Locke would probably respond that so long as the man on trial had some memories connecting his consciousness to the consciousness of his self at that earlier date, he could still be considered the same person, regardless of whether he remembered the specific crime.
All that is needed to retain personal identity is some link of continuity. If it were a substance, though, it would be able to exist independent of any mind at all. To say, then, that consciousness does not belong to any one mind in particular seems to indicate that it is not a property.
The idea of a living organism is of a living system, not of a mass of matter, and therefore it is only the living system that must remain intact for the identity to remain the same. Things retain their identity, then, as long as they do not become essentially altered because once something is essentially altered, it has a new beginning as a new thing.
After all, consciousness is inextricably connected to thought, and the mind is defined as the thinking thing. Ideas of Relation Summary Of the three basic kinds of complex idea, relations are the easiest to understand.
It is, therefore, in consciousness alone that identity must exist. With this definition of man, Locke is able to claim that the identity of man, because it is just a particular instance of animal, is tied to body and shape.
Consciousness, though, Locke insists, is not tied to any one mind even if it does require some mind or other. The identity of a material substance consists merely in its matter; a mass of atoms retains its identity as long as the number of atoms remains the same.
Or else, we might compare our ideas of two people and get the ideas of father and son. A property belongs to a substance in a very intimate way.
Locke separates the idea of a substance, the idea of an organism, and the idea of a person. A person is defined as a thinking thing, and thought, as we have seen, is inseparable from consciousness remember Transparency of the Mental.
For instance, imagine that a man commits a crime, but at the time of trial he does not remember committing the crime. If the consciousness of one man were somehow transferred into another body so that the second body now contained all the memories of thoughts and actions that the first man once contained but does no morethe person would now inhabit the second body and not the first.
In addition to being somewhat counterintuitive, the claim that consciousness is independent of any mind raises some thorny problems. That other aspect of the human being, the human as a thinking, rational thing, Locke calls "person. For instance, we might compare our simple ideas of two patches of color and notice that one is of a different size than the other, thereby getting the idea of bigger and the idea of smaller.
The middle-aged man can remember his childhood, while the old man can only remember middle age.
Of course, to remain essentially unaltered has a different meaning for different ideas. Book II, chapters xxiv-xxvi: In other words, identity is retained through continuous history.
It is in the context of this discussion that Locke presents his theory of personal identity, that is, his theory of what makes us the same person over time. Locke does allow that he is not sure whether consciousness can, in fact, be transferred between thinking things, but he dismisses the practical question as irrelevant.
Consider, though, another example: The mind can consider any idea as it stands in relation to any other. As a really existing thing, consciousness must either be a substance or a quality of a substance.
An old man who cannot remember anything about his youth. Locke chooses the word "man" to refer to that aspect of the human being that denotes him as a type of animal. This is the topic of Chapter xxvii. Instead, personal identity has only to do with consciousness: That consciousness exists independent of material substance i.
However, this practical question might hold part of the answer to the nature of consciousness: Is he a different person from the one who lived his young life?
Imagine a man in three stages of his life, the objection goes, childhood, middle age, and old age. Notice, however, that the claim is not that consciousness can exist independent of a body or a mind, only that there is no reason to assume that consciousness is tied to any particular body or mind.
Our ideas of moral relations, which Locke turns to in chapter xxviii, are produced by comparing our voluntary actions to some law.Locke’s psychological theory of personal identity phil Jeﬀ Speaks October 3, In the chapter of the Essay on Human Understanding entitled ‘Of identity and diversity’, Locke explains what it is for things of various kinds to be the same thing over time.
View Homework Help - John Locke; “Of Identity and Diversity” Discussion_Summary from HIST HISTORY 4B at University of California, Santa Barbara. %(3). Of identity and diversity (book II, chapter XXVII) About us.
Editorial team. General Editors: Locke on Ideas of Identity and Diversity. Gideon Yaffe - - In Lex Newman A Dynamical Approach to Identity and Diversity in Complex Systems. John Collier -. I will begin by analyzing John Locke's theory of personal identity.
Locke describes personal identity in his chapter "Of Identity and Diversity", where he differentiates identity into different components until he creates a more general account of identity.
View Essay - locke_essay from PHIL at Georgia State University. John Locke, Of Identity and Diversity Chapter XXVII of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 2nd Ed.
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