John Locke's Personal Identity

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For centuries philosophers have grappled with this concept of self, what is the self, what is the self in relation to the world and how do we define personal identity. In 1960 ‘in an essay concerning human understanding’ John Locke proposed that one’s personal identity is directly related to their own consciousness. It is important to have a clear definition of what we refer to as identity. For many philosophers it is generally agreed that identity refers to identity being one thing and not another. For example, it is the thing that makes me, me and you, you. This does lead to ask the question that over time people clearly change, therefore are they really still them. According to Locke, overtime people keep the same identity, this is called his principle of individuation. For example the person who was a bully as a child and is now a kind one, is still the same person, just at different times in their lives.…show more content…
For example identity is not made up of material substance, in other words our physicals selves do not give us our personal identity, if it did what would happen if we had a total facial reconstruction? Would we be considered the same as before simply because our body has been altered? Locke would say of course we would be! Locke believed that our identity was tied to our consciousness, rather than our physical bodies. He describes consciousness as ‘perception of what passes in a man’s own mind’, in essence Locke is saying that consciousness is the same as memories. No matter was physical changes occur to us, we are still the same person. What Locke is saying is it is our memories are what give us our

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