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Locke on Personal IdentityConsciousness and Concernment$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161006

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161006.001.0001

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(p.22) Chapter Four Concernment
Locke on Personal Identity

Galen Strawson

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines John Locke's notion of concernment, which for him is more fundamental than the notion of responsibility when it comes to the question of personal identity. It begins with the argument that the being or extent of a subject of experience's personhood or personal identity is not simply identical with the being or extent of its field of responsibility, because the notion of a person is not an exclusively moral or forensic term, as it might be if it concerned only a set of actions. Instead, one's personhood or personal identity also comprises one's substantial constitution, that is, a whole human material body plus an immaterial soul. The chapter considers Locke's view that Concernment entails a capacity for pleasure and pain and shows that that the field of responsibility lies completely inside the field of consciousness, which in turn lies wholly inside the field of concernment.

Keywords:   concernment, John Locke, responsibility, personal identity, personhood, person, pleasure, pain, Consciousness

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