Locke proposed great ideas concerning the understanding of personal identity. The notion of man and how it is different from what a person is helps to understand many scenarios such as: two persons switching bodies or a person switching his body with an animal. Locke’s ideas regarding two souls being able to be the same person or one soul being able to be different persons are also very interesting. However, I do not fully agree with some aspects of Locke’s theory of memory.
In a state of nature, each man, as the possessor of reason and free will, is cognitively independent and equal, and so, by implication, politically independent and equal (Braman 07). Locke knew that men were there own learning tools within themselves. Not only did they learn from there mistakes, which was known for centuries, but, they also grew from one another and took what they needed for there own well mental development (Braman 09) Just like mankind has been doing for as long as anyone can remember, they have been working there owns ways of life out for themselves and to learn from one another and not from someone or something telling you how you should be living.
“A person is a thinking, intelligent being which has reason and can consider itself as itself” (167). This quote, by philosopher John Locke, is influential when discussing his views on identity. In Locke’s Essay, book II, chapter 27, he goes into great depth on two theories dealing with the identity of objects as well as the personal identity of humans.
The idea of finding one’s “identity” is an age old journey, but not often is the concept of identity in itself questioned. Identity is a social construct based on the ideology that each person has a specific “state of being” that impacts their opinions, actions, and
Locke first outlined his view of personal identity in Chapter XXVII of book II in ‘An Essay concerning Human Understanding’ however faced a number of criticisms. This essay will assess how convincing John Locke’s account of personal identity is, whilst analyzing Reid and Berkeley’s criticisms of his view. Locke’s psychological account of personal identity is not a persuasive one due to the inconsistencies that are highlighted by Reid and Berkeley and I will defend this view in this essay. Locke’s account of personal identity leads to a number of contradictions which he attempts to respond to, however whilst barely addressing the criticisms he faces, his responses are also unsuccessful as both Reid and Berkeley counter each response further.
John Locke is one philosopher that has thoughts on personal identity. Locke thought that personal identity is an element of psychological continuity. It’s our beliefs and intentions that are important to ourselves, that they are needed and helps our character. Another factor of personal identity is individuals are their bodies. That means that the relationship between personal identity and human physical relations. Everyone’s bodies are different they distinct from the life and character.
Locke first splits substances of which we have ideas into three groups; God, finite intelligences, and bodies. Locke writes that identity is ascertained by a comparison between the idea of an object at one moment in one place, and the idea of the object at another time and place. If these two ideas match up, that is to say that they are exactly the same, then the object itself is the same. God’s identity is indubitable, as he is eternal and unchanging. Finite intelligences and Bodies each have an exact beginning, and when you compare the current finite intelligence or body to its beginning you can understand its identity. An object cannot have two distinct beginnings in time and space, and two objects cannot share in one beginning. As such, finite intelligences and bodies each have unique beginnings which identify them. Locke’s idea of personal identity is based on the same principal of continued comparison as the identities of the three substances.
This paper will argue that the philosopher John Locke would have agreed that the human being Karla Faye Tucker should have been executed. I will start by examining the fundamental difference between a human being and a person as forwarded by Locke. In addition, this paper will address what identity over time or what it means to be the same person over a period of time is. I will then show that through Locke's personal opinions, he would have believed that the human being Karla Faye Tucker was the same person who committed the crime 14 years ago and is thus culpable for punishment. A strong objection to my argument however is of Hume's opinion or lack of opinion (account or lack of account) on personal identity. Hume argues that the concept of personal identity is a falsification and that our personal identity is nothing more than a collection of memories which we bundle together as memories. I will counter-argue however that "
The personal identity continues to be same since a person is the same rational thing, same self, and thus the personal identity never changes (Strawson, 2014). Locke also suggests that personal identity has to change when the own self-changes and therefore even a little change in the personal identity has to change the self. He also provides an argument that a person cannot question what makes something today to remain the same thing it was a day ago or yesterday because one must specify the kind of thing it was. This is because something might be a piece of plastic but be a sharp utensil and thus suggest that the continuity of consciousness is required for something to remain the same yesterday and today. John Locke also suggests that two different things of a similar type cannot be at the same time at the same place. Therefore, the criteria of the personal identity theory of Locke depends on memory or consciousness remaining the same (Strawson, 2014). This is because provided a person has memory continuity and can remember being the same individual, feeling, thinking, and doing specific things, the individual can remain to be the same person irrespective of bodily
Locke argues that personal identity is not measured through anything physical or observable, but rather, a person’s ability to recall the past memories and the connections between them. Although Weirob would argue otherwise, stating that the body and the conscious must have some connection and exclusivity, however Locke offers an interesting example as a rebuttal. He argues, if one were to take a knife and cut their own pinkie finger off, they would still be the same person with the same memories, regardless of what body parts remain attached or otherwise. In addition, he argues that identity is also dependent on the idea that two things cannot be the same and exist in two places. By their nature, being in two different locations makes them different, inherently. The implications of this view have been well challenged by Weirob, and the two conditions described by Locke coincide one another. If identity is unobservable by anyone but themselves through memory recall, how can you prove there isn’t someone out there with the same real memory recall? If it can only be proven inside our own minds, how would anyone be able to prove that someone doesn’t have the same memories without some form of telepathy? As we can assume telepathy is unlikely, what can be drawn from this conclusion is
Thomas Reid presented his criticism of Locke through an anecdote. Essentially, Thomas illustrates that if an old man remembers himself being victorious in battle as a young man, then him as a senior and a young man (middle age) have the same identity. In addition, when he was a young man he remembered being punished as a young boy (child) for being disobedient, which would entail that the man in battle and the young boy share the same identity. However, the old man does not have any recollection of being punished as a young boy, meaning the young boy does not share the same identity as the senior or old man. This proposes an inherent problem in Locke’s theory, since the man shares two sets of identities that overlap and contradict each
One of Locke’s statements that he discusses is that of an individual’s own person. Example, when an individual takes away something from nature through his/her hard work, it will not be considered as “common property” of all mankind no more, because it would belong ONLY to himself. For instance, If an individual picks up (fruits) under a tree, the so called fruit will automatically belong to him at the moment they were gathered, rather than at the
Review all beliefs for clarity and coherence.”(South University Online) Different from Descrate and his philosophy, empiricist John Locke had different thoughts on the mind and body. Locke felt that what really lead to knowledge of things was our experiences beginning at the time we are born, he believed that our brains were blank with no knowledge or information and only existed until our senses activated at the time we were born. Locke believed that as an individual lives life and grows older we are then filled with experiences that allows our mind to communicate with our bodies, something that Descrate was unable to answer since he believed that the mind and the body were totally separate. Locke also thought that some things just are for example, an object just is, whether it be broken, dissolved, melted, cut it just is because it remains the same, same volume, ounces and weight, this is known as the primary qualities, the secondary qualities he believed were created in the
Sameness of person consists not in sameness of soul nor the sameness of body, but in sameness of consciousness. According to the memory view, the personal identity is established by (genuine) memory-relations. Locke’s theory manifests the idea that rather than being tied to our physical bodies, our identity is bound to our consciousness. Locke, in one of his works states that consciousness is the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind. Essentially, meaning that consciousness equals memories. Unlike, the conventional theories; bodily and soul view, Locke’s views that memory relations constitute “a person is a sequence of person-stages linked by (genuine) memory.” As personal identity is not bound by a constant component of a person to be present over a whole lifetime, neither body nor a soul.
Identity, an ambiguous idea, plays an important part in today’s world. To me identity can be defined as who a person is or what differentiates one person from another. Identity would be a person’s name, age, height, ethnicity, personality, and more. A quote by Anne Sexton states “It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was”(Anne Sexton). This quote helps me define identity because I believe it is saying that identity is what people are remembered by. When some people think of identity, words such as, uniqueness, distinctiveness, or individuality may come to mind. However, I disagree with this because when I think of identity I think of mimicry, self-consciousness, or opinions.