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What is personal identity?

 
 
Gilbey
 
Reply Fri 29 Feb, 2008 02:36 pm
Is personal identity just what you associate with yourself? Like what music you like, the things you do, the clothes you wear.

The question seems to be "who am I?", I am (name) I like this, I don't like that.

Another question is what exactly is the "I" in this?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,302 • Replies: 19
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spikepipsqueak
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Feb, 2008 05:41 pm
This is such a tricky one, isn't it?

I think I am the result of all my experiences and of my genetic inheritance, but I can't decide whether or not I think there is some irreducible component that is the core of me and is not attributabe to either.
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testy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2008 08:04 pm
personal identity is the sum of your complex psychological makeup, not just a "who am i"
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hanno
 
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Reply Fri 28 Mar, 2008 02:46 pm
I read Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' and I like his take (or my crazy interpretation thereof).

People, and we're talking as much crystal-prism hanging on the rear view mirror, minivan drivin' types as acid gurus, like to generalize that the seat of self-ness is in the brain. How obstinate of them. The outer cortex gets a lot of good press, but I've heard a theory, evidenced by a crash victim, that empathy is tied to a little nub on the front-bottom of the brain, and if you're a reptile, athlete, artist, or violent criminal, (I make little distinction) a lot of work gets done in the medulla and muscle relays. And then there's the proverbial 'little head'.

In HDM the characters are closely associated with their tools and weapons and/or their ability to use them. This might just be Pullmans confessed affinity for comic books, but I think it's more than that. For myself, I've got a few favorite tools, stuff that I wouldn't mourn the loss of, but that plays a role in my life. And is that not part of how we draw (or discern) the line between human and hominid?

Everybody has a spiritual component to their lives now, even people that don't have an 'oil change' component or a 'quit SSI and go to work' component. I think it's overrated. I think the human self is a concatony of ends and means as mapped onto one's time and place.
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Kayyam
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Apr, 2008 12:42 am
Hello,

I think about this question all the time. Here is how I see it.

**Identity is that which you will fight for reflexively.**

There are many categories of identity, such as those that spring from politics, religion, ethnicity, class, language, nationality, generation, gender or sexual orientation. Even things like family and sports can enter the picture. These are the facets in the prism of identity through which images of reality are filtered.

While the prism metaphor conjures immutability, quite the opposite is the case. An individual's identity is in a state of constant flux as her priorities and prejudices change. The prism may at any given time be dominated by one of its facets - especially when that facet is challenged.

I recommend Amin Malouf's "In the Name of Identity".

Best,
/Kayyam
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Apr, 2008 12:58 am
Kayyam wrote:
There are many categories of identity, such as those that spring from politics, religion, ethnicity, class, language, nationality, generation, gender or sexual orientation.


I'll advise those who indulge in the nasty game of categorizing that far, given the complexity of a human character, to jump down the Rock of Tanios...
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 08:30 pm
"I" am Napoleon!
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pataya6
 
  0  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2008 09:02 am
Action is the key
Man defines himself by his actions.

Is is not what you are but what you do with what you have that defines you in my opinion.

Edit [Moderator]: Link removed
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2008 09:26 am
Re: What is personal identity?
Gilbey wrote:
Is personal identity just what you associate with yourself? Like what music you like, the things you do, the clothes you wear.

The question seems to be "who am I?", I am (name) I like this, I don't like that.

Another question is what exactly is the "I" in this?


Not 100% sure, but one thing is for sure once my children started school my personal entity changed - it is now "Fred and Sam's mommy"
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kdcung
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2008 12:10 pm
Personality is something defined you by other people. Or like you recieve from the outside's feedbacks. I guess...
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ZoSo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2008 03:57 pm
I believe that personal identity is like many other things a product of genetics and environment. Your genetics define how you perceive events that occur in your environment. This then defines your individuality because nobody's experiences will be exactly the same and how people respond to these experiences in turn causes set identity.
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2008 03:59 pm
Welcome to a2k.
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ZoSo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2008 04:07 pm
Thank you
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2008 04:40 pm
You're welcome.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jul, 2008 10:59 pm
I tend to think of "personal identity" as how one sees himself and "social identity" as how others see him. This coincides with situations, of course. One has many roles or statuses corresponding with different situations, and to the extent that one's personal identity coincides with his various social identities he has multiple selves*. Sociologists who specialize in "role theory" deal with such issues.

*We tend to think that our specific social identities are like masks, and behind those masks is a not-so-specific "face." That may be our sense of "ego."
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jul, 2008 11:22 pm
I believe JLN comes closest to what I believe is our identity: everybody sees us by their own subjective judgements of who we are. I'm not even sure those people closest to you really knows who you are.

If we identify ourselves by our "family and friends," our educational and career accomplishments, and what we show as our avocation, it may come close to who "I" am.

I remember studies done some decades ago at some prestigious universities about how "looks" gives the individual a head-start in how people and teachers react to them. Not only friendlier, but better grades.

I think that's a truism that still survives in today's world.

We are very subjective animals.
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whiteviolet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2008 10:53 am
Personal identity is surely a multi-strand concept. Genetics and environment, for example, may play a part but they impact differentially on different people and on different aspects of our personalities. The obvious example is two siblings, with the same genetics and upbringing - yet how common it is for siblings to be very different. Twin and adoption studies (Christiansen et al) have added to our knowledge about this.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2008 11:50 am
I think identity is 100% derived from our relationships to other people, both individuals and groups. There are an infinite number of ways that we relate to others, our identity flows from those relationships that we choose to focus on above the rest. There are times where certain relationships are forced into focus whether we want them to be or not, but more often identity is a choice of free will. I have learned over the years that one can learn a lot about another person by paying attention to their sense of identity, what they have chosen speaks volumes.
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whiteviolet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2008 02:47 pm
I know what you mean but don't you think that people are very much constrained by their circumstances? Finances, work requirements, family responsibilities, these have all impacted on my relationships.
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vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2008 07:23 pm
Your personal identity is somewhat different from the "Who am I".

"Who am I" is encompassing. Your identity is purely who you 'see' yourself as...hence you can 'identify' yourself. That said, you can see many 'things' in yourself, some contradictory, some taken on from others, some learnt, some innate, some emotional, some logical etc.
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