Divided Minds And The Nature Of Person Analysis

Superior Essays
Investigating the Bundle View of the Self
What are we? What kind of thing are human persons? An intuitive answer would be: we are whatever the subjects of our mental states are. To put it in an informal way, we are whatever that are thinking our thoughts. After all, René Descartes draws the famous conclusion that the only thing we can know for certain is that “I think, therefore I am.” Philosophers who agree with Descartes on that point have proposed various theories of personal ontology that aim to answer the question. Generally speaking, those theories identify persons with either material objects (such as brains and bodies), or immaterial objects (such as souls), or some combinations of both. Another radically different approach to the question
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If we assume that at any point during the cell replacement operation the resulting person has to be either the original person or a replica, then whatever theory we accept should be able to give us a sure answer. Quite straightforwardly according to Animalism, after one percent of the person’s cells are replaced, the resulting person is still the original one, and after 100 percent of the person’s cells are replaced, the resulting person is undoubtedly a replica. But what about after 50 percent cells are replaced? The resulting human animal consists of half of the original animal’s cells and an equal amount of new cells, but we cannot give a sure answer whether the person stays the same. Even if there is a critical number such that replacing such-and-such a percentage of cells marks the original person’s transition into a replica, Parfit argues that this still seems implausible in that a few more cells could make such a big difference. In addition, Parfit points out that we could never find out what the critical number is because the person under operation would always think that he or she is the same person as the one before a few cells are replaced. Therefore, either our initial assumption or Animalism must be

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