Friday, February 4, 2011

Personal identity

There are still some neo Lockean personal identity theorists around like Michael Tooley. I don't support such a view. I mentioned in a previous post that I supported a brain identity criterion (that the self is a phase sortal of the brain). One way that occurred to me in how to "settle" this is using XPHI. As I pointed out in another previous post, XPHI isn't that impressive to me but it might go some ways to convince those on this issue who see more value in it than myself. The following dilemma might be posed to a sample of people:

You have a brain disease that will destroy your brain in a few weeks. You have the option of either taking a drug that will cure you of the disease but will result in the deletion of all your current memories,personality and other unique character traits but will allow you to start anew by learning and forming new memories. Alternatively, you can have your brain state recorded by a brain scanner and "implanted" into a new brain inside another body without any of its own memories. The new brain will be activated as soon as your old brain is destroyed by the disease. This person which has the new brain will begin to act and behave and think just like you now but she will have a different brain.

Those who choose to have their brains scanned and the information "programed" into the new brain might have their intuitions in line with neo Lockean accounts while the ones that would choose to take the drug (and hence lose all their memories, etc but keep their physical brains) are closer to the brain theorists.

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