It has been a common notion about the existence of self. You are exactly who you look at yourself to be. The theory of personal identity revolves around the questions ‘What am I?’, ‘When did I begin?’ and‘What will take place after I die?’. The major questions that are posed by or own inner selves are what exactly strive to define who we are. Human Beings are constantly faced with the questions coming from their conscience. They are always trying to ‘figure out who they are’. The subject of personal identity has been of considerable interest to all the philosophers and psychologists in the early century.(Blacwell, Stanford, 2010)
In his short story, the philosopher Daniel Denett explores all the mysteries surrounding the issue of personal identity. He is looking into his real self. Daniel begins his story by addressing the major radioactive operation that he has to undergo because he has been asked to do so by the Pentagon. After his operation, a thought that he is not able to see his brain from the body and that he is also not able to see his body from the brain strikes him. He is surprised why he is experiencing this. He further asks who Daniel is! He wants to inquire into his own existence. Throughout his time while he is experiencing this huge change, he realizes about the disembodiment or the debraining of the body. This is when he concludes that the impression of the self is strengthened by the self on its own. Daniel pictures himself as Yorick and sometimes as both Hamlet and Yorick. He realizes that the moving of the soul away from the body would actually lead to this major change.
The issue of personal identity is brought into focus when a few familiar questions emerge. The moment you question yourself, personhood and then go about looking for yourself, this is when you realize who you are. These issues create conflict with the self-forcing you to find out an answer to the existence of the self. You know who you are only when you look at yourself stepping outside of your body. Breaking through the laws and boundaries, you will come to know everything about yourself. (Perry, University of California, 2008)
I personally believe personal identity to be based on the basic questions of the self. These include awareness, esteem, conscious, ego, control. How you walk into the world depends upon how your lives are shaped by these few principles. I am born with an ego but it takes shape in the later years of my life when I come across myself. When I realize about my personality, thisis when I realize who exactly I am and what am I really capable of.
Denett realized after a new brain was added that there is some connection of this organ with the body. The moment we experience ourselves through the psychological principles, we immediately who we are and tend to realize what we are capable of.
Personal identity is matter of our own perception of ourselves. How I look at myself is what decides who I am and who I will continue to be always. If I believe I am a scientist or an actress, my perceptions, judgements, evaluations will shape my identity in relation to the outlook that I have originally had for myself. (Cheryl, Wordpress,2007)
Learning to be aware of the conscious self is what is basically all about the personal identity and when you have realized who you are, then the other problems get answered on their own. The issue of personal identity is the issue of the self. It is simply to say that my personal identity is ME which is wholly different from all of you and nobody could consider you better than me. To conclude, Denett came to value his personality when he understood his own perception. The anatomy of his perception brought him to his own identity.
Blackwell. Plato Stanford. 28 October 2010. 3 July 2012
Cheryl. Wordpress. 25 March 2007. 3 July 2012
Perry, John. Personal Identity. California: University of California, 2008.