In this assignment, I will answer two related questions that present a philosophical problem. In the first scenario, doctors took a raccoon and shaved away some of its fur. They dyed what was left all black. Then they bleached a single stripe all white down the center of its back. Then, with surgery, they put in its body a sac of super smelly yucky stuff. When they were all done, the animal looked like a skunk. In the second scenario involving a coffeepot, doctors took a coffeepot. They sawed off the handle, sealed the top, took off the top knob, closed the spout, and sawed it off. They also sawed off the base and attached a flat piece of metal. Then, they attached a little stick, cut a window in it, and filled the metal container with bird food. After these operations, the questions that arise are that was the animal a raccoon or skunk? Moreover, was the container a coffeepot or a birdfeeder? These questions pose the problem that people assign different identities to objects and living things as will be discussed in this paper.
In the first scenario involving the raccoon, after the operation, the animal remained a raccoon. In my opinion, biological entities such as the one used in the experiment (raccoon) do net change their identity due to physical appearance. Shaving away fur from the raccoon or giving it a new color could not change its genetic composition. Biological entities inherit their identity from their parents.
Therefore, only a skunk can give birth to another skunk and a raccoon to another. However, in the second scenario involving the coffeepot, I would say that after the operation, it became a birdfeeder. In my opinion, human-made objects such as the coffeepot used in this operation are assigned identity by human beings according to their functions.
When the container was initially used for brewing coffee, it was a coffeepot and had the shape of a coffeepot; nevertheless, changing the shape and function of the container implies that the identity also changes. As opposed to the former operation with the raccoon, despite cosmetically and surgically altering the raccoon to smell and look like a skunk; it still bore the raccoon DNA. Nevertheless, in the later operation, the shape of the container changed as well as its function, thereby changing its identity.
The first scenario involving the raccoon represented the human perception of living entities, especially how they identify them from others. The raccoon was shaved, colored and surgically altering to smell like a skunk. However, this does not change its identity. However, for human-made objects like the coffeepot used in the second scenario, their identities change with the changes in the functions they perform. For instance, dressing like a woman does not change a male human being to a female. On the contrary, a lorry could be rebuilt into a bus and the change in shape and function changes its identity. In these scenarios, it is evident that human beings have conscience of the theories about their biological, social and physical worlds as well as the nature of individual and societal thinking. In conclusion, these self-constructed social, physical and biological theories facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and give a sense to the experiences people face as they grow up.