By former Philosophy Foundation pupil Alfie Blagg, age 13.
This scary question may make our head hurt or make us panic. What actually makes a human person an individual and what changes through our lives effects who we are. Seven billion people live on Planet Earth today and every single one of them is different; by their facial features, skin colour, personal opinions, size, weight, height, DNA and many other differences. But we can’t deny the change our bodies and minds encounter through our lives. If one was to say that what defines us is our cells and how they are, that would be very incorrect because cells change every seven years.
You look in the mirror at yourself at twenty years old; you are youthful and feel almost immortal. It is the peak time in your life where you are most fit and you are ready for almost anything. Jump ten years into the future, experiences have changed the way you think and look, your cells have changed completely and you are far closer to death. In this time as a person you will have matured greatly. Apart from your name, what makes you the same person you were then? In other words, if, when you were twenty years old, you saw the thirty or forty year old future you, what would make you think it was you?
We need to take into consideration that although we may be the same mentally, we cannot deny the physical change which takes place through our bodies. Memories may be the thing that makes us feel individual, but we could be fooling ourselves and just telling a story.
We are still very naive in this vast universe and are unsure of the events that take place through our lives. Philosophers are very unaware of the changes that happen over our life time, it could be developing to make the person you’re meant to be, then slowly slipping down to death, or everyday you could be a new different person to the one you were the evening before.
This question is one of many fantastic questions in philosophy, it gets your brain into gear and helps us get step by step closer to finding out the answers of life and the universe.