sexta-feira, 3 de outubro de 2008

sobrevivência e identidade relativa

If there is no such relation as strict, «classical» identity, questions about our persistence through time are not questions about strict identity, but about some sameness relation or another. Which sameness relation? Suppose we ask once more wether Jones still exists after lapsing into a persistent vegetative state. (Analogous considerations apply to the question wether you were ever a fetus or an embryo.) The resulting human vegetable is presumably the same animal as Jones, but it could hardly be the same person, as it seems not to be a person at all. Which relation are we asking about, same person or same animal? This is a linguistic question, not a metaphysical one. You may argue that because «Jones» is a «personal» name, correlated with the personal pronoun «she», we are probably asking wether the vegetable is the same person as John, and not the same animal (or the same mass of matter or anything else). So wether it is correct to say that Jones survives will depend on this semantic point.
Eric T. Olson
The Human Animal: Personal Identity Without Psychology