11. Will you be the same person in ten years? Could you survive death?


When Sam was born, he was about a foot and a half long, he weighed about eight pounds, and he had no hair. Now he is about six feet long, he weighs two hundred pounds, and he has hair over much his body. Clearly, the Sam of today differs in many ways from new-born Sam. So why do we suppose that the large, hirsute Sam of today is the very same person as that tiny infant? And does it make sense to suppose that Sam will continue to exist after his current body has rotted away?


11.1 We explain our topic and its significance.

11.2 We introduce the soul theory. The soul theorist maintains that adult Sam and infant Sam are the same person because they share a soul.

11.3 We discuss some problems with the soul theory.

11.4 We discuss John Locke’s suggestion that memory is the key to the puzzle of personal identity. We consider several versions of the memory theory.

11.5 We consider brain transplants.