- Suppose that you’re lying in bed. You just woke up. But you’re alert. Your mind is clear and you have no distractions. As you lie there, you think to yourself, ‘2+2=4’. The thought just pops into your head. But wanting to be sure of your mathematical insight, you once again think ‘2+2=4’, this time really meditating on your thought.
- Now suppose that you’re sitting in an empty movie theatre. The lighting is normal and the screen in front of you is blank. Then at some point an image of a peach is flashed on the screen. The image isn’t up there for long. In fact, it’s only on the screen for what seems like an instant — just long enough for you to see it.
- These two scenarios are a bit mundane. But, as I will show, reflection on them can yield significant results concerning the nature of persons and their persistence through time.
- First I will show that thought and perception have temporal constraints whereby your thinking or perceiving in the above scenarios implies that you exist through a temporally extended interval.
- Then I will argue that this allows us to rule out several prominent theories of personal identity.
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