The problem of personal identity lives with us everyday but we seldom gave it much importance. It deals with philosophical questions regarding our existence and our ‘self’ such as “Who am I?” or “Where do I come from?” Normally, one would rarely pause during the day to contemplate on the meaning of these questions and try to answer them. Unlike us, philosophers consider that such questions are crucial to our existence and strive to answer them in order to give a true meaning to our lives. Some philosophers like John Locke, René Descartes and David Hume developed theories regarding personal identity to answer the questions asked above, and one answer stated by a British philosopher named Richard Swinburne included: “We are partless immaterial substances—souls—or compound things made up of an immaterial soul and a material body.”(Swinburne, R., 1984, ‘Personal Identity: The Dualist Theory’: 21) Rene Descartes, as well, answers in a very similar manner by establishing his dualistic theory, also known as the mind/body dualism, which states that a human being is composed of two entities, namely a body and a mind. He further developed his theory to demonstrate that one’s personal identity is only found in the immaterial part of the human being – the mind, which can also be referred to as the soul. Descartes made a huge contribution to answer the questions asked above and was able to bring meaning into some people’s lives by telling them where to look for their true selves.
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Every type of person struggles with a thing we call, identity. Personal identity come from multiple factors from our race to our own personal beliefs. Some people say we have the choice to choose our own identity, but is that always true? No, in fact other people can affect how we look and essentially identity our self’s. In the article called.
Later, the cultural critic Stuart Hall has opined about the changing nature of identity. He says that there is no fixed identity that can be attributed to an individual for his life period; it evolves through several changes in each phase of life. So it can be understood that formation of identity involves several steps: construction, reconstruction and deconstruction. The politics behind this formation may depend on the nature of identity that an individual tries to hold. Indeed, the cultural critic Kobena Mercer reminds us: “One thing at least is clear - identity only becomes an issue when it is in crisis, when something
In “A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality”, Gretchen Weirob and Sam Miller conduct a philosophical debate about the possibility of a continued existence after death. Weirob argues that she herself cannot exist after death because her identity is composed of her body, rationality, and consciousness. In Derek Parfit’s “Personal Identity” he ponders how the concept of identity works, and how the true nature of our identity affects some of the most important questions we have about our existence. I believe that Velleman did a better job of exploring the idea of identity than Weirob did.
How others see you is influenced by material, social, and physical constraints. This causes a tension between how much control you have in constructing your own identity and how much control or constraint is exercised over you. How we see ourselves and how others see us differ in many ways, but is an important factor of our identity. “A Lesson Before Dying”,
Elie Wiesel was a young boy when he did survived the holocaust.. In his memoir Night, we follow his journey as a Jewish boy in a time where expressing your religion could mean life or death. Between living under the watch of Nazi regimes, trying to keep his father alive, and surviving the inhumanity of others, Elie’s had fought and lived through the genocide unlike any other. However, surviving the holocaust does not come without a price. Wiesel lived at the sacrifice of his faith and identity, which were left in fragments after the existence of evil that left a permanent scar on his life. At the start of life, a person will be given an identity that they will be able to shape and mold through experiences and beliefs.
The environment in which an individual grows up in can affect life greatly. Our surroundings influence one’s personality, self-expression, and individuality, otherwise known as identity. Finding one’s true self is the most grueling stage of life and expectations of family and society make the process even harder. One’s true identity can sometimes clash with hopes of others, thus breaking tradition and/or family ties. Pressure to change will always be present, but staying true to uniqueness will prevail.
In academic article “Who Am I” by Beverly Daniel Tatum; she talks about the complexity of identity, which defined as a person. She describes the multiple identities of different kinds of people and their significance in the community. She illustrate the how person past, historical event, family background, experiences, and thought of person has impact on the personal identification. The concept of past, present, and future, those characterize the person identity. She explains how gander of person is the part of identity, which build identity.
As a person goes through life he or she may wonder “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” The objective of this paper is to allow me to reflect and critically analyze who I am as a person. In this paper, I will discuss my social location and identity, my life experiences and my privileges and disadvantages.
In his philosophical thesis, of the ‘Mind-Body dualism’ Rene Descartes argues that the mind and the body are really distinct, one of the most deepest and long lasting legacies. Perhaps the strongest argument that Descartes gives for his claim is that the non extended thinking thing like the Mind cannot exist without the extended non thinking thing like the Body. Since they both are substances, and are completely different from each other. This paper will present his thesis in detail and also how his claim is critiqued by two of his successors concluding with a personal stand.
The argument of whether or not a human has a soul has been argued throughout centuries. Derek Parfit discusses two separate theories of personal identity, Ego Theory and Bundle Theory. The argument of which present a more accurate account of personhood is very hard to determine. The Ego Theory has some flaws such the soul is separate from the body and is a immaterialist object within us. Bundle Theory is reinforced and proven by the split-brain case, however it can lead to the argument that there is no self.
Derek Parfit is a British philosopher who specialises in problems of personal identity and he proposes that we separate the notions of identity and survival. He is one of the most prominent philosophers in the struggle to define the self. Parfit’s 1971 essay “Personal Identity” targets two common beliefs which are central to the earliest conversations about personal identity. The first belief is about the nature of personal identity; all questions regarding this must have an answer. Between now and any future time, it is either the case that “I shall exist or I shall not”.
For many years, the issue of self-identity has been a problem that philosophers and scholars have been to explain using different theories. The question on self –identity tries to explain the concept of how a person today is different from the one in the years to come. In philosophy, the theory of personal identity tries to solve the questions who we are, our existence, and life after death. To understand the concept of self-identity, it is important to analyze a person over a period under given conditions. Despite the numerous theories on personal identity, the paper narrows down the study to the personal theories of John Locke and Rene Descartes, and their points of view on personal identity.
Paul- Michel Foucault was a French philosopher also known as a historian of systems of thoughts whose influence extended across a broad array of disciplines especially in the humanities and social sciences and a social critic. He created his own title when he was promoted to professorship at one of the most prestigious colleges in France “College de France” in 1970. He is perhaps best known for his ruminations on power, self identity, epistemology, and the evolution of systems of thought and meaning. He is often described as post-structuralist or post modernist, however Foucault himself rejected such titles, preferring to analyse their significance rather than identifying with them.
Self-identity is defined as the recognition of one's potential and qualities as an individual, especially in relation to social context. In other words, self-understanding. Finding self-identity is more more difficult for some people than others. In the autobiography Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self by Rebecca Walker, the author reflects on her identity as a mixed raced individual which is illustrated through Walker’s reflections. People define themselves in many different ways.