Philosophy of Self Identity

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Philosophy

Document 1

This issue of personal identity and what its determinants are has been a question an area of concern and attention to many philosophers. These questions culminate into a theory of personal confrontation that is a function of philosophical confrontation of our very existence, for example, who we are, the happenings after death, the questioning of the existence of life after death, and many others. This paper will delve into the philosophical convictions of Descartes and John Locke as we covered in unit 2 and give a recap their different point of views about personal identity while making a personal stand that is grounded of the arguments that are made by the two philosophers. This paper is therefore structured into summaries of the philosophical work of the two philosophers, their definitions of concepts, their views and arguments about the philosophical concept of self-identity, and a personal stand of my preferred stand that is based on their arguments while giving my opinion and justifications of rejecting one and not the other.

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To begin with, I will give a laconic version of the philosophical work of Descartes. His second argument pertaining the distinction of the body from the soul is the “transparency of the mind to itself. ” This means that access to individual mental events and states is privileged and the claims of the incorrigibility of the mental states like desires and beliefs. On the other hand, he asserted of the ability to doubt the body and that the claims about are corrigible in the sense that they can be mistaken and corrected by others. Finally, he explains the distinction of the body from the soul through the indivisibility of the mind. He contends that the mind is indivisible as opposed to the body which is divisible (Descartes et al.

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He makes controversial but important claims in the ambit of personal identity and the philosophy of mind. His two most important ideas and arguments are contained in the Book IV, section 6 of chapter 3 of an “A essay concerning human understanding. ” The argument is that it was easy for God to matter that is fitly disposed to think due to his ability to add thought to an immaterial substance (Atherton 275: vol. Secondly, he advances the revolutionary theory concerning personal identity that was added by Locke in Book II, chapter 27. His suggestions and claim gives a reflection of the degree to which Locke is amenable to endorsing the dogma of the substance dualism and his commitment to the mechanism of the Boylean. Also, when the soul is changed, the consciousness does not change but remains the same.

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At this instance, he advanced the possibility of an individual to lose their consciousness through forgetfulness while the substance of thinking remains the same. His distinction of between a person and a man is what makes it possible for showing up of the same person with a different body on the resurrection. This was his philosophical response to the question of death. The two philosophers in their attempt to answer the philosophical questions relating to self-identity provide different answers with similarity in some concepts. Unlike the Descartes who make the assertion of our identity being continuous and that it never changes or dies, Locke identity is fluid in the sense that memories are made every time and we may not always remember the same things all the time (Atherton 275: vol.

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Therefore, he asserts that identity is fluid, discontinuous, and constantly changing. However, the theory of Locke is faced with many challenges. For example, if we fail to remember prior events with clarity and liveliness, we may not claim to be the same person who had experienced the events. Of the assertions of the two philosophers with regard to self-identify, I prefer the arguments of Descartes to that of the Locke. While they agreed on some basic tenets of the concept of being a substance that thinks, their work contrasts heavily on some fronts. For instance, they disagreed on the state of identity. While Descartes contends of the continuity of identity which never changes, Locke argues of identity being fluid, not continuous, constantly changing, and can die.

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