In this essay I will discuss the problem of personal identity. I will do so by answering the question, if I was in a serious accident that put me into a vegetative state; would I want my family to pull the plug (Rauhut, 2011, p.125)? To begin, I will clarify a few key terms; afterward I will provide my response to the question above and defend my answer using theories of personal identity. Finally, I will conclude this essay by offering my new understanding that I gained about personal identity. II. Conceptual Clarification
Two items are numerically identical, "only if both are one and the same thing (Rauhut, 2011, p.108).” In other words, the two items are actually one single item. For instance, the person who wrote The Republic is numerically identical to the person who wrote The Apology, this person being Plato.
In this essay the phrase “vegetative state” refers to the term persistent vegetative state, which is defined as, “a state of wakefulness accompanied by an apparent complete lack of cognitive function (persistent vegetative state, 2009).” What this means is that a person is still technically alive but the brain is no longer processing any information. A person who is on life support while their brain is for all intents and purposes dead is said to be in a vegetative state. III. Analysis / Argument
In this section I will answer the question, if I was in a serious accident that put me into a vegetative state; would I want my family to pull the plug (Rauhut, 2011, p. 125)? I will then investigate different theories of personal identity, and ultimately use memory and souls theories to support my position.
If I were in a vegetative state I would want my family to end my life support because at that point my body would be nothing but an empty husk, with none of my identity to fill it with the awareness which gives my life meaning. Of course, the body is numerically identical to me, yet my body is not my identity. It is simply a tool...