Philosophy Compass 6 (6):398-407 (2011)

Authors
Shelley Weinberg
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Abstract
Locke’s account of personal identity has been highly influential because of its emphasis on a psychological criterion. The same consciousness is required for being the same person. It is not so clear, however, exactly what Locke meant by ‘consciousness’ or by ‘having the same consciousness’. Interpretations vary: consciousness is seen as identical to memory, as identical to a first personal appropriation of mental states, and as identical to a first personal distinctive experience of the qualitative features of one’s own thinking. There is wide agreement, however, that Locke’s theory of personal identity is meant to complement his moral and theological commitments to a system of divine punishment and reward in an afterlife. But these commitments seem to require also a metaphysical criterion, and Locke is insistent that it cannot be substance. The difficulty reconciling the psychological and metaphysical requirements of the theory has led, at worst, to charges of incoherence and, at best, to a slew of interpretations, none of which is widely accepted.
Keywords Locke  Consciousness  Personal Identity  17th c. Philosophy
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2011.00402.x
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References found in this work BETA

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1689 - Oxford University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Problems From Locke.J. L. Mackie - 1976 - Clarendon Press.
Identity.Peter T. Geach - 1967 - Review of Metaphysics 21 (1):3 - 12.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Personal Identity and Ethics.David Shoemaker - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Self-Consciousness.Joel Smith - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Locke on Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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