Analyzing the Views of Mackenzie and Schechtman on Personal Identity
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Mackenzie and Schechtman on Personal Identity
The concept of personal identity or personhood is a very complex area of philosophy that challenges our most basic understandings of mind and matter. Philosophers have generally settled into either the school of mind, or consciousness, and the school of body. As our ability to study the mind grows, through developments in psychology and neurology, consciousness-based theories have come to dominate the discussion of personal identity and body-based theories appear simplistic and even primitive. Thesis: Catriona Mackenzie, however, compels the field to make a renewed examination of the body by pointing out that the body is the very apparatus by which the self interacts with world, thereby shaping all of the experiences which constitute memory and consciousness.
Schectman's highly influential theory of narrative self-construction represents the best of the consciousness-based theories on personal identity. Schechtman's theory is ground in the ideas of John Locke, who theorized that the self was not the continuation of an immaterial soul or a material body, but rather the continuation of consciousness. Locke defined a person as "...a thinking, intelligent Being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider it self as it self, the same thinking thing in different times and places." (Schechtman, 1994, 5.4). In other words, Locke believes that the subject must have the ability to be self-conscious in order to be a