Locke an essay concerning human understanding personal identity

Deletions are indicated with. Another occasion the mind often takes of comparing, is the very being of things, when, considering anything as existing at any determined time and place, we compare it with itself existing at another time, and thereon form the ideas of identity and diversity. When we see anything to be in any place in any instant of time, we are sure be it what it will that it is that very thing, and not another which at that same time exists in another place, how like and undistinguishable soever it may be in all other respects: For we never finding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude, that, whatever exists anywhere at any time, excludes all of the same kind, and is there itself alone.

Locke an essay concerning human understanding personal identity

Locke an essay concerning human understanding personal identity

To illustrate this he evokes a series of thought experiments, including that of a man who believes himself to have the soul of Socrates, without possessing any memories of Socrates thoughts or actions. This illustrates his idea that sharing the same immaterial soul without sharing consciousness is no better grounds for personal identity than sharing the same particle without consciousness.

However, major faults can be found both in his basic reasoning, and in his overly simplistic empiricism regarding memories and consciousness. Consciousness, according to Butler, presupposes identity and thus cannot constitute it; I remember an experience because it is mine, as opposed to it being mine based on my ability to remember it.


Our own memories frequently prove themselves to be unreliable, out of our control or fragmented. Narrative theories of the self suggest that all memories are fictional constructs, stories which we reimagine in the moment instead of passive facts or pieces of our past which we can choose to recall at will.

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Locke an essay concerning human understanding personal identity

Give Abigail Fisher a round of applause. From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.The two most important of these are Locke’s remarks in Book IV, Chapter 3 section 6 of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding that for all we know God could just as easily make matter fitly disposed to think as He could add thought to an immaterial substance; the second is the revolutionary theory of personal identity that Locke added in.

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding | essay by Locke | ph-vs.com

John Locke considered personal identity (or the self) to be founded on consciousness (viz. memory), and not on the substance of either the soul or the ph-vs.com II Chapter XXVII entitled "On Identity and Diversity" in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding () has been said to be one of the first modern conceptualizations of consciousness as the repeated self-identification of oneself.

Essay II John Locke xxvii: Identity and diversity also covertly relative, in the same way as ‘young’ and old’. A large apple is smaller than a small horse. In his essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke argues for a view of personal identity as being a matter of subjective psychological continuity, which .

Locke states there are three substances that we have ideas of and that have identities. He defines idea in Essay concerning Human Understanding as “whatsoever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks” (Essay, chapter 1, section 8). That is to say that an idea, to Locke, is the basic unit of human thought.

John Locke, \Of Identity and Diversity" Chapter XXVII of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 2nd Ed.

John Locke (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

and everywhere, and therefore concerning his identity there can be no doubt. Secondly, FINITE SPIRITS having had each its determi- to the understanding. 3. Identity of modes and relations.

Personal identity - Wikipedia