Essay about The Theory Of Personal Identity

2131 Words Nov 14th, 2016 9 Pages
Philosophers have continually debated over what defines an individual being, and what this means for the world in terms of ethics. I am going to discuss two basic categories of theories on personal identity – a reductionist view through the eyes of Derek Parfit, and a non-reductionist one, namely, the self-interest theory based on the assumption of a Cartesian Pure Ego. Theories of identity similar to the Cartesian pure ego have been an underlying assumption in many belief systems. Many religions base their beliefs on the assumption of a ‘soul’- an entity entirely separate from its simpler components, such as the body, mind, and experiences. This theory of personal identity has had massive implications in the world of ethics because so many of us hold a non-reductionist view (Parfit, 283). While this has been an assumption by many throughout history, reductionists such as Derek Parfit have developed a different theory on personal identity - that it simply doesn’t exist apart from its simpler components. This reductionist and impersonal view of personal identity has a much different set of implications for how one ought to act in terms of ethics. Those with a reductionist view about personal identity attempt to define it based on the simpler components of a person. Derek Parfit uses reductionism to determine a more likely definition of human identity based on facts, rather than simply speculation. The basis of his argument for the impersonal natural of human identity is…

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