Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Personality, personality!

If anyone ever came up to me and asked what the first thing I think of when the word “personality” is mentioned, I can safely say this video is what comes to mind:

Fortunately, this post isn’t about Cheez Whiz or its many personality-fortifying qualities, but more about if personalities even exist.

As most of us know, we tend to establish relationships with other people by making connections, and the easiest people to connect with are those who have similar interests or possess a compatible personality, but how exactly do we determine what a personality is?

One widely debated issue amongst philosophers is whether or not personality (mind) and body are distinct. We know that our brains store memories, which heavily influence our decisions throughout everyday life and our behaviors, but what exactly is the mind? Is it a spiritual thing or is it really all in our brains? If it’s the latter; in the event of a brain transplant, would our minds be transferred to another body? Is our body really just a shell to carry our brains?

Now, the idea of memories essentially making up your personality was touched upon a few times in class. I personally believe this to be true, because when you really think about it, if your five senses were to be taken away, you’d essentially be a lifeless shell. You can’t see, hear, smell, touch or taste anything. You would not have any memories to speak of and most certainly would be devoid of a personality. I don’t believe you are born with a personality of any sort- you are born with senses (some may be missing due to biological issues).

So then, what exactly is a personality? We universally seem to accept the concept of personalities as distinctive qualities and traits that make up one’s character. The next question is, where do these traits and qualities come from? Why, the paragraph above was completely dedicated to the idea that all of us depend heavily on memories, ideas and experiences. Without them, you wouldn’t be you.

… But even with that being said, why exactly do people still go through identity crises? Why do we still constantly question who we are and why does it really hit us hard? People constantly search for their “true self”, but what exactly is it? We are our memories, but most of us can’t seem to accept that our memories are us.

 

 

One Response to Personality, personality!

  1. Nice post, and well-reasoned. I agree with your scepticism. We take concepts like ‘personality’ for granted, but when we try to examine exactly what we mean by that, it’s not at all clear. And it calls into question not only things like personality tests, but also what we are doing when we ‘personalize’ something.

     

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