My Theory of Personal Identity

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Are you the same person overtime? Am I the same person overtime? Is infant Sabrena Ford the same as sixteen year old Sabrena Ford who, later, is still the same as 32 year old, married, Sabrena Edwards? What makes Sabrena the same Sabrena overtime? What has remained constant within Sabrena that defines her as a person is her soul. The Soul Theory can be defined under the Ego Theory which states: A persons continued existence cannot be explained except as the continued existence of a particular ego, or subject of experiences (Divided Minds And the Nature of Persons, Derek Parfit page 20). I am in favor of the Soul Theory because through our soul is our connection to God. And without God our body, mind and or soul would not be here. I believe the Soul Theory is the catalyst for other theories like: The Bundle Theory, the Body Theory which doesn’t even account for the physical likeness of twins, and the Memory Theory, in which we all have forgotten something, right? In order to state my case I need to examine, define and debunk other theories.

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I believe the Soul Theory to be a catalyst to all other theories based Plato account that our souls are waiting for us before the body. Plato goes on to say that our our souls jump from body to body. I don’t agree with this account of how are souls are waiting on us, however I do believe that God is the creator of our souls and within our souls is the true meaning of an individual self. When we die our souls are given back to God to spend eternal life with him. “All men’s souls are immortal but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine” (Socrates). Same Soul Theory states that: A person at one time is the very same person as a person at a later time if and only if they have the very same immaterial soul. (https://www.phil.vt.edu/JKlagge/Perry2Spring.pdf). This is true because we are all derived from a perfect being, God, and our soul is the connection to God given by God. You are the same person as you were yesterday as you will be tomorrow because you have the same soul. The soul does not change. In my opinion, the soul is a thinking entity and is only derived of good thoughts and the divine willingness to live in eternal life. The soul is that halo wearing angel that sits on your shoulder telling you right from wrong and what is true to your actual feelings. Most of our thoughts and feelings are not ours, but our soul remains constant to us without outside influence from the world. One might argue that this is our conscience speaking to us, NO, whats speaking to you is your soul. Your conscience is your free will thinking. Your soul is what drives your conscience. Have you ever wondered where you got that extra push to finish a race, or to finish a paper when your mind is telling you to give up, when your body is too tired to go on; that is your divine soul, your inner authority over all other parts of your body telling you to move forward.

The Soul Theory is the catalyst for the Bundle Theory. The Problem of Personal Identity states that The Bundle Theory is the body together with the collection of mental items and denies the existence of the soul (page 54). The book also uses the analogy of a car consisting of multi parts and how the car itself can’t be separate from these parts; the car is a bundle of these parts thus explaining the Bundle Theory of “self”. But what the book fails to recognize in this analogy is how would the car be given life? What is the catalyst that is going to actually make that car driveable? I mean just sitting there, yes, these parts bundled together is obviously a car but again what is the catalyst that is going to make that car actually drivable. The car needs gasoline to drive. Gasoline being the soul! The gas in this analogy is similar to the soul because the gasoline is separate from the car just as the soul is separate from the body. In order to add miles or life to that car you need gas. In order to define “self” to a person we need a soul. It’s the soul of a person that drives an individual; that bundles all of the working parts of our mind and body together. Without the soul we would be a spiritless, lifeless bodies without sense of direction from our Father God.

The Same Body Theory states that: X, who exists at an earlier time, and Y, who exists at a later time, are the same person if and only if they have the same body (Problems from Philosophy page 58). Before French Anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon devised a formula which measured and recorded the dimensions of certain bony parts of the body which would apply to one person and would not change during his or her adult life, John Locke had already argued that “sameness of body” cannot be the measure of whether two individuals are the same person (Problems with Philosophy page 59). Alphonse Bertillon’s system was debunked in 1903 when Will West was arrested for a crime in which another man William West had the same bertillon measurements. Will West and William West were determined to be twins. A mistaken body identity. If the body defines each individual self as a person then how do we distinguish twins apart through body alone?

The Memory Theory says that: “X, who lived at an earlier time, is the same person as Y, who lives at a later time, if and only if Y can remember doing what X did, feeling what X felt, thinking what X thought and so on”(Problems with Philosophy page 61). John Locke argued in favor of the Memory Theory. But how can the Memory Theory be a true account for self if we forget somethings? The soul is its own thinking entity separate from the mind. If I loss my memory today it would take a deep connection within me, my soul, to help restore memory loss. The Memory Theory doesn’t account for inaccurate memories. If I give an inaccurate account of what I remember a person is to look like that does not mean I am a different person; It is simply because my memory did not serve me well at that moment. And If my memory came back and a later time does this mean I am myself again? But in between I’m sure I have forgotten something else, so when are we ourselves ever again with this theory.

To conclude the Soul Theory gives a more accurate account of personhood because the soul is derived from a perfect being; God. The Soul Theory debunks the bundle theory and the body theory because we are all created in God’s likeness and our soul is waiting for us with God before we are born. The soul remains constant throughout our lives and doesn’t change like our body and minds do. If something changes then that something can’t remain the same overtime, but the soul of a person is never changing; the unchanging soul is our key to heaven.

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