Locke's Theory of Personal Identity: A Re-Examination
Allison (Henry)
Source: Tipton - Locke on Human Understanding - Selected Essays
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    The author's thesis is that although Locke's theory of personal identity is wrong, it merits more examination than has been given. Locke's theory must be considered within the framework Locke gave, i.e., a general analysis of the concept of identity, particularly that of thinking substance. Locke attempts to ground personal identity in consciousness or memory; this was soon attacked by such philosophers as Hume and Leibniz. Locke's main contribution consists of his separation of the concept of the unity of consciousness1, which he equated with personal identity, from the metaphysical doctrine of the identity of an immaterial substance. This raised the issue of personal identity as a distinct philosophical problem for the first time. (Staff)

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