The Moral Dimension in Locke's Account of Persons and Personal Identity

History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (3):229-247 (2014)
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I offer an interpretation of John Locke’s account of persons and personal identity that gives full credit to Locke’s claim that “person” is a forensic term, sheds new light on the relation between Locke’s characterizations of a person in sections 9 and 26, and explains how Locke links his moral and legal account of personhood to his account of personal identity in terms of sameness of consciousness. I show that Locke’s claim that sameness of consciousness is necessary for personal identity depends on two components: first, his particular moral and legal conception of a person and, second, his particular understanding of the conditions of just accountability for past actions. Had Locke given a different account of personhood, or thought differently about the conditions of just accountability, he might have given a nonpsychological account of personal identity.



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Ruth Boeker
University College Dublin

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Madness as method: on Locke’s thought experiments about personal identity.Kathryn Tabb - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (5):871-889.

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