Affectivity in its Relation to Personal Identity

  • Abstract:

    When looking into the very support of the personal identity one of possible candidates is affectivity. At first glance, it could be a surprising suggestion given that emotions, feelings and affects are often considered as fleeting phenomena. Yet, if we proceed by reduction of components which are repeatable or imitable, affectivity appears to be an element which could hardly be quoted or borrowed. In other word, a quoted or remembered thought is still a thought, while a quoted or remembered feeling is no longer a feeling. Two persons can be like, even indistinguishable in their way of thinking but it seems improbable they are so in their way of feeling. If, then, identity is understood as what defines the person in her distinctness, affectivity could be accepted as a core of such distinctness, unrepeatability and uniqueness. If, on the other hand, personal identity is defined as what is lasting throughout the whole life of the person, then, one should wonder whether some of affective phenomena are not what support her personal identity. This is especially the case of some abiding and profound experiences which are built mainly by or through person’s affectivity. These are particularly those of her experiences which last the whole life despite several transformations of the personality. It is often the case that they distinguish the person from her environment more than her intellect. The paper will discuss some of arguments supporting the idea that affectivity is what sustains or builds personal identity in its momentary as well as long–lasting perspective.