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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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A Fatal Error of Locke’s?

A Fatal Error of Locke’s?

(p.125) Chapter Sixteen A Fatal Error of Locke’s?
Locke on Personal Identity

Galen Strawson

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that the unqualified attribution of the radical theory to John Locke is mistaken if we are to take into account the fact that the theory allows for freaks like [Sₓ]. It first considers [I]-transfer without [P]-transfer—that is, [I]-transfer preserving personal identity—before discussing Locke's response to the idea that personal identity might survive [I]-transfer from an a priori point of view. It suggests that [I]-transfer is possible in such a way that the existence of a single Person [P₁] from t₁ to t₂ can successively (and non-overlappingly) involve the existence of two immaterial substances. It also explains how Locke's claim that [I]-transfer is possible opens up the possibility that it could go wrong, in such a way as to lead to injustice. Finally, it examines Locke's notion of “sensible creature,” which refers to a subject of experience who is a person.

Keywords:   radical theory, John Locke, [I]-transfer, personal identity, person, immaterial substance, injustice, sensible creature, experience

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