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Personal Identity - Essay Example

Are There Other Features That Need To Be Factored In As Well, Or Instead? Overall, What Factors Are Indispensable For Establishing And Sustaining Our Identity Over Time? The mind deals with many concepts that include our beliefs, desires, sensations, emotions and passions among other things (Wiggins, 2007). The philosophies of the mind involve studies that are carried out to determine the nature of our minds, the mental events that take place in them, their functions and properties along with the relationship of our consciousness to our physical bodies (Crane, 2001). The field greatly considers the relationship that exists between our minds and bodies. However, it also considers other matters which do not concern the relationship that exists between our bodies and mind but that help in defining our personal identities (Behrendt, 2003). According to philosophy, consciousness is a terminology that is used in describing the relationships that exist between our minds and the environments we interact with (Crane, 2001). The term has been described as involving our ability to experience, feel or have feelings of selfhood while possessing the control of our minds (Wiggins, 2007). Many philosophers like Velmans claim that our consciousness involves anything that we are aware about which in turn makes the activity the most common feature in our lives. Philosophers argue that consciousness comprises of our views, thoughts along with feelings (Behrendt, 2003). Memory on the other hand, has been described as the set of cognitive abilities which enable us to retain information while reconstructing our past experiences (Wiggins, 2007). A philosopher like William James in the year 1890 argued that memory is the knowledge we have of previous states of mind we have experienced but have already been dropped from our consciousness (Martin & Barresi, 2003). This therefore implies that our memory derives its inputs from our consciousness in perceiving the events that take place in our environments (Crane, 2001). Philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato proposed various concepts that greatly helped in resolving the issues involving the relationship of our minds to our bodies (Behrendt, 2003). The two philosophers came up with the concepts of dualism whereas the notion of monism was introduced by Descartes (Wiggins, 2007). There are several types of dualists among them being the substance dualists along with the property dualists. The former dualist’s claim that the mind exists independently whereas the latter dualists believe that the mind consists of clusters of properties that are independent that usually come from our brains and cannot just be condensed to it (Davies & Stone, 2005). They additionally state that the brain is not a unique substance and other factors should be included in the analysis of our personal identities. On the other hand, monists like Descartes dispute the idea that our bodies and minds are ontologically unique types of entities (Hoerl & McCormack, 2001). However, other people like the idealists believe that the only thing that exists is the mind and that everything else is mental or is an illusion that has been created by our minds (Davies & Stone, 2005). The neutral monists believe that there is a substance that is unknown of which our minds and other matter in our environment are a part of (Wiggins, 2007). Currently, philosophers of the mind usually adopt either a reductive position whereas others adopt non reductive approaches in illustrating that our minds and bodies have a relationship that exists between them (Davies & Stone, 2005). However, there are still other philosophers who dispute the idea that the mind is an unadulterated physical construct that can go a long way in defining our personal iden ...Show more


The mind deals with many concepts that include our beliefs, desires, sensations, emotions and passions among other things (Wiggins, 2007). …
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Personal Identity
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