Sunday, February 26, 2012

Topics for Exam 3 (Chapter 4)

Numerical identity: Two objects are identical if they are one and the same.  
Qualitative Identity: Two objects are qualitatively identical if they share the same properties (qualities).
Accidental property:  a property a thing can lose without ceasing to exist (losing one's hair).
Essential property: A property a thing cannot lose without ceasing to exist (losing one's mind).

Is numerical identity a necessary condition for qualitative identity? Read p. 246.
The answer is  NO.

personp= a being with 1. reason, 2. sentience, 3. autonomy, 4. free will?
if so, then a human being (hb)  is neither a necessary, nor a sufficient condition for a person. a hb with severe hydrocephanlia may not be a person, a brain-dead hb is not a person. on the other hand, there are non-human persons, ex. dolphins, or aliens (aliens are causally possible persons). 
transgender logic:

gender (self, socially-constructed)  ≠ sex (biological)

so, a bioman can be a female (or genderqueer) and a biowoman can be a male (or genderqueer

Animalism: Identical persons are those with identical human bodies (i,e., "I'm my body").
Problems: two-in-one, (Hensel sisters), the "transgender issue".
C/E: Locke's tale of the prince and the cobbler (as the cobbler and the prince trade souls, their bodies become redundant).

Soul Theory: Identical persons are those who share the same soul. ("I'm my soul"). C/E: The main argument against the soul theory is that there is nothing about the soul theory that one cannot already explain much better by referring to people's behaviors (or character).
2. Locke's Memory Theory of Personal Identity: (I am my memories and my memories are the result of my experiences). Problem: What if one forgets? Is that forgotten part still a part of my identity? Reid’s Tale of the Brave Officer reveals the following: Direct memory: A memory that a person can consciously recall. Indirect memory: A memory that an earlier stage of that person can consciously recall. 

Real memory: A memory of an event that was experienced by the person remembering it and that was caused by the event it records. Apparent memory: A memory of an event that either didn't happen or was not caused by the event it records.

C/E The main objection against Locke's memory theory is that Locke's Memory Theory is circular. Why? It defines memories in terms of the self and the self in terms of its memories.

3. Psychological Continuity Theory: Identical persons are those who are psychologically continuous to one another. That is to say, two people are psychologically continuous if they form part of an overlapping series of persons that quasi-remember and quasi desire the same things. 

See it as a sausage-like figure representing one's overlapping series of persons:


                                                       past             now          future

A note about the relationship between q-memories and personal identity:

What  is the difference between quasi-memory and real memory? Take a look at p. 297 (4th Ed) and p. 275 (5th Ed) : A q-memory is an apparent memory caused in the right way by an actual experience. 
Remember, an apparent memory is the memory of an event that either didn't happen, or was not caused by the event it records.

Parfit defines q-memory as follows: I have an accurate quasi-memory of a past experience if
(1) I seem to remember having an experience,
(2)someone did have this experience, and
(3) my apparent memory is causally dependent, in the right kind of way, on that past experience.

Can I have a memory of someone else's experience? The answer seems to be yes. 

So, all real memories are q-memories but not all q-memories are real memories, because people can have q-memories of experiences they didn't actually have. Why is it so important that q-memories are caused in the right way?  Because q-memories ground personal identity, though not every way of causing memories is identity preserving. Take hypnosis: the hypnotists may give you a memory that happened to someone else. That doesn't make you identical to that person.  

The same applies to desires, so, in the same way we have apparent desires, q-desires and actual desires:

Problems with duplication:C/E:William’s Reincarnation of Guy Fawkes; Williams' Reduplication Argument. The conclusion from this experiment is that psychological continuity is one-to-many, not one-to-one. That is to say, one can be psychologically continuous to many people at once.
C/E Parfit Teletransporter Mind Experiment. Recall that in the second teleporter Po (on earth) and Pc (in Mars) are psychologically continuous, physically identical, but they cannot be the same person (it violates the principle of numeric identity: one person cannot be in two places at the same time). It also suggests that (as when Po dies of cardiac arrest, the Pc survives, which seems to suggest that identity is not necessary for survival.

4. Brain Theory: Identical persons are those who are psychologically continuous with one another and whose psychology is caused by and realized in the same brain.
C/E: Parfit’s Division. Triplets, A,B,C.   A's brain is transplanted into B & C and A dies. The surviving brothers (A and B) are now physically identical and psychologically continuous with one another. So, if your brain can be divided, the brain theory is flawed.

5. Two different narratives of the self:
1- diachronic: The diachronic presents the different stages of the life as part of a continuous series.
2- episodic. The episodic sees the different stages as discontinuous series.

This doesn't mean that the episodic narrative cannot make sense of one's whole life. 

Take a look at the example of Robert and Frank (p. 265, 4th Ed., p. 246 5th Ed.). If Frank and Robert are different persons it would be wrong to punish a person for what another person did. Some in the class affirmed they are the same, but that's what we needed to prove. In any case, the Frank-Robert case points to the self as a process.

Lucifer and Satan case. Are Lucifer and Satan they the same? Qualitatively speaking no (one is good, the other evil), however, they are numerically identical. Plus, Satan has quasi-memories and quasi desires of Lucifer. So, it's possible that another person (let's call it "X") in the future of Satan could repent of Satan's sins. "X" could do it since "X" would be psychologically connected to both Satan and Lucifer.

The same way that a the mind is a property that emerges from a physical thing when it reaches a certain degree of complexity, similarly, the self can be seen as emerging from the mind when it reaches a certain degree of complexity. Not everything that has a mind has a self because not everything that is conscious is self-conscious. And not everything that is self-conscious is self-conscious to the same degree. So, Having a self is not an all-or-nothing affair.  

The self seems to be self-organizing. What does that mean? A self-generating process.

6. Self as PROCESS.

What does it mean to say that the self is "a process." Let's recall Sartre's motto: l'pour soi n'est pas ce qu'il est, il est ce qu'il n'est pas ("identity is not what it is and it is what it is not"). The self is in constant  de-venir (or be-coming). We are never fully "realized" as self. You constantly find out more of yourself as you live. That "void" is constantly filled, according to Sartre by your freedom.

To exist is to be free,  in constant negation of your past and future self. 

7. Relationship between identity and responsibility.

Is personal identity a necessary condition for responsibility? No. Why? 

We have to talk about character, which is a function of our beliefs, desires, values, etc. 
Can a person change his/ her character? Remember the differences between Frank and Robert. Though Frank and Robert are numerically identical, they don't have the same character (they are qualitatively different). Yes, they are numerically identical, but their degrees of responsibility have to be taken into consideration. This is the idea behind rehabilitation. Parole boards take into account that if the character of a person changes for the better, the individual's so-called righting the wrong. 

What matters for responsibility is character. Character being a function of our beliefs, desires, values, etc and our actions being a function of our character. So numeric identity seems to be neither a necessary condition nor sufficient condition for responsibility. What matters is sameness of character.  

What is character?

1- since it's observed behavior, character is public.
2- character can change, but it's more a persistent trait.
3- character is a negotiation between witnesses. 
4- character can change (slowly).

8- Though having a unified self may be a necessary condition for being a moral agent, it may not be a necessary condition for being a person. Why? Take for instance, multiple personality disorder individuals. they are persons. however their selves are far from being unified.

So, though all moral agents may be persons, not all persons may be moral agents (and here I'm thinking not only of certain human persons, but also non-human persons, i.e., dolphins and apes).     

Check these lectures' notes: