Personal identity

Personal identity


Locke’saccount of personal identity theory

Tobegin with, personal identity refers to the concept that a persondevelops regarding themselves, and it usually evolves in the courseof their lives (Perry,2008). According to Locke’s, it may include aspects of one’s lifethat they may not have control over, for instance, the color of yourskin of the place that you grew up. Also, he believes that you candemonstrate your personal identity externally through yourinteraction with others or even what you wear. John Locke tackles theaspect of personal identity and also the survival of consciousnessafter death. In his explanation, he gives a criterion of personalidentity over time. The approach postulates that insofar is thesufficient and necessary condition for a person to survive. According to John Locke, personal identity is dependent on thepsychological continuity, and he deliberates personal identity to beestablished on the consciousness and not the substance of either thebody or the soul.

Iagree with John Locke in his discussion of personal identityconcerning consciousness. This is because I also believe thatconsciousness is one of the primary pillars of thinking, and it isalso what makes different people unique. Consciousness is alsocrucial since it also plays a crucial part in the decision making ofan individual and, in the long run, it defines the personal identityof an individual. I also agree with John Locke since I also have thenotion that personal identity is strongly founded on theconsciousness of an individual since it is the one primary factorthat determines the self-identity of the individual. Typically,personal identity can be determined by a person’s outwardappearance. For instance, a person’s outward look, and also theirinteraction with other people in the society can strongly determinetheir personal identity (Jolley,1999).

Ialso concur with Locke’s idea when he tells us of the case of thecobbler and the prince. This is because it shows the resolution ofthe situation of resurrection. In this case, the soul of the princewith all of its thoughts is moved from the physique of the prince tothe body of the cobbler. I concur with his conclusion that the princewill still consider himself as the prince, disregarding the fact thathe has a new body. According to Locke’s idea, it is theconsciousness that is critical to the punishment and the reward thatis meted out at the final ruling. I agree with this argument since itis the consciousness of a person that determines their personalidentity. Typically, I support his argument since I have the notionthat it is the consciousness that usually accompanies an individual’sthinking. Also, consciousness is one primary factor that makesvarious people outstanding from other people in the society.

Additionally,I agree with Locke’s idea that the sameness of memory orconsciousness is crucial and also sufficient for personal identity.This is because people are subject to forgetting their previousactions but at the end they all remain to be human beings.

Locke’sresponse to Thomas Reid’s claim

Accordingto Thomas Reid, personal identity can only be linked to the traitsthat have a continued existence, unlike conciseness that isshort-termed and interrupted. To begin with, it is important to notethat Locke argued out while he believed that consciousness or thememory of a person is a long-termed trait. Therefore, his response tothe claim of Thomas Reid would be attributed to the fact that thememory of an individual cannot easily forget regardless of the numberof years that the individual will exist. Also, it is vital toconsider that it is against Locke’s thought when Reid says thatidentity is only attributed to things that have unrelentingactuality. Locke would have defended his claim by saying that aperson is capable of remembering his character regardless of theshort-term experiences that they pass through. Besides, Locke wouldhave responded to Reid’s claim by saying that regardless of thelong time, people are capable of remembering their past events. Thisis because they did them while they were conscious (Colman,1984).Therefore, Locke would defend his idea on the pillar that events thathappen in a life of a person can be remembered at any time and thatthis is what gives them the identity.

Additionally,Locke will argue that those things that matter the most in the lifeof a person at a particular stage are what identify the person.Unlike the idea of Reid that only things that have a sustainedexistence are those that give people identity. Lock would say thatthings that are crucial at a particular stage regardless of theircontinuity are the ones that identify people. Therefore, despite thecontinuity of an event or thing, the impact it has on the life of theindividual is what matters the most in determining one’s identity.

Reid’sinstance of the brave officer

TheReid’s illustration of the brave officer typically focuses on thememory of a person at different times in their lifetime. In thisexample, at a tender age, the child used to steal candy at school.Twenty years later, he is a brave officer but he still remembersstealing candy at school. While he is a brave officer, he winsvarious medals that he sees them through his lifetime. When heretires, he can only remember the medals he won, but he has lost thememory of him stealing candy in school. Typically, the retiredgeneral remembers winning medals when he was twenty-two and the braveofficer remembers stealing candy when he was a little child atschool.

Itposes a significant problem the Locke’s theory of personal identitysince it is expected that the retired officer should not rememberwhen he was stealing candy at school. Locke would have responded tothe brave officer problem in a couple of ways. For instance, he woulddefend himself saying that in his childhood times stealing candy isone of the major things that the brave officer used to do. Since thattime, there have been various things that the brave officers hasencountered, and they have covered up the candy thing. Therefore, theretired general is not capable of remembering the things that he didin his childhood at school. Additionally, Locke would also respond tothe brave officer theory by arguing that the success of the retiredofficer is responsible for making the officer lose the memory of hischildhood. The retired general will only remember the success that hehas had lately since he can see the medals he has on a daily basis(Robinette,1986).


Colman,John. &quotJohn Locke`s moral philosophy.&quot (1984).

Jolley,Nicholas. &quotLocke: his philosophical thought.&quot (1999).

Perry,John.&nbspPersonalidentity.Vol. 2. Univ of California Press, 2008.

Robinette,Mary Jamie. &quotJohn Locke on personal identity.&quot (1986).

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