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Outline and illustrate an argument in support of the claim that the concept of person is logically primitive or basic.
The concept of a person as logically primitive means to come first in order of explanation. It's a claim made by Peter Strawson who said the concept of a person comes before the concept of mind.
In being able to identify our own mental states we must learn through identifying the mental states of others. So in order for me to understand what is going on in the mind of somebody else, I must first be able to
apply this mental state to myself. Peter Strawson uses the example of somebody who is depressed. He said that in order for one to understand that somebody else is depressed, one must first identify this mental
state to themselves before it is applicable to somebody else.
We also have no experience of minds on their own, so to ascribe mental characteristics to something it must also have physical characteristics. This is shown in our explanation of `person'; we cannot explain person
from mind + a body as we have to abstract it from a person. So a person is both a mind and a body as it is one who is embodied; to whom we can ascribe mental and physical characteristics.
Ultimately, the concept of a person being logically primitive means that the concept of person comes before mind which is the claim made by Peter Strawson.
Explain and illustrate how survival through time differs from identity through time
Survival through time is a psychological claim made by Derek Parfit who said that as long as there is just one person who is mostly psychologically continuous to me, that is I. He said identity does not matter as
psychological continuity does. However, Locke's memory theory claims that memory is central to identity.
Derek Parfit claimed what matters is psychological continuity or `survival' not identity. Suppose brain operations were possible and half of my brain was put into person A and the other half goes in person B or is
destroyed. Parfit argues that whether B is destroyed or not does not matter to my survival as person A can continue as me, psychologically.
Locke's memory theory claimed that memory is central to identity. If I remember doing something, I am the same person who did that thing. Memory is extensions of consciousness through this we remain the same
person over time. For example, if a soldier stole an apple as a boy and received a medal at 16 and remembered stealing the apple as a boy but could not remember now he is still the same person as you don't just rely
on current memories. Since the general remembers being the soldier who received the medal, and the soldier remembered being the boy who stole the apple, the person is still the same.
Ultimately, survival through time is the argument that identity is not what matters but psychological continuity. Whereas, identity through time is the argument that our identity is made up of our memories.
Explain and illustrate what is meant by the claim that some persons may be diminished
Characteristics of personhood come in a matter of degree so reflectiveness, creativity, autonomy or individual can be possessed to different degrees. When talking of diminished persons we talk of the attributes of
personhood to one who has gone through a loss of characteristics that have initially been diminished form their possession.
Qualities such as consciousness or sentience may not be present in somebody who has lost certain mental characteristics, which they once had. For example, a person in a vegetative state like a coma is unconscious
but they did once have this characteristic so they have now become a diminished person.
This brings me to my next point, which was made by Peter Carruthers who said that you can become `more or less' persons so you can become less complex; diminished. Qualities such as reflectiveness, autonomy or
being a social being can be lessened. Suppose somebody with Alzheimer's or dementia they have a loss of certain aspects of their memory, which directly affects these characteristics, and as a result they become
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Ultimately, this is the claim that the characteristics of personhood can be reduced and a person can become `less complex' as a result.
Explain and illustrate two possible reasons for distinguishing the concept of a person from that of a human being
Distinguishing the concept of a person from that of a human being is rather straight forward; all we have to do is look at the definitions. A person is one who is embodied; to whom we can ascribe mental and physical