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PHL240H1 Lecture Notes - Reductio Ad Absurdum, Transitive Relation, Personal Identity

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Jim John

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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
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
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