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PHL240 Jan 21, 23, 28 notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Jim John

January 21, 2013  Argument summary – example from page 109  Assume that persons have parts 1. If person‟s have parts, then it would follow that person parts have a proportional share in the duties, rights, merits, etc. of the persons of which they‟re parts 2. Thus, person parts have such proportional shares 3. But person parts do not have such shares 4. Thus, our initial assumption is wrong, persons do not have parts  Derived contradiction from initial assumption (reductio ad absurdum)  Soul for Locke just means “thinking substance”  Consciousness switches between 2 individuals if their souls are switched (prince and the cobbler example)  Possibility of switching bodies (you become something else, not the human animal associated with your body right now)  We can easily conceive of body switching (according to Locke)  Perfectly coherent? Perfectly possible?  We are neither a complex body or human animal, we are this conscious thinking thing that lasts as long as memory will last  We are not a body or an animal  Another option? Our soul  Locke argues against this claim of a soul view of personal identity (section 12-14)  Numerical identities have implications for what is and is not possible (Superman = Clark Kent example) – impossible for Superman to be somewhere where Clark Kent is not  Different souls associated over time with the same person (Locke sees this as a possibility)  Soul: thinking substance (does the thinking attributed to you)  Locke: we can easily imagine distinct souls of consciousness coming and going but it happens so rapidly and smoothly that we do not notice  An ongoing stream of consciousness being constantly eliminated and replaced  It is possible for one and the same person over time to be associated with different distinct souls  He also sees it to be possible for one and the same soul over time is associated with different distinct souls  Therefore Locke says that persons are not souls  Personhood is a forensic concept according to Locke  Concept of personhood matters morally and legally to us  We are connected in memory to past versions of ourselves January 23, 2013  Essay 1 topics handed out  5-7 pages long, double spaced, 12 pt font, feel free to double side  Name, student ID number, and TAs name on first page of your paper  NO COVER PAGE, USE STAPLES  You persist through time at least as long as your consciousness does  Memory based theory (Locke‟s theory)  Even if you don‟t have all your memories at present as long as a past moment that you can remember would remember those moments then you‟re still the same person  There needs to be some sort of overlapping connection  Butler and Reid (critics of Locke‟s theory)  They defend the „simple view‟ of personal identity over time (also known as the „soul view‟)  Reid: we all have a strong conviction of our identity over time (Locke would agree), the idea of the self is a basic part of our psychological make up, we cannot just abandon it, we view ourselves as selves and view the world as filled with selves, identity is indefinable, too simple a notion to admit a logical definition, we can‟t help but use a notion of the self, it‟s a theoretical simple when thinking about the world and ourselves, we know what it is but we can‟t articulate what it is in other terms  We are persistent, part-less, things  Persons are simple persisting entities, they are simple because they lack parts  Personal identity implies the continued existence of an indivisible simple thing that I call myself  Butler adds sameness  Under Locke‟s view you can persist through innumerable changes as long as your consciousness stays constant (all states generate and give rise to thinking)  Locke‟s view we are an ongoing process and not a thing  Reid and Butler say we are a thing, we‟re immortal, we‟re simple, there‟s no parts, we cannot break down  Reid: Locke‟s theory entails a contradiction  Consider an aging general can remember being a brave officer, brave officer can remember being a schoolboy, but the aging general cannot remember the schoolboy  Follows that the aging general = the brave officer, and the brave officer = the schoolboy, but the aging general does not equal the school boy  Numerical identity is a transitive relation  Is there a way to preserve the spirit of Locke‟s view even with this objection?  Memory connection is necessary and sufficient for personal identity for Locke, but Reid shows that this is incoherent  Memory continuity (last link in a chain of memories starting at P1)  Each person in the chain is memory connected to each previous person in the chain  Reid‟s objection doesn‟t apply to this view of memory continuity  Aging
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