Brent Meeker writes:

> You don't have to.  Body identity is not sufficient to establish the "fact of the matter".  People 
> may be acquited to murder (by reason of insanity) because they suffer from multiple personality 
> disorder.  In such cases, one "personality" is generally not aware of the other(s).

Mainstream psychiatry where I come from does not believe in MPD, but I suppose it is theoretically possible that several independent personality streams could co-exist in the same brain, and it is a good model for our discussion. Suppose that one of the personalities commits a crime, then lies dormant so that the personality in the pilot’s seat when the police arrest the suspect honestly has no knowledge of the act, but later, through psychotherapeutic intervention, both personalities are reintegrated. Would it then be fair to punish “both” personalities for the crimes committed by one before the reintegration took place?

The question is, can you come up with a definition of personal identity which allows us to decide in these and other unusual cases whether two instances of a person are in fact the same person?

Stathis Papaioannou

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