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PHILOSOPHY FINAL EXAM PAPER - Essay Example

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Part 2, Question 1: Parfit is a reductionist. His claim is that people do not exist, except as a named collection of parts. Individual identity does not exist-it is “a collection of separate facts combined with giving the combination a single name” (Stairs: Notes on Parfit: Bundles Without Selves)…
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Download file to see previous pages One hand writes “red.” The other writes “blue”. The left brain is able to enunciate “I see red.” The verbal component is important, because Parfit’s definition of identity is that identity exists because we talk about it, we name it. So the split-brain, Parfit says, represents two streams of consciousness. Both hemispheres are conscious as long as they are intact. Parfit then says this dual consciousness equals two people in the same body. Then he says that in the sense that identity is a named collection of objects (memories, thoughts, emotions) there are no identities here, because the original person has been split in two. I believe that consciousness equals identity, but more on that later. Stairs posits the Ego Theory, where the existence of the ego explains the existence of the person. Parfit’s shallow definition of personal identity as a named collection of parts is put to the test. Stairs wants Parfit to look at the complexity of the collection: “we do make a distinction…between mere assemblages and things that have a coherence or unity…From the mere fact that a thing is compound, it simply does not follow that its existence as a thing is merely nominal” (Stairs). ...
Parfit says that a person is a long series of experiences, thoughts and feelings. Memory is “a causal relation that ties together the items in the series” (Stairs). In Bundle Theory, this group or series of feelings has certain facts that can describe them, as well as describe the causal relationships between them (Stairs). Parfit does an “either or” or false dilemma argument between Ego Theory and Bundle Theory, stating: “Either P or Q Not--P Therefore, Q Either the Ego Theory or the Bundle Theory is correct The Ego Theory is not correct Therefore, the Bundle Theory is correct.” (Stairs). Is the premise true? No. It is a false dilemma: Either A or B. No alternate explanations are provided, even though they may exist. The form of the argument is correct, but the initial premise is false. The argument is invalid. Stairs disagrees with Parfit in the example of identity as memory: “The process that led from your experience to my memory [of you telling me about your experience] is not the right sort to bring two events into the series that composes a life” (Stairs). My memory of your story of your experience is not the same as your experience, or your memory of your experience. I can’t get past the idea that the identity does not survive, yet something survives. Here are some arguments. On page 5: In hoping for both to survive, I would be preferring death (for one half--my addition) to survival. Definition of terms: survival=one half survives. I=ego presupposing my existence=me. If survival is possible for me if one half survives and If survival is impossible for me if both halves survive Then I would hope for one half to survive. Wishing for both to survive implies a death wish until survival ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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