Describe Locke 's Account Of Personal Identity

Decent Essays

2. Describe Locke’s account of personal identity, and explain how Schechtman’s notion of narrative might help solve the “breakfast” and the “brave officer” problems. John Locke’s account of personal identity is rooted in a general account of identity. The identity of living creatures “depends not on a mass of the same particles, but on something else” (Locke, 13). This is to say that our bodies are constantly changing and so is the substance that makes it. Before finding what personal identity consists of, it’s important to know what exactly a person is and according to Locke, 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 only does by consciousness (Locke, 14). When something is being perceived by a person, or if somebody smells, hears or tastes something, they are aware that this is happening during that moment. Consciousness always “accompanies thinking and this makes everyone to be what [Locke] calls self, and distinguishes one person from other thinking things, in this alone consists personal identity” (Locke, 14). There are two traditional solutions of personal identity. They are the sameness of the soul is what explains the identity and the sameness of the body is what explains the identity. Locke offers a different solution and speaks of the sameness of consciousness over time. For example, if there were two boats at sea, and one of

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