Locke and Personal Identity

In this selection from Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, we are presented with his criterion persons and identity. Do we have a reason to believe that Locke’s criteria for personal identity still apply if we downloaded into a computer? Are you still yourself if you exist only within the confines of a computer program? On the part of Locke, this is an attempt to answer the question of whether there is such a thing as the immortal and immaterial soul. ‘Soul’ should be understood in the same sense here as it is discussed throughout Christianity. What is entailed by this theory is an explanation for memory, and consequentially, consciousness. Such a theory allows for us to account for why each of us can exist from moment to moment and still be identified as ourselves

Give exposition to Locke’s position, and then consider the example of Prince and the Cobbler that he provides. Should we accept Locke’s argument that there is a distinction between persons and bodies? Do we require a unified substance, or third unifying substance to be who we are?

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