Personal Identity Essay

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“A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality” by John Perry gives the reader a look into the first night of the final three nights of the life of Gretchen Weirob. Gretchen is a teacher of philosophy. Her friend, Sam Miller, is a chaplain. Gretchen and Sam have had previous discussions about religion, but Sam can never seem to convince Gretchen that it is real. Her studies in philosophy have led her to believe that God and Heaven cannot actually exist. She believes that once a person is dead they are gone forever; just a body rotting in the ground. The main purpose of PerryÂ’s essay is the discussion between Sam and Gretchen about whether or not she will “survive” after death. The other major question is whether that survival is a physical survival (the body) or a survival of the soul (which is what Miller believes). After Sam makes a comment to Gretchen about how she is a “goner,” she asks him to tell her something a little more comforting. Sam says that that job is a lot easier when he is talking to a believer. Sam wants to convey that she will live after her death but she doesnÂ’t believe that. Throughout the evening, Sam creates arguments as to why her soul will continue to live while Gretchen is always quick to make a comeback. The first night ends without a clear answer as to whether or not Gretchen believes Sam; he claims that he will have a better argument ready for the next night. One of the main arguments is between something being “identical” and something being “exactly similar.” It is important to know the difference between these two things. Weirob says that it is common for people to say these two different words/phrases and have them mean the exact same things when they really donÂ’t. For something to be identical, it would need to be the same things. My computer is identical to itself and only itself, however, it is exactly
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