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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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“But next …”: Personal Identity without Substantial Continuity

“But next …”: Personal Identity without Substantial Continuity

(p.97) Chapter Thirteen “But next …”: Personal Identity without Substantial Continuity
Locke on Personal Identity

Galen Strawson

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the notion that personal identity or sameness of subject of experience across time doesn't require sameness of substance or substantial composition across time, any more than the diachronic continuity of an individual animal life requires sameness of substance or substantial composition. It begins with a discussion of materialism, one of John Locke's principal ideas in his discussion of personal identity, and especially the idea that one's whole psychological being—one's character, personality, memory, and so on—is wholly located in one's brain. It then considers Locke's claim that materialists can—must—allow full transmission of personal identity across complete change of substance, along with his attempt to block an argument from the taken-for-granted or nonnegotiable fact of personal responsibility on the Day of Judgment to the immateriality of thinking substance.

Keywords:   materialism, personal identity, sameness, experience, substantial composition, diachronic continuity, John Locke, responsibility, Day of Judgment, thinking

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