Locke, Butler and the Stream of Consciousness: And Men as Natural Kind
Wiggins (David)
Source: Philosophy, Vol. 51, No. 196 (Apr., 1976), pp. 131-158
Paper - Abstract

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    The charge of circularity preferred by Butler and others against Locke's mental continuity conception of personal identity is baseless. The flaw is rather that, in the absence of supplementation by a substantive (conceptually replete) account of persons as embodied agents with the full range of faculties characteristic of men as a natural kind, Locke's kind of criterion gives wrong answers to some identity questions. Locke's insight can however be restated in a physicalistic framework. But attempts to resolve putative cases of brain transplantation1, etc., by means of the amended life-like account put a strain upon "person" as a natural kind concept. If, however, we allow ourselves to be pushed towards an artefact-kind or social-construct account of "person" then we imperil both our morality and our knowledge of who we are. What is more, the natural kind account of person justifies us in giving short shrift to science fictional "possibilities" concerning persons.

Comment:

Also in "Noonan (Harold), Ed. - Personal Identity (Readings)".

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