Locke Essay Book 2

Locke begins “Of Identity and Diversity” by first getting clear on the principle of individuation, and by setting out what some have called the place-time-kind principle—which stipulates that no two things of the same kind can be in the same place at the same time, and no individual can be in two different places at the same time (L-N 2.27.1).With some of the basics of identity in place, Locke posits that before we can determine the persistence conditions for atoms, masses of matter, plants, animals, men, or persons, we must first know what we mean by these terms.Book III deals with the signs that we use to communicate ideas to ourselves and to others, words.

Simple ideas are generated directly by experience and refer to simple objects of sensation.This entry aims to first get clear on the basics of Locke’s position, when it comes to persons and personal identity, before turning to areas of the text that continue to be debated by historians of philosophy working to make sense of Locke’s picture of persons today.It then canvases how Locke’s discussion of persons was received by his contemporaries, and concludes by briefly addressing how those working in metaphysics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have responded to Locke’s view—giving the reader a glimpse of Locke’s lasting impact and influence on the debate over personal identity. The discussion of persons and their persistence conditions also features prominently in Locke’s lengthy exchange with Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester (1697–1699).Locke then goes on to describe the multitude of ways our minds can operate on simple and complex ideas to generate what we think of as many other faculties and content of the mind.There is a short digression on the active and passive powers and an argument for a kind of compatabalism regarding free will.Many attempt to follow his trail, including David Hume and many modern philosophers.Though this work is idiosyncratic, it is hard to overemphasize its influence on philosophy and the development of thought over the last several hundred years.Towards the end of the Book, Locke discusses the importance of words to philosophy and to truth in general.Book IV concerns knowledge generally and Locke spends the section explaining how our ideas, derived from experience and our words can account for our knowledge of various things.In other words, before we can determine what makes atoms, masses of matter, plants, animals, men, or persons the same over time, we must pin down the nominal essences—or general ideas—for these kinds.Of this Locke says, A person for Locke is thus the kind of entity that can think self reflectively, and think of itself as persisting over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Locke Essay Book 2”