Locke essay concerning human understanding chapter 27 summary

Early modern texts locke

So that personal identity, reaching no further than consciousness reaches, a pre-existent spirit not having continued so many ages in a state of silence, must needs make different persons. Obviously, the identity is not to be found in the physical elements of which one's material body is composed, and the same is true of the specific contents included in one's mind. Not the substance with which the consciousness may be united. Nothing but consciousness can unite remote existences into the same person: the identity of substance will not do it; for whatever substance there is, however framed, without consciousness there is no person: and a carcass may be a person, as well as any sort of substance be so, without consciousness. Making this point is the purpose of those imaginary cases. Thus, the drunkard knows that away from the greater good when he starts to drink, but is driven by the concern of running out of what he wants most: alcohol. This is because what allows Locke to speculate that God could have superadded thinking to formerly inert systems of matter is that God is omnipotent, and surely an omnipotent being could make souls immortal even if they are material. For example, what is a watch? But yet when we will enquire, what makes the same Spirit, Man, or Person, in our Minds; and having resolved with our selves what we mean by them, it will not be hard to determine, in either of them, or the like, when it is the same, and when not. His main argument in this Book is to argue against the idea that there is some knowledge that arises prior to experience, that is, the idea that some of our ideas or knowledge are innate. Indeed, there seemed to be more confusion and disagreements here than in other fields of inquiry. The qualities come knocking our senses by the action of a particle insensitive. As in this case it is the consciousness that goes along with the substance, when one part is separate from another, which makes the same person, and constitutes this inseparable self: so it is in reference to substances remote in time. First, it must be either the same individual, immaterial, thinking substance; in short, the same numerical soul, and nothing else.

Only man has it. The qualities come knocking our senses by the action of a particle insensitive.

John locke an essay concerning human understanding full text

The body, as well as the soul, goes to the making of a man. Same man. For if the identity of soul alone makes the same man; and there be nothing in the nature of matter why the same individual spirit may not be united to different bodies, it will be possible that those men, living in distant ages, and of different tempers, may have been the same man: which way of speaking must be from a very strange use of the word man, applied to an idea out of which body and shape are excluded. Sometimes he speaks of substances, both spiritual and material, as though they existed independent of any mind. For this organization, being at any one instant in any one collection of matter, is in that particular concrete distinguished from all other, and is that individual life, which existing constantly from that moment both forwards and backwards, in the same continuity of insensibly succeeding parts united to the living body of the plant, it has that identity which makes the same plant, and all the parts of it, parts of the same plant, during all the time that they exist united in that continued organization, which is fit to convey that common life to all the parts so united. Having accepted the empirical method as the only reliable one for an adequate understanding of the phenomenon of human knowledge, Locke was led by the logic of his position into a kind of subjectivism. Ideas may be true in the sense that they refer to real objects in the external world. They are generally regarded as powers, not as qualities of the object. Thirdly, The same will hold of every particle of matter, to which no addition or subtraction of matter being made, it is the same. Or mind not only to welcome these ideas obtained through passive sensation: the operations of the mind thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, willing, etc. This may seem to be a strange position for him to take since the scientists whose methods he was attempting to follow always considered that they were studying the material world and not merely the appearances which it produced in human minds. Book IV treats the subjects of knowledge and probability. On the basis of Locke's empirical method, we can only say that the person is a complex idea made up by the mind out of a series of simple ideas.

There might be a worry that under this kind of reading, Locke gives persons too much authority. Parrot, Je garde les poulles.

an essay concerning human understanding book 2 chapter 1 summary

In the era that preceded Locke, Descartes had insisted that the criterion of truth was to see so clearly and distinctly that it could not be doubted. If we should be asked concerning the nature of these substances, we could only reply in terms of the simple ideas that have been associated with them.

In fact, the only thing Locke grants the innateness is the fact that the faculty of understanding is innate.

Locke essay concerning human understanding chapter 27 summary

This is the opposite of the method of compounding. Locke uses the example of wheat grain. Identity of modes and relations. Could we suppose any spirit wholly stripped of all its memory or consciousness of past actions, as we find our minds always are of a great part of ours, and sometimes of them all; the union or separation of such a spiritual substance would make no variation of personal identity, any more than that of any particle of matter does. They began with some authoritative statement. Finally, Locke tries to account for false and fantastical ideas. To say that a person, or for that matter any particular object, can change and still remain the same as it was before appears to be a direct violation of the law of non-contradiction. When we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, meditate, or will anything, we know that we do so. Consciousness unites substances, material or spiritual, with the same personality. Power may be included as one of the simple ideas that belong to the class of relations. When the motion is too slow or too swift to be perceived by the senses, it produces the idea of a stationary object. Thus, the drunkard knows that away from the greater good when he starts to drink, but is driven by the concern of running out of what he wants most: alcohol.

This, though it seems easier to conceive in simple substances or modes; yet, when reflected on, is not more difficult in compound ones, if care be taken to what it is applied: v. This line of interpretation is popular today see LoLordoMatternUzgalisbut dates back to Edmund Law

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Locke: Human Understanding Summary