Probing The Idea of Consciousness in John Locke's Theory of Personal Identity


  • Osemwegie, Taiwo Wesley, PhD Department of Philosophy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria


The paper takes a critical examination of John Locke's consciousness
criterion/approach to the problem of personal identity. The problem of
personal identity raises the questions?who am I? What does being the
person that I am from one day to the next necessarily and sufficiently
consist of? What makes my one year birthday-photo (as a baby) and my
PhD graduation-photo (as an adult), thirty-five years later the same
person? To answer these questions, John Locke accepted
'consciousness' as the only abiding principle, capable of making a
person-A at time t1 the same as a person-B at time t2. Using the method
of analysis, the work examines some scholars who affirmed Locke's
consciousness criterion and those who considered it as mistaken,
confusing and futile. The work argued that bodily criterion is
indispensable in the re-identification of a person over time. It concluded
that both physiological and psychological criteria are strictly speaking
necessary conditions for the determination of a person's identity over


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