Who Are Empiricists?

Decent Essays
Empiricists must prove through experience that we gain through our senses that we have personal identities. The problem is what senses are we considering as experience for our identity. Empiricists must establish if they are looking at identity as the mind, body, a combination of both, or none. There is a fundamental disagreement between Locke and Hume. Locke believes that our identities are the connection of observations of ourselves through our memories. However, Hume does not believe that there is a necessary connection between causes and effects; since he believes that our ideas ‘connection’ to each other is consequential, then identify defined as consciousness cannot exist. To Locke, an individual’s existence is the connections between…show more content…
Hume does not believe that there is a 'self' since we cannot pinpoint where the idea of our personal identity comes from. Hume explains that ‘impressions’ are perceptions we have through our senses and ‘ideas’ are when we reflect on our impressions (8). Ideas only appear to be more lively because we are reflecting on our impressions, but ideas are copies of our impressions (8). Hume does not believe in a necessary connection between cause and effect, and he believes it is consequential (31). He says that resemblance, contiguity, and causation are what connect our thoughts together (24). Hume adds, that experience only shows that it is one thing happening after another, but not that there is a connection (32). If this is the case, then Locke would have to argue that we are a combination of different identities and not one identity since we cannot make a direct connection to consciousness. We make connections because it is habitual to observe an event and then expect another to follow…show more content…
The problem is he does not prove it. As an empiricist, he should have to be able to prove personal identity through experience, but what we are left with is Descartes “I think, therefore I am.” Locke’s answer does not solve the problem of what makes me who I am. In the other hand, Hume essentially acknowledges that we cannot prove personal identity, that there is no possible way to prove identity empirically. Since we connect facts because of socialization and information from memory and senses (22), we can only infer that we have an identity. The big problem is that empiricists believe that we can prove everything through experience. However, whose experience of senses should I take as evidence for my identity? Mine or how other people experience me? Empiricism has the fundamental issue of contradicting experiences resulting in some questions left
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