Locke's Person Identity Essay

2068 words - 9 pages

Identify is needed to determine existence. How to you determine the existence of an object according to John Locke it must be compared in a state via a determine place and time, to itself at a separate place and time (Locke 367L). An object cannot exist at the same time in two separate places. For example, a 20 ounce bottle of coke at a gas station in Kentucky and another 20 ounce bottle of coke in an airport in Denver do not share the same identity. This is because while they may share every single trait, the fact that they exist in separate places at the same time makes them separate objects that do not share the same identity.
From this brief understanding of identity Locke creates ...view middle of the document...

This concept of one life being the basis for identity in living things extends to animals as well.
To understand the identity of humans, Locke makes an important distinction between man and person. Locke defines man as, “nothing else but of an animal such a certain form” (369R). Man for Locke is, “not the idea of thinking or rational being … but of a body” (369R). Thus man is similar to that of an animal or a plant its existence rests upon the functional organization of life that exists within it. A person’s identity however does not depend on the same organization. A person is, “a thinking intelligent being that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places, which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and, … essential to it.” (370L). Thus the ability to reason through consciousness creates a distinction between man and person. Where man has identity just like an animal does through one shared life and a person has identify through its consciousness.
The concept of identity of a person being based in consciousness requires further explanation. Consciousness does not necessarily need to be made out of the same substance. Locke writes it, “does not concern personal identity at all, the question being what makes the same person, and not whether it is the same identical substance which always thinks in the same person” (370R). As long as the substances whether different or the same, “can repeat the idea of any past action with the same consciousness it had of it at first” (370L), personal identity remains unchanged. The identity of person stays the same when they can pass actions (370L). This concept can be simplified to state: a person stage S1 and S2 are parts of the same person if and only if S1 and S2 share on consciousness/parts of one consciousness. S1 and S2 are parts of one consciousness if and only if S1 can remember the thoughts, actions, and experiences of S2. For Locke it can then be understood that no matter how the current consciousness is formed, what substances it is made out of, do not matter as long as it can reproduce past actions.
Locke’s theory allows for there to be one person with many bodies; one body with many persons. The first concept of one person with many bodies, contrasts with the Materialist account of identity. Materialism holds x is a person if and only if x is a human body. For the Materialist a person stage S1 and S2 are parts of the same person if and only if S1 and S2 are parts of the same human body. Identity is not derived from having the same consciousness, but from having the same body. The materialist’s account is similar to Locke’s account of man, not his account of person. This difference can be noticed in Locke’s scenario of the prince and the cobbler. In the scenario the consciousness of both the prince and cobbler switch, so that the consciousness that the prince previously had...

Find Another Essay On Locke's Person Identity

The Beliefs of Locke and Newton, Inspired Jonathan Edwards

1521 words - 6 pages In Jonathan Edwards's The Nature of True Virtue his beliefs of following God's supremacy leads to moral beauty, the virtue in nature, and the selflessness of true virtue will unite society all stem from John Locke's beliefs of the social contract, Isaac Newton's belief of the logical perfection of nature, and both of their beliefs of human morality. An important point which Edwards writes in his sermon is his belief that when man is truly

dsad Essay

690 words - 3 pages , therefore I am.” Hence, by this philosophy, one’s self remains constant as there is continuity in our mind or soul. Still, English philosopher John Locke contested the Cartesian argument, which relies upon the assumption that the identity of a person as inextricably linked to the identity of an immaterial substance. Rather, the lynchpin of the continuity of self was considered to be the continuity of memory. To Locke, the consciousness of past actions

Personal Identity: Philosophical Views

1278 words - 5 pages Personal Identity: Philosophical Views Alan Watts once said, "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." The task of personal identity is to define a quality of a human which makes him or her a unique self. The person whose identity is in question must realize themselves, and other people must identify this person. In other words, what makes John unique from Bob? One must consider both internal (mind

Personal Identity, philosophical Views

1392 words - 6 pages Alan Watts once said, 'Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.' The task of personal identity is to define a quality of a human which makes him or her a unique self. The person whose identity is in question must realize themselves, and other people must identify this person. In other words, what makes John unique from Bob? One must consider both internal (mind) and external (body) perspectives. There are several general

Amnesia: Who Are You Anyway?

1196 words - 5 pages Amnesia: Who Are You Anyway? "Should the soul of a prince, carrying with it the consciousness of the prince's past life, enter and inform the body of a cobbler, as soon as deserted by his own soul, every one sees he would be the same person with the prince, accountable only for the prince's actions: but who would say it was the same man?" --"Of Identity and Diversity", John Locke "Where am I? How did I get here?" "You were in a car

Critically Examine Pythagoras This is an examination of Pythagoras's philosophy

1166 words - 5 pages onto further issues around the topic of personal identity. According to Jonathon Barnes the soul is; "...the seat of consciousness and of personality; a mans psuche is whatever makes him the person he is, whatever is responsible for his particular self and personality. Metempsychosis is the doctrine of the transcorporation of the self; and the psuche is the self. It is this which gives Pythagoras' theory a potential philosophical interest; for

School System

1265 words - 5 pages desirable.However, under that light, many written works fall under the title "transcendentalism"! After all, particularly in modern poetry, the author usually is expressing a very personal point of view, frequently framed in an "unconventional" meter that further expresses his or her meaning.Ralph Waldo Emerson gave the German philosopher Immanuel Kant the credit for making "Transcendentalism" a familiar term. Contrary to Locke's theory, that before

What do gender theorists mean when they claim that gender is a 'social construct'?

1654 words - 7 pages all people were born with a blank slate (a tabula rasa.) He believed that male and female identity is constructed through one's early experiences, and that every aspect of human behaviour is learned from our surroundings. In other words, our gender is not biological; it must be taught to us. Let us look at the Western world in comparison to other parts of the world. In countries such as Iraq, males are evidently more dominant than females. The

Tolerance, Liberalism, and Community

3297 words - 13 pages competing factions. This peace-keeping function requires that the state intervene when one person (or group) interferes with another's pursuit of happiness or salvation. In exercising this role, sometimes fine distinctions will need to be made, and there is room for worry that in the guise of peace-keeping the state will really work to promote a favored vision of the worthy way of life. Still, this liberal principle tells us what to worry about in

My Study Notes from Chapter 1(History, Theory, & Research Strategies) from Development Through the Lifespan, 3rd ed. By: Laura E. Berk. ISBN: 0-205-39157-5

4716 words - 19 pages from damaging effects of stressful life events. Personal Characteristics- A child's biologically endowed characteristics can reduce exposure to risk or lead to experiences that compensate for early stressful events. A Warm Parental Relationship- A close relationship w/ at least 1 parent who provides affection & assistance & introduces order & organization into the child's life fosters resiliency.Social Support Outside the Immediate Family- A person


6084 words - 24 pages performed and the competencies required by the person who will perform it (Stone 1998). Job design also facilitates the achievement of organizational goals and performance of the work the job was established to accomplish. A well-designed job can help to maximize productivity and job performance. The symptoms of poor job design include absenteeism, turnover, low productivity and poor morale; often these symptoms are treated rather than the cause.What

Similar Essays

If You Know You Have Alzheimer's, How Do You Regard The Person Who Will Inherit Your Body? Is That Person You? How Is This Case Connected With Philosophical Theories Of Personal Identity?

769 words - 3 pages definite weakness in Locke's theory. I would suggest that if one remembers ones actions and then forgets them, it does not indicate the end of a person's existence and the 'birth' or creation of a new person. It indicates, rather, the need for Locke's theory to be revised and updated for it to uphold relevance in the argument of personal identity.Locke's theory can also be seen as offering incoherent statements about personal identity, as seen by

What Is The Self? Essay

790 words - 4 pages What is personal identity? Surely most people have some rough idea of what it is, but there is more to it than what people think. So often people in life assume for the sake of assuming not aware of how little they actually know. On the topic of person identity there were two great philosophers David Hume, and John Locke both of whom held very different views on the topic, but they both show just how deep this topic can be. Hume's "Of personal

Locke Paper

1223 words - 5 pages I will argue that Locke believed that if you remain the same person, there are various entities contained in my body and soul composite that do not remain the same over time, or that we can conceive them changing. These entities are matter, organism (human), person (rational consciousness and memory), and the soul (immaterial thinking substance). This is a intuitive interpretation that creates many questions and problems. I will evaluate Locke's

John Locke Personal Idenity Essay

569 words - 2 pages personality through time. I am now usually described as talkative; but when I was ten, I was shy and quiet. When the two descriptions are empirically compared, they do not match. How could this shy, quiet boy be this talkative young man? Another alternative, which is similar to the psychological mode but not as obvious as the substantive, is John Locke's theory of personal identity. Locke claims that a person is the same person through time and space