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  1. Well, I know who I am, of course. Don't I?

    What is personal identity, exactly? Quite elusive in reality. Some can argue that our identity lies within what we are, a system of limbs and organs. But then, what if we lose one of those limbs, or organs? We do not have any less of a sense of self do we? We still know what we like, what we don't like. We still have that general sense of personal identity. So where does it come from?

    Logically, the next place to turn to would be the mind. Our personality, our quirks, our thoughts, our mannerisms, they all come from the brain. That must be where our identity is placed. But then what if you encounter your clone counterpart, or a computer programmed to be exactly and completely you? Are they you? Or are you you?

    The point here is the tendency to think of "identity" as a thing, rather than an abstract idea. The identity is really just a specific set of designed properties that relies on no living organism. However, the clone or program would still be just a simulation, wouldn't it? You would be the tangible you.

    Ponder this. If you did encounter your clone, you would not be you to each other. Your first instinct would be, "Hey! That's not me, it's a clone!" The problem is, the clone would say the same exact thing. You are physiologically and psychologically the same. What makes you MORE you than the clone? Because you were first? How is that fair?

    The driving force behind this is that the notion of "identity" falls apart whenever you try to place it somewhere. Identity itself is a paradox. If you try to place it in the body, it unravels just as it would if you try to place it in the mind.

    So how do we know who we are?