The argument I shall address for this paper is found on page 385, from David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature. In Book 1, he takes a skeptic view on the philosophy of personal identity by making the claim that there is no such thing as a self. According to Hume, for there to be a self it must be constant and stable, yet all of our knowledge comes from ‘impressions’ (perceptions that come from sensory experience) that are only fleeting: “pain and pleasure, grief and joy, passions and sensations succeed each other, and never all exist at the same time,” (Hume 385). His first argument is structured as follows:
Personal Identity in philosophy refers to a person’s self-perception, ones belief about who they are and how they differ form others. Locke and Hume both share their ideas about Personal identity and although they might both drastically differ they are still both puzzling.
The purpose of this essay is to define what Personal Identity is by analyzing John Locke’s argument for Personal Identity. John Locke’s argument for Personal Identity will be examined, in order to establish a better understanding of whether or not the argument for personal identity could be embraced. In order to do so, the essay will i) State and explain Locke’s argument that we are not substances or mere souls and ii) State and explain Locke’s concept of personal identity and its relations to what he calls self, consciousness and punishment. This essay will also focus on Thomas Reid’s perspective on personal identity and iii) State and explain Reid’s criticisms of Locke’s theory of personal identity, and lastly iv) I will evaluate whether or not Reid’s objections are good. Locke’s argument may seem to be plausible at first, however, the essay will conclude by rejecting John Locke’s argument for personal identity due to Locke’s inadequate reasonings and Thomas Reid’s criticisms.
In his essay Of Identity and Diversity, Locke talks about the importance of personal identity. The title of his essay gives an idea of his view. Identity, according to Locke, is the memory and self consciousness, and diversity is the faculty to transfer memories across bodies and souls. In order to make his point more understandable, Locke defines man and person. Locke identifies a man as an animal of a certain form and a person as a thinking intelligent being. Furthermore, to Locke, a person has reasons and reflections and can consider itself as being itself in different times and places; and he/she does it with his/her consciousness (429). Basically, personal self is a particular body and personal identity is consciousness. In this
Personal identity is a concept within philosophy that has persisted throughout its history. In the eighteenth century this problem came to a head. David Hume dedicated a portion of his philosophy in the attempts to finally put what he saw as a fallacious claim concerning the soul to rest. In the skeptical wake of Hume, German idealist, beginning with Immanuel Kant, were left with a variety of epistemic and metaphysical problems, the least of which was personal identity.
Hume on the other hand, took a different approach to the idea of self. He believed that there in fact was no such thing as selfhood. Instead he asserts that “it must be some one impression, that gives rise to every real idea. But self…is not any one impression, but that to which our several impressions and ideas are supposed to have a reference…” (597). By this he implies that in order to form concrete ideas, ones impressions of pain, pleasure, joy, etc. must be invariable throughout time. This, Hume states, we know without a doubt to be impossible. Passions succeed each other over time and give rise to new passions, therefore “…it cannot be from any of these impressions…that the idea of self is derived, and consequently there is no such idea” (597).
Locke distinguishes between man and person. Locke’s theory talks about consciousness and how our consciousness makes our identity through our experiences. A person can be conscious, self-aware and rational. Consciousness to Locke is awareness of our body and
Personal identity, in a philosophical point of view, is the problem of explaining what makes a person numerically the same over a period of time, despite the change in qualities. The major questions answered by Locke were questions concerning the nature of identity, persons, and immorality (Jacobsen, 2016). This essay will discuss the three themes John Locke presents in his argument regarding personal identity, which are, the concept of categories, substance vs. man vs. person, and the continuity of consciousness.
Hume rejected lockes theory of experiencing cause. He argued that you do not feel the connection between your mind and arm, and thus don't sense the cause of the muscles contracting to raise your arm. Cause, in Hume's mind, is a synthetic experience used to explain the unobservable things in reality. To help explain he used the billiard ball experiement. Ball A is hit and put into motion towards ball B.When ball A collides with ball B the cause of ball B's movement is not experienced, there is no observable connection between the two. This would mean that there is no way to be certain that everytime Ball A collides with ball B that ball B will move, ball A could just as likely bounce off and begin rolling in a random direction. He believd that there is no way of knowing for certain the outcome of an event without being able to perceive the cause.
Locke’s argument for the memory criterion of personal identity, is that psychological continuity (the consciousness of past experiences) is the aspect that preservers our personal identity. Locke
John Locke states that personal identity is a matter of physiological continuity that is based on the consciousness of a person rather than the individual’s body. Personal identity is constituted by memory connections; specifically the depiction of autobiographical memory connections that result in constituting personal identity. John Locke states that a person’s personality and psychology can be transferred to another body and that individual can still stay the same person because the consciousness of the person did not change. This idea is known as transplant intuition. This intuition is the basis of the account of personal identity. If a cerebrum was removed from one body and transplanted into a different body, the transplant intuition
John Locke believes that personal identity depends on our consciousness and I agree with him because if we are not aware of ourselves then how can we know we exist. But Locke personal claims that personal identity is a matter of psychological continuity. Locke holds that consciousness can be transferred
A simple example of this is: The person is the same person as someone in the past if the person has the consciousness of the experience that the someone in the past did. Thus, the identity of a person is limited to how much the conscious of later person remembers their earlier conscious memories. Only then he is truly the same person or himself. But then this bring few questions: Can there be a the same thinking substance in different people or different thinking substance in the same person and how do we punish people? To answer the first question he believes that the issue lies whether a immaterial being with consciousness could have its consciousness of its past actions be completely removed then begin a life with new consciousness. Nonetheless if it was possible then Locke argues that there is no reason to say that the person who’s soul and conscious lived before the removal is the same person whose new consciousness took over. To answer the second part, Locke says that the answer depends on whether the conscious of the past actions can be transferred to another person who did not experience it. Locke believes this phenomenon is possible and if it was, would this person be the same person he was before? Yes. Using Locke’s theory where
Locke also believes that people have innate ideas through experiences. He has three explanations for this idea. Firstly, if we had innate ideas, we would know that we have them, which means that if you have ideas they are conscience and everything you think, you think you think. Secondly, if there were innate truths of reason we would all agree on them. Lastly, our memory cannot recall these innate ideas.
Moving forward the other philosophers that have differing opinions on the concept of person identity were David Humes and Rick Parfit. David Hume argued that human beings are not completely real. Instead he believed that “our identity as subjects of conscious experience and of practical agency which