Personal Identity & Immortality Essay

1034 WordsMay 1, 20145 Pages
Personal Identity and Immortality: First Night The thought of personal identity summons different concepts for different people. For some philosophers, personal identity constitutes certain traits and characteristics that persist over time, tying the person now to the person however many years ago. For many, the idea of personal identity relies on maintaining one’s origin and nature and ensuring that our emotional responses stay over time; it is our own, specific responses to actions, our nature, and where we come from, our origin, that make up our personal identities. From the beginning of the first night it is clear that Weirob and Miller hold differing views in regard to what constitutes personal identity. Miller maintains that what ensures personal identity is the soul. He tells Weirob that “your mind or soul is immaterial, lodged in your body while you are on earth” (Perry 7). Miller expounds on this assertion by saying that the body is separate from the soul. Because they are separate Miller believes it stands that a body is not needed to equal survive as long as the soul continues to exist. Weirob, however, disagrees with this view, instead believing that it is the body that ensures identity. When Miller says that the nonmaterial aspects of ourselves are our consciousness Weirob contests that consciousness is not an entity, but an action, a verb. She continues to by asking “what is the subject of this verb?” (6), going on to assert that it is the body, therefore, claiming that a body is needed in order for this consciousness to exist. She explains that seeing one’s body and continually interacting with that body, believing it is the same you have seen before proves that you have established the identity of that person from the body. Although Weirob believes in a bodily identity view just the thought of a body does not provide comfort for her regarding

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