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Posted on July 21st, 2012, by

The problem of personal identity is a very serious problem that disturbed many thinkers in different epochs. John Perry in his Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality attempts to represent a variety of views on personal identity and self-perception of an individual. In this regard, the position one of the main character, Sam Miller, is particularly noteworthy since he develops his own view on personal identity in order to prove to Gretchen Weirob the possibility of immortality.

Basically, Sam Miller attempts to provide a logical explanation of the concept that may be defined as personal identity. In fact, he needs to prove the existence of personal identity in order to prove that there is the possibility of immortality. In such a context, he refers to human memory as the major tool that actually maintains the existence of personal identity. To put it more precisely, he attempts to convince Gretchen that personal identity is conveyed by means of memory in the course of time. Consequently, in spite of physiological and possible psychological changes an individual still has one and the same identity that he/she had yesterday, a month ago or several years ago. In such a context, it is possible to presuppose that an individual or, to put it more precisely, his personal identity exists as long as memory does. Thus, identity is contingent on memory.

However, Gretchen rejects this idea pointblank and, instead, she argues that there is a distinction between remembering and seeming to remember. In fact, she stands on the ground that an individual cannot clearly distinguish whether he/she does have real memories about his/her own past and, therefore, about his/her personal identity, or probably it is just seeming memories which have never existed in reality.

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