Essay on john locke on personal identity

Thinking Matter, Immateriality of the Soul and Immortality In giving us his estimate of the limits of human understanding, Locke made some claims which surprised his contemporaries.

Essay on john locke on personal identity

Philosophical intuition[ edit ] Bernard Williams presents a thought experiment appealing to the intuitions about what it is to be the same person in the future.

For the first approach Williams suggests that suppose that there is some process by which subjecting two persons to it can result in the two persons have " exchanged " bodies.

The process has put into the body of person B the memoriesbehavioral dispositionsand psychological characteristics of the person who prior to undergoing the process belonged to person A ; and conversely with person B.

To show this one is to suppose that before undergoing the process person A and B are asked to which resulting person, A-Body-Person or B-Body-Person, they wish to receive a punishment and which a reward. Upon undergoing the process and receiving either the punishment or reward, it appears to that A-Body-Person expresses the memories of choosing who gets which treatment as if that person was person B; conversely with B-Body-Person.

This sort of approach to the thought experiment appears to show that since the person who expresses the psychological characteristics of person A to be person A, then intuition is that psychological continuity is the criterion for personal identity.

The second approach is to suppose that someone is told that one will have memories erased and then one will be tortured. Does one need to be afraid of being tortured? The intuition is that people will be afraid of being tortured, since it will still be one despite not having one's memories.

Next, Williams asked one to consider several similar scenarios. However, the last scenario is an identical scenario to the one in the first scenario.

To resolve this conflict Williams feels one's intuition in the second approach is stronger and if he was given the choice of distributing a punishment and a reward he would want his body-person to receive the reward and the other body-person to receive the punishment, even if that other body-person has his memories.

Psychological continuity[ edit ] In psychologypersonal continuity, also called personal persistence or self-continuity, is the uninterrupted connection concerning a particular person of his or her private life and personality. Personal continuity is the union affecting the facets arising from personality in order to avoid discontinuities from one moment of time to another time.

Personal continuity is the property of a continuous and connected period of time [27] [28] and is intimately related to do with a person's body or physical being in a single four-dimensional continuum.

Essay on john locke on personal identity

Associations can result from contiguitysimilarity, or contrast. Through contiguity, one associates ideas or events that usually happen to occur at the same time. Some of these events form an autobiographical memory in which each is a personal representation of the general or specific events and personal facts.

From the SparkNotes Blog

Ego integrity is the psychological concept of the ego 's accumulated assurance of its capacity for order and meaning. Ego identity is the accrued confidence that the inner sameness and continuity prepared in the past are matched by the sameness and continuity of one's meaning for others, as evidenced in the promise of a career.

Body and ego control organ expressions. For John Noon, David Hume undertook looking at the mind—body problem.

Hume also investigated a person's character, the relationship between human and animal nature, and the nature of agency. Hume pointed out that we tend to think that we are the same person we were five years ago.

Though we've changed in many respects, the same person appears present as was present then. We might start thinking about which features can be changed without changing the underlying self. Hume, however, denies that there is a distinction between the various features of a person and the mysterious self that supposedly bears those features.

When we start introspecting, "we are never intimately conscious of anything but a particular perception; man is a bundle or collection of different perceptions which succeed one another with an inconceivable rapidity and are in perpetual flux and movement". It is likewise evident that as the senses, in changing their objects, are necessitated to change them regularly, and take them as they lie contiguous to each other, the imagination must by long custom acquire the same method of thinking, and run along the parts of space and time in conceiving its objects.

Hume, similar to the Buddha[48] compares the soul to a commonwealthwhich retains its identity not by virtue of some enduring core substance, but by being composed of many different, related, and yet constantly changing elements.

The question of personal identity then becomes a matter of characterizing the loose cohesion [o] of one's personal experience.


Critics of Hume state in order for the various states and processes of the mind to seem unified, there must be something which perceives their unity, the existence of which would be no less mysterious than a personal identity.

Hume solves this by considering substance as engendered by the togetherness of its properties. No-self theory[ edit ] The "no-self theory" [q] holds that the self cannot be reduced to a bundle because the concept of a self is incompatible with the idea of a bundle.

Propositionallythe idea of a bundle implies the notion of bodily or psychological relations that do not in fact exist. James Gilesa principal exponent of this view, argues that the no-self or eliminativist theory and the bundle or reductionist theory agree about the non-existence of a substantive self.

The reductionist theory, according to Giles, mistakenly resurrects the idea [r] of the self [49] in terms of various accounts about psychological relations. On Giles' reading, Hume is actually a no-self theorist and it is a mistake to attribute to him a reductionist view like the bundle theory.

Hume's assertion that personal identity is a fiction supports this reading, according to Giles. But sense of self breaks down when considering some events such as memory loss[u] split personality disorderbrain damagebrainwashingand various thought experiments.John Locke speaks of personal identity and survival of consciousness after death.

A criterion of personal identity through time is given. Such a criterion specifies, insofar as that is possible, the necessary and sufficient conditions for the survival of persons.

Essay on john locke on personal identity

In his essay Of Identity and Diversity, Locke talks about the importance of personal identity. The title of his essay gives an idea of his view. Identity, according to Locke, is the memory and self consciousness, and diversity is the faculty to transfer memories across bodies and souls/5(1).

Free Essay: The question of personal identity is very intuitive, yet very difficult to define. Essentially, what makes you, you? John Locke was one. Locke added his Chapter “Of Identity and Diversity” (II) which gives his account of identity and personal identity to the second edition of the Essay.

His account of personal identity is embedded in a general account of identity. John Locke () said ‘To find wherein personal identity consists, we must consider what person stands for ’ (Locke, in set book, p. ). Therefore, to recapitulate Locke’s philosophy on personal identity it is necessary to clarify how he inimitably used the term ‘person’ and.

John Locke, \Of Identity and Diversity" Chapter XXVII of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 2nd Ed. Idea of Identity suited to the Idea it is applied to. It is not therefore unity of substance that comprehends all sorts of identity, or will determine it in every case;.

John Locke > Some issues in Locke’s Philosophy of Mind (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)