My 14 year old son wrote this, and I am in tears.
I am so proud of him.
But I am full of despair that he has to live in this world where adults have so miserably failed him
no, i’ve actually never heard of that before. i’ll have to look into it! thank you!!
An Interesting question! Let’s look at this empirically.
So: am I? I am I patentpending? Can I safely say I’m the same person who made my AO3 account, over two years ago?
Obviously I am not physically the same, as I have aged, and my appearance has changed (I like to think for the better), but this is referring to ‘qualitative identity’, the quality of being physically identical to an object, or, in this case, my past self. i.e. two ties factory-produced to be identical likely would be qualitatively identical. However, we always talk about numerical identity – the quality of being one and the same object – over qualitative identity when discussing a person’s identity.
Our properties are not the same over time, but our being is. Therefore, our challenge is to prove that I am the same object with the same identity! So, what constitutes the identity of a person across time? Most philosophers fall into three schools of thought on the matter of what determines personal identity:
- A soul
- A body or particular part of body (brain)
- Psychological properties (memory, personality, sense of humor, ect.)
Assuming for the moment that I have a soul, let’s disregard that theory to focus on the ‘reductionist viewpoints’ – the concept that personal identity can be reduced into one aspect.
Additionally, most agree that as long as the change happens gradually enough, you are the same being, at your core. Obviously, I do not have identical personality or capacities as to when I was six, but I have generally the same sense of humor, personality, memories, and capabilities as I did yesterday. By this logic, the me from yesterday has the same sense of humor, personality, memories, and capabilities as I did the day before yesterday, and so on. This forms a direct chain of connection between me and my six year old self, or, to address your question, the me from two years ago that assumed the pseudonym of patentpending on AO3. We can therefore conclude that I am the same person as ‘patentpending’ from a psychological reductionist viewpoint.
However, in his 1970 essay "The Self and the Future.“, British philosopher Bernard Williams famously refuted the psychological viewpoint, proving that there are cases – such as where part of one’s mental properties are part by part replaced with another’s – that personal identity will have gray areas when looked at from a strictly psychological viewpoint.
Therefore, we will also address the physical theory – that personal identity is the same if enough of a person’s physical mass (often referring to the brain) is continuous. My brain has not suffered any injuries in these past two years, nor has a large chunk of it been removed, so we can safely say enough of it has been physically continuous in time and space to maintain my identity. We can use the same chain argument as above to prove this suggests my identity is identical to the person who created the ‘patentpending’ account.
However, Derek Parfit’s 1991 essay "The Psychological View"expanded on Williams’ psychological spectrum into a combined spectrum, arguing that if a person’s body and mind are replaced one part at a time, there are cases where identity will have gray areas. It is largely agreed that it makes no sense for identity to have gray areas, as it is impossible for you to be both yourself and not, so this similarly disqualifies the physical theory.
We are now left with the soul theory. Proponents of the soul theory argue that identity is rooted in ‘something ultimate’. In his 2019 book, “Are We Bodies or Souls?” Richard Swinburne argued that personal identity goes beyond what we think of as the ‘self’. He argues people who hope to be reincarnated after death do not think the, for example, squirrel they are reborn as will have the same memories or body as them, but will be them nonetheless. However, from reductionist viewpoints, even being able to comprehend this concept is impossible.
However, many push back, saying that as we cannot prove the existence of souls, we can’t definitively say that this is what accounts for personal identity.
Therefore, since the three things that can be used to prove personal identity have all been systematically addressed and discredited, no, we can not definitively prove that I am, indeed, patentpending.
Although, considering I do know the login, I’m pretty sure I am.
Dreiric - A xenogender related to dreams, night and the ocean. Its very mysterious and hard to understand. It has many unknown layers to it. Neutral alignment, but can be made masc/fem/etc. (ex: Dreirboy, Dreirgirl, Dreirflux, etc.).
“No aspiro a otros mundos ni a otros cielos. Me basta la porción de maravillas que me asignó la vida: un lecho para soñar, un cuerpo para amar, un corazón para creer, dos manos para bendecir y crear de la nada el infinito…”
-Todo es mío en el sentido que nada me pertenece, Gonzalo Arango.
Context: I am a white person. I studied anthropology and then went and traveled all around the US and talked to a lot of people about race. With so many people urging white people to use their voice and privilege to begin discussions with other white people in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, here are some things that I’ve learned: