J. Locke?

H. Noonan, Personal Personal information,

E. Olsen, "The Individual Animal: Personal Individuality Without Mindset", Oxford School Press, Oxford, 1997.

D. Parfit, Reasons and People,

Plutarch, Lives, J. Langhorne and W. Langhorne (eds), Harpers and Brothers Web publishers, New York, 1859.

B. Williams

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