Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Elements of Identity

So, I've discussed the ideas I've been tossing around about personal identity. Thus far I've gone through and defined the terms I want to use, and how (in my mind) I've categorised the different forms of personal identity. Mainly, they come down to four major categories, with subcategories underneath them. In some cases, I'm not sure if I'm confident about the definitions - I think I may be thinking about the same thing from two different directions...

Biological identity: the biological and physical self - the body and its aspects that are the source of one's own physical identity. The body exists before everything else.

Bio-physical identity: The continuity of body tissue back from the origin of the identity. Cells are created, shed, and die, but there remains a continuity: the new cells are attached to tissues that have their origin at the origin of the biological identity.

Genetic identity: the more-or-less unique genetic code that (to an approximation) every cell in a single body carries.

Bio-metric identity: the compiled aspects of the physical structure or function of the body that are believed to be fixed and unique to each individual: retinal patterns, fingerprints, voice-prints, handwriting. Facial recognition is a low-resolution form of bio-metric identification.

Geographical identity: the identity inherent to having a physical location within a 4th dimensional co-ordinate system.

Psychological identity
: that which defines the individual mind as a unique object.

Ego identification: the individual ego's perception of itself as a defined individual. The perception that the ego is itself and not another.

Continuity of memory: the individual mind's recollection of being a unique identity back to the origin of the identity itself. The memory of having been or creating other forms of identity.

Social identity
: the perception of the self by others as a unique individual. One's social identity allows others to determine that the identity is that person and not another.

Textual identity: the content of one's utterances and texts. Especially those ideas, beliefs, opinions, and other expressions that allows one to be identified as an individual.

Stylistic identity: related to textual identity. The body of stylistic features to one identity's language use, artistic expression, body language, or mode of interaction that defines the self as an individual.

Data-point identity: related to continuity of memory and codestring identity, data-point identity is the collection of personal and abstract facts that a person is expected to know as a unique individual. This differs from codestring identity in that each data point may be brought out in an identity challenge in an unpredictable fashion. It is related, somewhat, to continuity of memory.

Document identity: one's unique identity as defined by the documents issued by a social authority: passport, birth certificate, work/school I.D., and so on.

Ownership identity: having ownership of a set of physical objects and claim to a given set of geographical spaces as one's own.

Nominal identity: having a single, individual name.

Informational identity: the form of identity that accrues to having a presence within the manifold defined as the contemporary digital realm.

Codestring identity: those series of alpha-numeric strings that identify oneself within various communication systems: telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, account logins and passwords, financial account numbers, etc.

Network geography: one's more-or-less unique location within the digital information manifold: one's current I.P. address, cell-phone access point, etc. Somewhat related to geographical identity, but not necessarily congruent.


Anonymous said...

I love these defining criteria. Humans are complicated, are they not? Keep on trucking.

Well done, I might add, even if I am your mother.

the Strange Black Cat said...

And what about non-biological intelligences?