Rene Descartes On Personal Identity

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For many years, the issue of self-identity has been a problem that philosophers and scholars have been to explain using different theories. The question on self –identity tries to explain the concept of how a person today is different from the one in the years to come. In philosophy, the theory of personal identity tries to solve the questions who we are, our existence, and life after death. To understand the concept of self-identity, it is important to analyze a person over a period under given conditions. Despite the numerous theories on personal identity, the paper narrows down the study to the personal theories of John Locke and Rene Descartes, and their points of view on personal identity. Furthermore, it makes a comparison of the views…show more content…
According to Joseph Butler, Locke makes a serious mistake of not clearly differentiating between consciousness and identity. He argues that although memory can make one remember events of the past, there is no connection between those events and the person. Therefore, despite most scholars agreeing with most of his opinions, some say it does not explain the gap between memory and experience.
On the other hand, Descartes focuses on meditations in trying to explain the concept of personal identity. He borrows from other scholastic views about the universe and God. Most of his understanding of personal identity immensely contributed to Locke's theory later. Descartes early views on philosophy helped in trying to explain the concept of mind, consciousness, and self. His argument is because thought is the foundation of all knowledge, which contradicts scholastic understanding on the
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While Descartes believes that knowledge depends on complete certainty, Locke believes that there is no certain knowledge of existence. For Descartes, the two ways in which knowledge can be discovered is by through experience or deduction. He further argues that knowledge can only come from external sources or can be derived from deep within. On the other hand, the deduction is the only certain knowledge in existence.
In contrast, Locke believes, that knowledge can only have a high degree of certainty but cannot be certain. Since he does not focus much on certainty in his works, he believes that perception can play a major part in the process of knowledge. He further reiterates that knowledge is based on observations and senses. According to his him, ideas come from reflection and sensation while knowledge is founded on experience
In summary, I have covered the respective positions and views that both Locke and Descartes hold in respect with self-identity and consciousness. Therefore, based on the above, I am clearly in support of Locke's theory in comparison with the one his opponent. The distinct reasons why I consider such a position are discussed
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