Examining the self essay | PHI 2010 | Florida International University, Modesto A. Maidique Campus

Assignment Topic

Imagine that you are a scientist, and write a proposal for creating a replica of yourself. (You cannot propose cloning yourself!) More specifically, you are asked to do the following:

  • Identify the processes that define you as a human being (e.g., digestion, sense perception) and that would be necessary to include in your replica.
  • Critically discuss whether you would propose a Cartesian or a physicalist model of the relationship between mind and body in order to create your replica. To “critically” discuss your proposed model, you must: a. explain either the Cartesian or the physicalist model; and b. weigh the pros and cons of whichever model you think would work best for your replica.
  • Using Locke’s theory of personal identity, present the criteria by which your replica will remain the same person over time.

Further Specifications:

  • You do not need to write a standard introduction with a thesis statement, as you have been required to do for earlier philosophy papers. You may simply begin with something like: “I am Professor [YOUR NAME] at Florida International University, and I am submitting a proposal to create a replica of myself.”
  • You should make use of the primary sources we studied (e.g., Descartes’ Meditations). You should not exclusively rely on secondary sources.
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