Establishing Personal Identity Essay
The soul criterion suggests the soul should be the main element which defines personal identity. In the case of the high school reunion, the soul criterion suggests peers use James’ soul to delineate numerical identity and survival through the ten years since high school. The dilemma which the soul criterion then places on the peers is the ability to identify the soul, which is an immaterial entity. Similar to the mind/body problem of dualism, the soul is said to exist in an immaterial world, yet mankind exists in a material world. As a result, an objection arises exposing the difficulty which resides in the interaction of the immaterial soul and the material man. The peers of the high school reunion are unable to interact and perceive James’ immaterial soul and therefore are left without the ability to determine identity. Although the body, memories, and mind of a person may resemble the person of ten years ago, the soul may have been recycled or changed without anyone being able to detect this. Consequently, the soul criterion is labeled insufficient and irrelevant to personal identity.
The memory/psychological criterion suggests memories to be the main elements which define personal identity. A person who remembers some of their experiences from the past, without only seeming to