Instructor: Pierre Daigneault
Teaching Assistant: Dennis Papadopoulos
PHIL 265 / 2A
Introduction to Metaphysics
Word Count: 1596
It is very difficult to attribute characteristics to a mind when we know it does not actually exist in the physical realm. Though, personal identity has been connected to the mind. However, it is tricky to determine what exactly comprises one’s personal identity. Although it is a difficult concept to grasp, philosophers such as Nagel and Chisholm attempt to construct their own position on the characteristics of the mind. By comparing Nagel and Chisholm’s positions on personal identity, it is evident that identity is a development of both body and mind. Nagel shows that we cannot properly identify a mind, and if this is the case then it is impossible to attribute personal identity to a mind. In turn, he attacks the idea that personal identity can be defined in terms of physical attributes. Chisholm shows that although things are constantly changing, they still remain the same. He argues that it is the mind that holds our identity, regardless of physical alteration. In my view, the physicalist perspective of identity is the most logical when contrasted to the mentalist argument simply due to the fact that we do have a self-identity, and Nagel does not attempt to define what it is. Locke’s argument finds a middle ground between Nagel and Chisholm as he argues for a conscious and bodily continuity of the mind.
In order to identify the mind-body problem and argue that identity is a development of the mind, Nagel’s position must be analyzed. Firstly, when addressing the mind-body problem, Nagel states that one cannot explain the mind body relationship through logic, functions, or intentions. He argues that these states can be ascribed to robots that may indeed behave like people, however robots do not experience anything, and it is experience that influences