Memory And Personal Identity

1890 Words 8 Pages
Many parents will at one point, comment on the personality of their child. This happens even more frequently as the family has more children. This is because you can start to see clearer divides between each child that paints a clearer picture of their own distinct personality. These initial characteristics never seem to go away. For instance, someone who is outspoken and loud as a child will most likely grow up to be the same way. Many find that as they grow up, they are unsure of their identities and feel very lost, but eventually they will come to understand who they once again when they become adults.
As we mature and develop, each individual person starts to get an idea of who they are and their own intrinsic characteristics that define
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Humans have many psychological parts which make up our identity. Memory is one of the key componenets but there are others such as our values, beliefs, and goals that also play a vital role. These all contribute to personal identity but memory itself is the best tool to deeper analyze personal identity because memory is supposed to provide a definition for it.
Many believe memory defines identity. Although this is a common belief, it comes with many problems. One of the most concerning issues is the problem of circularity. It is important to first note that, in the words of Schechtman, “The circularity objection itself relies on a claim that memory, by definition, presupposes personal identity,” (Schechtman, Pg. 42). This means that the initial assumption with this concept is that memory and personal identity have an interconnected relationship that cannot be undone. If we look at an individual’s memories, we can see how they indicate personal identity. With memories comes emotions, reactions, and unfiltered thoughts in any given situation that shows the person’s identity. This may give us glimpse at their personality but their memories are also determined by their identities. This is the problem of
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If someone has the memories of another, then their memories no longer prove the subject’s identity. This allows us to differentiate an individual’s identity by contrasting their genuine memories with their Q-memories. Schechtman finds issue with this. Parfit does not address how it is possible to differentiate between different memories. How do you know where each memory originated from? If you are not able to differentiate, then it is very likely that you will feel as though you are having a psychotic break from the sheer confusion of it all. Schechtman goes on to develop this idea. To start off, she defines the three types of memories; delusional, non delusional, and Q- memories. The delusional memories are those that you having that are not your own experiences and are essentially nonsensical. They are your own delusions, but still, a type of memory. Non-delusional memories are based on your own experiences. The third type of memories, Q-memories, are essentially a combination of the two. Schechtman describes them as, “To have a quasi memory is to have an apparent memory (properly caused) and to hold no view about whose memory it is. Insofar, then, as this last case describes a nondelusionsal apparent memory, quasi memory seems to give us a way of specifically non-delusionality without reference to the same-ness of person,” (Schechtman, Pg. 43). What this means is that although like delusions, Q-memories

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