Problem of Personal Identity

Essay by jojomooUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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The problem of personal identity is a great paradox that involves the concept that the whole is equal to the sum of the parts. There are two parts of the human person. First there is the body which changes daily. In the body cells die, muscles grow, and bones change. The second part of the human person is the mind which, much like the body, always fluctuates and changes. It is seen as a change when people either forget things or on the other hand learn new things. Also changes in one's mood relates to the changes in the mind. We change and yet we remain the same at the same time. This is called the paradox of personal identity and is very hard to explain without having an example to pose a question on personal identity. A very good puzzle to analyze that involves this paradox is the puzzle involving the two twin brothersPeter and Paul. The puzzle is as follows:

There are two twin brothers whose names are Peter and Paul. They both grow up together and look exactly alike. Eventually they get married and live their own lives as usual. One night however the decide to go out for a couple of drinks down at the local bar. After a couple of hours of knocking back a few cold ones they both end up getting really drunk. Now after leaving the bar they decide to drive home instead of being smart and doing the right thing and taking a cab. So now as they are driving under the influence they get into a major car accident. The car gets mingled and the two twin brothers get air lifted to the hospital. It is at the hospital where the wives of the twins hear the...