Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 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?

I think that leads to digressions on "fair" and the purpose of punishing crimes.

> 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?

That's a good question.  Maybe, as in the case of punishing a crime, it depends 
on why we need to 
make this decision, i.e. what action we're contemplating.  According to the 
popular description of 
MPD (and I don't know whether such really occurs or not) one personality knows 
about the other(s) 
but not vice versa.  But suppose they were completely separate - by that I 
think you would mean they 
didn't share any memories, they just time-shared the body.

Brent Meeker

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