John Perry on Personal Identity: A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality

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Personal Identity

Personal Identity can be broken down into three areas: 1.) Body 2.) Memory and 3.) Soul. In John Perry's "A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality" these composing aspects of personal identity are discussed at length. In the reading and class discussions the body was defined clearly as a part of one's person, even alluded to at times as a "prison" in which one cannot escape until one dies. Memory and one's Soul seemed to be lumped together many times, understandably so, for the two bare many things in common such as they are intangible, cannot be completely defined as to what each exactly is (people remember things that did not actually happen to them, are those still memories?; do you have one soul throughout your life?), and both are thought to compose one's character and beliefs. This essay will deal with the two aspects of one's personal identity which are the most obvious in day to day life, that of the body and of soul/memory.

As stated beforehand, memory and the soul bare many of the same qualities. The body and soul, however, also share this trait. Perry illustrates in his essay that the body and soul are similar because there is a "link" between one another, that is they both make up a person and are responsible for the qualities associated with being an individual (height, weight, character, belief, etc.). Perry also comes back to challenge this using the analogy of a river. If one goes to a river, and then the next day goes back to the same river, the person will not say that it is a different river, although almost all of the properties of the river have changed (water molecules, pollution level, temperature, etc.). This is the same with a person, for we say that a person at adolescence is still the same person at adulthood, even though the the persons beliefs, knowledge, and character may have changed over the years. Perry answers this problem by saying that we can still regard the person as the same...
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