Soul Theory Personal Identity Essay

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It is worth noting that Locke does not actually provide any hints as to how we are to judge the verity of a person’s account of their memories in this scenario, instead placing his faith in the judgement of God[2].

William Molyneux makes an objection to Locke’s erasure of accountability for the drunkard, saying instead that the intoxicated person with no memory of their crime should be punished regardless.

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.

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.For this reason, Locke maintains an account of identity for living things that is unique, emphasising the “continuity of the same functional organisation… Locke then begins to build to his first premise, being that consciousness is what gives a living thing an identity.He starts by differentiating what is meant by ‘man’, a living thing, and what is meant by ‘person’, a particular type of consciousness[2].Furthermore, we spend much of our lives living in the present moment without a thought given to the past events of our lives.At first glance this may throw a considerable spanner in the works of Locke’s thesis, but is easily remedied by Locke’s quick counterargument. 115The Prince and the Cobbler Having established that personal identity lies in consciousness, and that in order to be the same person over time one must remember their past experiences, Locke tells us the story of the Prince and the Cobbler, a claim based on a theoretical transference of consciousness between bodies[1].When consciousness resumes, says Locke, it regains its memory of past events, thus re-establishing the continuity between past and present experiences.[1] Locke, (II. Locke uses the story to support his argument that a personal identity would remain intact if two people were to swap bodies, “as long as the same consciousness stays with the soul that inhabits the body”[2].It seems that Locke means that as long as someone remember their past experiences, then they are the same person in a different body.A man, according to Locke, refers to the body of a human being, our physical presence in reality.A person on the other hand, is first and foremost a human being, but more importantly, a living, thinking, intelligent being, capable of reason, reflection, and introspection, and “the same thinking thing at different times and places” [3].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].


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