Paradoxes PHIL 20229
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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nico Torp on Sunday November 1, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 20229 at University of Notre Dame taught by Jeffrey Speaks in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see /class/232732/phil-20229-university-of-notre-dame in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Notre Dame.
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Date Created: 11/01/15
Split brains7 teletransportation7 and personal identity PHIL 20229 Jeff Speaks February 14 2008 What is a theory of personal identity l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l Par tls example of teletransportation l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l Cell replacement l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l Split brain patients l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l Reponses to the problems l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l 01me HgtHgtCA3IOH 1 What is a theory of personal identity Suppose that you have a person A who exists at some time and a person B who exists at some later time A theory of personal identity is a theory which tries to answer the question what does it take for A and B to be the same person Note that this is not a theory which described how we usually recognize and identify people For example I usually recognize you by some combination of your appearance and where in the room you sit But of course two of you could in an elaborate prank change seats and have extensive reconstructive surgery which made each of you look much like the other But this would not mean that either of you became the other person It is surprisingly dif cult to come up with a theory of personal identity which is not open to obvious objections For example you might be at rst inclined to suggest that A and B are the same person if and only if they have the same body But now consider body swapping7 examples of the sort you might see in movies Many people think that this sort of thing at least makes sense and so is in one sense possible but if it is doesnlt that mean that A and B might be the same person even if they do not share a body Furthermore what does it even mean to have the same body Youlre constantly gaining and losing cells so that your body now has hardly anything in common with your body 10 years ago But does this mean that you really are not the same person now as you were then Surely not A second initial thought is that A and B are the same person if they have the same per sonality or the same consciousness or the same memory But again there are problems here You dont have the same memories7 or exactly the same personality7 as you had a year ago but that doesnt mean that you are not the same person Suppose that you met someone Who7 by some strange chance7 had personalities and memories more similar to yours now than yours now are to the you of 5 years ago Would you think that that s ago should l pairs l if the earlier 10 B are 1 en to Mars before but only by the 39 have met the Te elranspghiziridiiiaii e tking several weeks This machine at It eed of light I merely have to press the green f the Will it work I remind myself what I cases others I am nervous Shall lose buttonheLii etold to expect When I press the buttingt later In fact tatlom have 6 k u at what seems a mo nd then wa e p on DBFBk conscmusness a unconscious for about an hour The Scanner here I Shall have been brain and body while recording the exact states 6d 1n 39 my Earth Wlll destroy 39 39 39 formation by radio I ll then transmit this in 39 easons us Iid oil light the message will take three minutes to Read of all of my ce 39 39 s cc I Travlililinglig lil tgr on Mars This Wlll then create out of new matter reac e a braln and body exact y lice 11116 It WI he III 115 that I shall Ems g e ti hesnate But se h embe 5 mg y WI e g n Wh d b 3k as oday 1 ten i 161 l 66 ii i I 811 I 16 i t 1 been often emerges he reminded me She has 1 d m nervousness39 As 5 he button lzlleiiaenspoilted and there is nothing wrong with he rlggigfsfezs but in a trans to regain co I lose and seem at once 39 n same A Pfedmedf ning my new body 1 nd no change at all Eve different cubicle Exa ml f m this mornings Shave is Sun there Who the cut on my upper 11 m Cl this WWW w l e sort Pa r verwpll Elmer quot3315 Per la39i snBut this time Whe 7 the baCk m me cu en button I do not lose consciousness There ish I gill63S the grid then silence I leave the cubicle and say 0 t e ab0V 3 gr t to the the Plktenag il nWr MmtithedMmrahs dntggezi spsyghologicall t b o e personw onatgt iemesmwg lg g i i a e in wit 0 t cause gg ggm y80 5ill i 8 ieofhel5iimr mmb b red Howev iiiio li gy an iii g quot hilt theseneasesegmet W131 ugg zblematic f theoer iws gijaqiiiegagmadds that if I stay for an hour Intercom to see and talk to myself on Mars t also be on Mars 39 t IrelyIfImhereIcan gangnrlgt liely copughs a whitecoated man who asks to speak to ome i logical umquot auburn mm Of 3 9f my be elatd Zlfnligl iflthre message will take three minutes to Travenmg at tgr on Mars This will then createiout of new matktierll 6h39chIEiegol d exactly like mine It will be in this body that I s a a ram wake up 39 39 t will ha pen I still hesitate But Though I begfrvcsdgi gtkrlrisy 1iwfsagrin WhCEI at breakfast today 1 the I reme39nhervousness As she reminded me she has been ot e reveal m d and there is nothing wrong with her Ipress the but 0 teletrards39ptorde I lose and seem at once to regain conscronsness lilut Eit1 hntbicle Examining my new body 1 nd no change at a 39 s 39 still there 1 th 1quot i the cut on my upper lip from this mormng s shave is H IS VBI39SIOH 39 letrans orted I am now caset the psyc Several years Pass mg mm 1 am o f eiTitedars 1351 this time when ical theory see I back in the cubicle ready for another trip nsciousness There is a n button I do not lose co A Llltjilrilfigthsiugdde then silence I leave the cubivc le and say to the attendant It s not working What did I do wrortig ard This reads The It s working he replies handing me a prmte c our brain and N S nner records your blueprint wrthout destroying39y him this be iie hope that you will welcome the opportunities w o y t chnical advance offers 1 to use the of the rst peop e dant tells me that I am one C the N31683 He adds that if I stay for an hour I can us Mars cc and talk to myself on Im erco m m te I reply If I m here I can t also be on Mars k t wan a mmu a 39 ated man who asks to spea o Parfitsso39ElEgEHBEIon jot the branch line case that the person enters the telet portation machix identical to both son who is still earth But that c be right since 1 person on Mars 1 the person on eart r it clearly different people Assuming the abo chological theory we can s A 1 If A and B are separated by a very small amount of time are very similar psychologically and are such that the psychological states of B causally depend on the psychological states of A then A B The person who enters the teletransporter the person who is on Mars after the New Scanner runs 1 The person who enters the teletransporter the person who leaves the teletransporter on Earth after the New Scanner runs If x y and y 2 then x z Transitivity of identity The person who is on Mars after the New Scanner runs the person who leaves the teletransporter on Earth after the New Scanner runs N Orb The problem is that the conclusion seems clearly false Does this show that premise l which states the personality7 theory is also false 3 Cell replacement This might incline you to adopt some version of the body7 theory of personal identity But this View too has problems Suppose that someone gets an organ transplant Clearly this will not result in the cessation of their existence even though part of their body was replaced But what if half the organs in their body are replaced Would they still continue to be the same person Can you see a way to recreate the problem we saw with the transitivity of identity for this View Should the proponent of the body7 theory link identity to the whole body the brain or what If the brain or part of it does this mean that brain replacement surgery is in principle impossible to survive and always results in the creation of a new person A different version of the problem the proponent of the body theory will surely admit that you could have 1 of the cells in your body replaced and must deny that you could have 99 of the cells in your body replacedi So somewhere there must be a dividing line such that changing that many or more of your cells would result in your ceasing to exist But is this really plausible Could it really be the case that if 467 of the cells in your body are replaced you remain the same person but that replacing 468 of your cells results in your death and the creation of a new conscious being 4 Split brain patients The examples of teletransportation and cell replacement pose problems for particular theories of personal identity Par t thinks that the examples of split brain patients 7 which are real not imagined 7 should cause us to question our views about the sorts of things that people are An explanation of the split brain data and the evidence that there is more than one stream of consciousness These cases give rise to the following paradox H i In split brain cases the patient will give reports of two different psychological episodes 7 say seeing blue and seeing red 7 which must have occurred at the same time i The split brain patient will say that they are aware of only one of these conscious episodesi There are two separate streams of consciousness belonging to the patient 12 l One person cannot have two separate streams of consciousness for each stream of consciousness there must be a separate person i The split brain patient while their corpus callosum is severed is more than one person 34 i If you repaired the patient s corpus callosum you would not be destroying a person in severing the patient s corpus callosum you would not be creating a person i The split brain patient before having their corpus callosum sev ered and after having it repaired if this were possible is more than one person 56 l You are are l are in every relevant respect just like the split brain patient before having their corpus callosum severed andor after having it repaired if this were possible i You and l are more than one person 78 to 9 g 01 on N 00 O Therels a sense in which this conclusion does not make sense You can understand the intended conclusion as the claim that our concept of a person is somehow inherently unstable and leads us to contradiction when we consider cases such as split brain patientsi 5 Reponses to the problems Par t thinks that the appropriate response to these problems is to adopt the bundle theory Which you can think 0 as a version of the fourdimensionalist theory that we discussed in connection With the problem of the statue and the clay ln explaining the Bundle Theory Par t compares persons to clubs and say that the identity of persons over time is analogous to the identity of clubs over time If this is true What s the analogue of the members and rules of the club in the case of persons Consider the version of the teletransportation case in Which you emerge on earth and see yourself7 also emerging from the machine on Mars Now suppose you nd out that the machine has caused irreversible problems With your nervous system Which Will cause you to die in 10 minutes Should the existence of your clone on Mars make you feel better about the situation What should the bundle theorist say ls there a big difference between the case in Which the person on earth vs the one in Which the person on Mars survives Suppose you are a dualist Which means that you think that persons are immaterial things distinct from their bodies How should you respond to the above problems What if you think that persons are material beings but you do not want to be a bundle theorist What should you say about for example the cell replacement example
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