Locke Notes (Identity Theory)

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Published on 5 Oct 2011
School
UTM
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL105Y5
Locke had to remain faithful to the mechanistic philosophy, and so he proposed the principum
individuationis. “Let us suppose an atom... existing in a deteremined time and place; it is evident
that, considered in any instant of its existence, it is in that instant the same with itself.
Identity of a body:
“if two or more atoms be joined together into the same mass, every one of those atoms will be the
same, by the foregoing rule; and whilst they exist united together, the mass, consisting of the same
atoms, must be the same mass, or the same body, let these parts be ever so differently jumbled.
Identity of a Human Being (or living thing):
“An animal is a living organized body; and consequently the same animal... is the same continued
life communicated to different particles of matter, as they happen successively to be united to that
organized living body.”
“...ingenious observation puts it past doubt, that the idea in ur minds, of which the sound man in our
mouths is the sign, is nothing else but of an animal of such a certain form.”
Identity of a Person
“...to find wherein personal identity consists, we must consider what person stands for; which... is a
thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itslef, the same
thinking in different times and places.”
“...and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far
reaches the identity of that person.”
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Document Summary

Locke had to remain faithful to the mechanistic philosophy, and so he proposed the principum individuationis. Let us suppose an atom existing in a deteremined time and place; it is evident that, considered in any instant of its existence, it is in that instant the same with itself. Identity of a human being (or living thing): An animal is a living organized body; and consequently the same animal is the same continued life communicated to different particles of matter, as they happen successively to be united to that organized living body. Ingenious observation puts it past doubt, that the idea in ur minds, of which the sound man in our mouths is the sign, is nothing else but of an animal of such a certain form.