Theories Of Personal Identity

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One of the biggest fundamental questions in philosophy has to do with ourselves and what exactly makes us, us. What makes a person a person? What is personal identity? Personal identity is the question of “who am I?” Am I just a brain that controls the chemical and electrical impulses in my body? Or am I a mind that controls all of my thoughts and feelings? Or am I a combination of both? Philosophy strives to answer these questions, and study the theories of existence and reality. The question of personal identity and self are really at the root of philosophical theorization. Many philosophical arguments stem from this topic, and it is no surprise that ancient philosophers such as Descartes and Locke spent many days and nights pondering the …show more content…

More importantly, how can we know for sure that we exist? Rene Descartes was a mathematician and philosopher. He is sometimes hailed as the “father of modern philosophy” (Rene Descartes Biography). Descartes’ ideas were revolutionary in his time period. While the topics that he explored weren’t new, his way of approaching and dealing with the topics was something that had never been seen before. Before Rene Descartes’s philosophy, humans were believed to be spiritual beings, and the mind, body, and soul were all tied together. Descartes argued that while we, as humans, are fully capable of understanding our mental faculties, it is harder for us to fully understand our bodies. Descartes had a theory that he called Mind Body Dualism (sometimes referred to as ‘Cartesian Dualism’). Mind Body Dualism is the theory that the mind and body are “distinct kinds of substances or natures” (Mind-Body Dualism). This suggests that the mind and body are two entities that function separately from one another, and there is not a possibility of unity between the two …show more content…

The phrase roughly translates into “I think, therefore I am.” (Cogito, ergo sum. 2015). In other words, Descartes is saying that our minds and our thoughts are how we prove that we exist. Therefore, self can be defined with the mind. Descartes tied consciousness to thought. Descartes believed that a “thought is something ‘in us’ of which we are conscious.” (Jorgensen). Idea of sub-consciousness was not invented yet in Descartes

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