'The Abyss' By Oliver Locke: The Foundation For Personal Identity

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Clive Wearing, an English musician, suffered from a severe brain infection that inhibited his ability to retain memories and knowledge after his sickness. In an article called “The Abyss”, Oliver Sacks reports that within every few seconds, Clive believes that he is “awake for the first time” (Sacks ). and claims that he was previously dead. Anything he then experiences in the short moment of time is sought to be real to him. He believes is occurring for the first time when in reality, it happened only minutes ago. Throughout time, he keeps a journal which demonstrates his repeated struggle. When recognizing previous handwriting, he believes that it occurred but not by him consciously and does not realize how it got there. Although his brain…show more content…
Personal identity is a nonphysical structure and cannot be found within the soul or in the body. Due to the separation between consciousness and body, Locke proclaims that physical injuries do not influence who somebody is. Personal identity is limited to an individuals compacity to continue the sameness of consciousness. Locke states that “whatever past actions [a man] cannot reconcile or appropriate to that present self by consciousness, can be no more concerned in than if [it] had never been done”, (Locke 4). which proclaims that the forgotten experience was not part of them at all. According to Locke, who a person is, can be tracked by their memories of their life previously. Therefore, Locke’s views imply the body of Clive is constantly harboring new consciousness that comprises different personal identities. Since each “new” life of Clive every few seconds is oblivious to the lives before, the multiple personal identities must not be a part of his present state or…show more content…
The story of Clive actually provides evidence to Hume’s claim that consistency is not present throughout life. Hume came to this conclusion through the perceptions he acquires by the scenes, but Clive’s experience is much more evident. He is literally starting from scratch every time he blinks, therefor, he never remains who he once was. This vivid transition exaggerates Hume’s point that all people have been influenced extensively at all moments of their lives while awake and are continuously taking on a new form of “entity” so to speak. Despite the fact that Hume’s outlook on who a person is corresponds with Clive, I have quite different views on which philosophical historian manifest my idea of what personal identity

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