Wrecking Churches: Iconoclasm or Continuity ..
In contrast to a body’s eminently apparent material composition, its immaterial movements are observable only in dynamic continuity and shifting relations among other bodies. Elusive as movements may be, the impact they carry are felt in a body as intensive force or sensation, bringing individual bodies into immediate relational movement. Intensively connected, bodies shift each other’s movements in time and space by their affective powers. Opening an inquiry into the interval, the moment of encounter, enters into the immediacy of relational movement between bodies – the pre-personal gap between stable forms in which a body is reconstituted in a state of instability.
Stage Directions - The Obscure Organization
On the other hand, the nonreductionist might insist that I am justified in having special concern for my future ego simply insofar as it is the only thing that will be me, regardless of whether or not Relation R is preserved by or within it. On this account, then (what Parfit 1984, 228 calls the “Featureless Cartesian View”), who I am — my essential identity — is independent of any particular psychological properties. But if identity is entirely prized apart from psychology in this way,and if the ego to be tracked is an immaterial substance (as it is, ofcourse, on the Cartesian version), we are left with two related puzzles. First, if the particular ego I now have (or am) can be perceived or identified neither directly, via some empirical means, nor indirectly, via a particular set of psychological properties it might be thought to evince, then we actually have no reason to believe that there is just one such ego unifying the variousstages of our lives. Instead, our bodies might get a new, qualitatively identical ego every year on our birthdays, or perhaps every day, or perhaps there is a river of them flowing through us from moment to moment. If this were to happen, then I would cease to exist, replaced by a qualitatively identical person who theninherits my psychological properties. But no one would even notice! This would be rather odd, to say the least, and this is because of the connection we think should obtain between our metaphysical criterion of personal identity and our epistemological criterion of personal identity. In other words, we tend to think there is a close connection between the nature of personal identity and what enables us to determine when identity obtains. So if what makes X and Y identical is sameness of body, it will alsobe our reidentification of that body which enables us to determine that X is Y. Similarly, if what makes X and Y identical is some kind of psychological continuity, then determining that X and Y are identical will bea matter of determining whether psychological continuity obtains between them. Now in both the body and the psychology cases, we have the capacity to do the tracking in question. If the Featureless Cartesian View is correct, though, we do not. We cannot track immaterial egos floating free from any particular psychological properties, so on this view we would never be justified in claiming to have reidentified anyone, nor would we be justified in claiming special concern for some future stage of our bodies: in both cases, we could have no reason whatsoever for thinking that the persons in question were who we thought they were (Perry 1978, 6–18; Parfit 1984, 228).
Consider, then, this criterion of our identity. While it obviouslydoes well with the essence question, it seems to do less well when weconsider its relation to ethics. Again, what seems to ground therationality of my anticipation of future experiences is the fact thatthat future person will be the inheritor of my psychology. That he'salso the inheritor of my biological organism seems irrelevant. Indeed,our reactions to certain thought experiments strongly suggest that wethink rational anticipation, self-concern, moral responsibility, andthe like can be justified even in the absence of biologicalcontinuity. We can see this most dramatically in consideringthe transplant intuition (Olson 1997b, 43–51, DeGrazia2005, 51–54). Suppose my cerebrum were transplanted into adifferent living body and the resulting person turned out be exactlylike me psychologically. Suppose also that my cerebrum-less organismwere kept alive. What would have happened to me? Most people share theintuition that the recipient of my cerebrum would be me, simplybecause he would have my psychology and survival of my psychologyseems to be what matters in my survival. The advocate of theBiological Criterion, however, has to maintain that I remain thecerebrum-less donor, essentially in a PVS, while the other person— the person who seems to remember my experiences, and seems tobe carrying out my intentions, and seems just like me psychologicallyin every respect — is just a deluded imposter. But this is hardto believe. Suppose further that I had committed some crime and thendonated my cerebrum in this way. The person who woke up would seem toremember my crime and anticipate enjoying getting away with it for awhile, but if identity is what's necessary for responsibility, hecould not be responsible for my actions, on the Biological Criterion,and so he wouldn't deserve blame or punishment for the crime. Again,this seems hard to believe. What accounts for the practical concernswe have seems to be grounded in psychological relations, and theBiological Criterion thus targets a relation for identity that is justirrelevant for those concerns (a key exception will be discussedlater, however).