Derek Parfit: The Concepts Of Personal Identity

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It is the year 3000 and teleportation machines are rampant everywhere. They are the main mode of transportation in everyday life. All you have to do is step into the machine and a bright laser zaps through your body, and a ‘you’ is recreated in another machine. This new ‘you’ contains the exact same pattern of atoms and neural connections as the ‘old’ you, and the ‘old’ you is destroyed by the laser. The question to ask here is, is the ‘old’ you the same person as the ‘new’ you? The new ‘you’ is meant to be you, with the same exact consciousness and memories, but is consciousness something that can be recreated just like the atoms of a body? If one were to clone someone’s body, and this body established its own consciousness containing all …show more content…
He illustrates the concepts of personal identity in Reasons and Persons by putting out this thought experiment. Bodily continuity has been the main criteria for personal identity for quite a while, and continues to do so. This conception is often compared to psychological continuity as being the better suited to what defines one person as being the same the next day. The thought experiment of the teleportation machine portrays how the concept of personal identity can change. If the bodies sent through the machine are considered to be the same people with the same exact consciousness, then psychological continuity would be deemed the better …show more content…
Can the soul be analysed by the laser, have its components recorded into a data system, then reconstructed in another place to be exactly the same soul? When using the soul to define consciousness in a way, it becomes difficult to answer the question of whether the reconstructed person is the same as the one who was destroyed only moments ago. When taking into consideration the biological fact that a human’s entire body is replaced through cell regeneration every six to seven years, one cannot say that physical or psychological continuity is broken. Although the body is changing, there is no break consciousness or a moment where one loses self-awareness. The person is still the same person because the physical changes allow for the consciousness and psychological continuity to withstand those changes without a

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