John Lockes theory of personal identity underlies all modern discussion of the nature of persons and selvesyet it is widely thought to be wrong. In this book, Galen Strawson argues that in fact it is Lockes critics who are wrong, and that the famous objections to his theory are invalid. Indeed, far from refuting Locke, they illustrate his fundamental point.Strawson argues that the root error is to take Lockes use of the word person as merely a term for a standard persisting thing, like human being. In actuality, Locke uses person primarily as a forensic or legal term geared specifically to questions about praise and blame, punishment and reward. This point is familiar to some philosophers, but its full consequences have not been worked out, partly because of a further error about what Locke means by the word conscious. When Locke claims that your personal identity is a matter of the actions that you are conscious of, he means the actions that you experience as your own in some fundamental and immediate manner.Clearly and vigorously argued, this is an important contribution both to the history of philosophy and to the contemporary philosophy of personal identity.
Locke on Personal Identity Consciousness and Concernment - Princeton Monographs in Philosophy
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