Soul Theory Personal Identity Essay

If, as Locke says, personal identity is based solely on consciousness and that only I can be aware of my own consciousness, then other people have no way of knowing whether they’re judging the same person, or merely the same body.

Therefore, if someone commits a crime while they are intoxicated, and claim that they have no memory of the incident, then that person is “only responsible for the acts for which [they] are conscious” [1].

In essence, how I know where I am, what I am, and what has happened in my past means that I know I am me, and can separate myself from other living things.

This experience of current mental states, self-awareness and awareness of times past is what Locke constitutes as consciousness, and that it is inseparable from thinking. Whilst Locke has given us a definition of personal identity, he proceeds to say that our identity is dictated by our ability to extend our consciousness “to any past action or thought”[1].

Constituted by its collection of atoms which are the same at any one point in time, living things can maintain their form over time, despite any changes in their atomic structure.

However, living things are also aware of present mental states at any given point in time.This account quite drastically differs from the concepts of identity put forward by Descartes and the Cartesians, whereby the soul is the bearer of personal identity[2]; There have been countless objections to Locke’s theory and its integral arguments since the was published, with several philosophers criticizing Lockean personal identity theory as ‘circular’ and ‘illogical’[3].In this paper, I will attempt to argue for the stance that Locke’s memory theory, whilst hugely influential and revolutionary, does not hold up to the objections given by his contemporaries.Though the prince may remember his past experiences and be the same .I would briefly like to mention an incredibly short, but perhaps valid argument against Locke’s use of the Prince and the Cobbler.If, according to the logical positivism posited by members of the Vienna Circle, any statement must be able to be analytically or conclusively verifiable through observation and experiment[5].Since, even in our age of technology, there is no way to transfer consciousness from one vessel to another, I would argue that any metaphysical argument Locke has for the transference of consciousness between bodies is , we encounter an unavoidable problem proposed by Locke’s account of personal identity.Perhaps the most interesting and controversial of the topics covered in the are the chapters devoted to Locke’s account of personal identity.In this section of the Essay, Locke puts forward a thesis that suggests psychological continuity is what constitutes personal identity[1].In other words, our identity can only exist as far back as we can remember.As previously mentioned, Locke’s criterion for sameness lies in the continuity of the same functional organisation between two points in time, then consciousness becomes the continual link between the past and present self.


Comments Soul Theory Personal Identity Essay

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