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philosophy debate Free essay! Download now

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philosophy debate

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 603 | Submitted: 28-Sep-2011
Spelling accuracy: 59.7% | Number of pages: 1 | Filetype: Word .doc


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Jonathan,

You’ve got at least the beginnings of several arguments for the substance theory here, but the question you most frequently ask on behalf of this theory (namely, “who is that new person in my body?”) involves what is essentially a circular argument. Here’s what I mean. You ask who would be the person that would replace you. The point of the question is of course supposed to be that it’s impossible for someone else to come to occupy your body. But this is assuming that the self (or mind) is a substance or single persisting entity and that the sudden appearance of another such entity in the same body, with no origin, would be impossible. But this is precisely what the psychological continuity theorist denies: namely, that the mind or self or consciousness is a substance or single entity. Thus, they think that a new person could come to exist in your body without having his own distinct biological origin precisely because they deny that persons have biological origins. On this view, persons are not born but developed. Humans have biological origins and can develop into persons (or not), but persons are not entities as such; rather they are bundles of functions. Your discussion of the continuity theory doesn’t do enough to clarify it, so you end up assuming what you’re trying to show rather than arguing against the possibility of what the psychological continuity theory proposes.
Your point about getting your memories back and you then becoming somehow continuous with the “new person” is better, but even here you’re assuming that the self is a substance, and thus assuming that there can’t really be two different people here merging into one. This does seem pretty counter-intuitive, but psychological continuity theorists think that such a thing is possible precisely because they clam that selves are not substances. To effectively argue against the continuity theory here, you would need to challenge this claim, but to do this you would need to get clear about it and about the continuity theorist’s reasons for making it. You seem to be clear about this at certain points in the paper, but you don’t seem to have grasped its implications and consequences for this debate.
Ultimately the problem is that you haven’t really gotten fully clear about the opposing position or really examined any of the arguments that can be offered on behalf of the psychological continuity theory. To effectively defend your own position you need not only to present evidence in its favor and to present considerations that suggest that your theory best fits the available facts, you also need to ...

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