Essay On John Locke On Personal Identity

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Notice, however, that the claim is not that consciousness can exist independent of a body or a mind, only that there is no reason to assume that consciousness is tied to any particular body or mind.Locke separates the idea of a substance, the idea of an organism, and the idea of a person.The identity of these three types of idea is determined by different criteria.What is much less intuitive is Locke's claim that a person's identity is separate from any immaterial substance (i.e. After all, consciousness is inextricably connected to thought, and the mind is defined as the thinking thing.Consciousness, though, Locke insists, is not tied to any one mind even if it does require some mind or other.It is Locke's third and final category of relational ideas, ideas of identity and diversity, that is of great importance to the history of philosophy. It is in the context of this discussion that Locke presents his theory of personal identity, that is, his theory of what makes us the same person over time.According to Locke, remaining the same person has nothing to do with remaining the same substance, either physical or mental.A person is defined as a thinking thing, and thought, as we have seen, is inseparable from consciousness (remember Transparency of the Mental).It is, therefore, in consciousness alone that identity must exist.By observing the similarities and differences, the mind derives further ideas, ideas of relation.For instance, we might compare our simple ideas of two patches of color and notice that one is of a different size than the other, thereby getting the idea of bigger and the idea of smaller.


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