John Perry 's A Dialogue On Personal Identity And Immortality

1193 Words Mar 4th, 2015 null Page
In John Perry’s A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, Perry discusses both the possibility of immortality (the ability to survive after death) and the question of personal identity. In the process, he proposes three theories as to what could account for personal identity: soul theory, memory theory, and body theory. First, however, it is necessary to discuss what the question of personal identity is. Personal identity refers to a human being’s numerical identity over time. Thus, the question of personal identity essentially asks what must be preserved in order for a person to be considered the same, or continuous, over time. Thus, theories of personal identity attempt to answer the question of personal identity by giving examples of what could potentially persist in a human being to make them the same over time. In Perry’s soul theory, there exists an immaterial, unperceivable object called a soul within human beings. He further states that the soul accounts for personal identity and that it is the sameness of the soul that preserves personal identity. That is, as long as a person has the same soul, then that person will be considered the same over time. In Perry’s memory theory, a person is a unified stream of consciousness, which is comprised of successive person stages. A person stage is essentially a person at a certain instant and what links a later person stage to an earlier person stage is memory. That is, as long as a later person stage is able to…

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