What is Personal Identity?

Although we often imagine our own identities as our bodies and thoughts, Miller makes a strong case that, despite this, our bodies are not the same as our personal identities. Miller explains that we are able to judge our personal identities without having to examine or judge our bodies. We are able to close our eyes, remain fully conscious, and remain aware of all of our thoughts and everything that exists around our identities. If we can judge our personal identities without examining our bodies, then our personal identities and bodies must exist separately. If they exist separately, then there is no correlation between the two and thus they are not the same. Miller’s argument is valid, because if all of the premises are true, then the conclusion is also true. The soundness of Miller’s argument could come into question by examining whether our bodies and personal identities do in fact exist separately. One could make the case that because our bodies (our brains) are the actors that create our identities, then the two cannot be separated. While this is an interesting point of discussion, we often use our bodies to create things that exist outside of ourselves. We can build houses, write novels, and plant trees. All of those externalities do not become apart of us. Therefore, it is equally possible that our identity exists as a creation of our bodies, and are not our bodies themselves.