Philosophy: John Locke, Personal Identity

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How can the same person exist at different times? Is about ____ identity
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numerical identity *not* qualitative identity (\”persistence question\”)
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numerical identity
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that a person at one time and a person at another time are one and the same – one thing rather than two (not different things at different times)
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qualitative identity
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that a person at one time and a person at another time are *exactly similar in qualities* (e.g. height, hair color, intelligence, shoe size)
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What personal identity is not: 3 common views Locke rejects
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1) same person = same body (physical body) 2) same person = same man (type of living thing) 3) same person = same soul (thinking substance)
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rejecting same person = same body
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body = collection of atoms, so one body = another body if they are the same collection of atoms – but then most minute changes to a body result in a different person (cell regeneration, splinter, Ship of Theseus)
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living thing, man
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– *living thing*: collection of atoms (body) that is functionally organized (e.g. a sunflower, ladybug, man) – *man*: type of living thing
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rejecting same person = same man
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– one living thing is same as another if it is the same functionally organized thing – being same functionally organized thing over time does not require having same body over time (e.g. an oak tree) – what if reincarnation were true? [prince dies and comes backs as a cobbler?] what if resurrection were true? [come back as your decayed body or a \”heavenly body\”?]
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soul
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thinking substance or thing
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one soul is *same as another soul* if
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it is the *same thinking thing* (does not require having same body or being the same man i.e. human being over time)
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rejecting same person = same soul
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\”If the same substance which thinks be changed, it can be the same person, or remaining the same, it can be a different person\” – think amnesia: same substance, different person – resurrection: different substance, same person)
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Locke’s account: being the same person is
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to have the same \”consciousness\”
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a \”consciousness\”
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a set of first-personal experiential memories (memories experienced from a first-personal point of view)
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One \”consciousness\” is the same as another \”consciousness\” if
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it has the same set of memories experienced from a first-personal point of view (does not require same body, same man, same soul)
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Consciousness can be transferred from one soul to another
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e.g. resurrection – the same person
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Consciousness can be lost while the soul remains the same
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e.g. amnesia – a different person
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Consciousness and awareness of one’s past
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\”As far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person\”
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Past responsibility requires
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memory of what one did – Sleep walking excuses responsibility—not the same person – Drunkenness or temporary insanity excuses responsibility—not the same person
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objection: \”But is not a man drunk and sober the same person [i.e. ‘man’]? Why else is he punished for the act that he commits when drunk, though he be neverafterwards conscious of it?\”
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\”Human judicatures justly punish him; because the fact is proven against him but want of consciousness cannot be proved for him\” – Justice based on reasonable evidence, responsibility is God’s; God won’t punish him
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criticisms of Locke’s account of personal identity: future intentions
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Isn’t the account of personal identity too backwards-looking? What about responsibility future intentions? (premeditated murder)
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criticisms of Locke’s account of personal identity: transitivity of identity
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– BO at 80 is the same person as brave officer at 30 – BO at 30 is the same person as Brave officer at 5 – BO at 80 is not the same person as brave officer at 5 –> But this is implausible because all identity relations are transitive

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