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“The Meeting:” the problem of personal identity.
Pages 3 (753 words)
Harry Vladek is in a dilemma. The reader is deeply moved by his anguished, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to go to.” (Pohl and Kornbluth, 189). He hopes passionately that the school will bring about improvement in Tommy…
Harry Vladek is in a dilemma. The reader is deeply moved by his anguished, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to go to.” (Pohl and Kornbluth, 189). He hopes passionately that the school will bring about improvement in Tommy. However, this improvement appears to be on the miniscule scale of drawing a cartoon face or taking “his thumb out of his mouth for minutes at a time” (187). Mrs. Adler cannot promise Harry a cure, or a normal life for his son. She fails to give him a definite assurance that Tommy was “ever going to be like everybody else” . Harry also worries about Tommy’s fate after the demise of his parents. As he picks up the phone, it may be assumed that Harry opts for the brain transplant surgery proposed by Dr. Nicholson. The successful operation will result in the other boy’s brain living on in Tommy’s body. The survivor of the brain transplant is not Tommy Vladek as Tommy’s personal identity is lost according to the theories of self. Harry Vladek subscribes to the traditional theory of self. To him, deciding to allow the brain transplant is equivalent to deciding “to murder my son”.He does not base his idea of personal identity on the Body Theory, which proposes ‘Same body, same self.’ Only if the body is accepted as being the basis of identity can the survivor be his son.Obviously,Harry does not consider the body to be the basis of identity. Harry leans towards the Soul Theory. This maybe because he has religious beliefs, as seen in his considering whether “to talk to the priest” . ...
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