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Personal Identity - Essay Example

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The fundamental principles of Locke's philosophy are presented in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), the result of two decades of contemplation upon human issues and the origin of thought. He was a hardcore empiricist; the notion that human behavior could spring from anything other than innate experiences was the pride of his concept…
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Personal Identity

Download file to see previous pages... Subsequently, he pragmatically thought over the concept of knowledge and language formulation, the core of which shall be discussed hereunder.
According to Locke, what we know is always properly understood as the relation between ideas (the learned concepts of experienced reality), and in the said essay, he explained at length the stance that all of our ideation is a consequence of personal identity. The outcome of this objective method is that the human mind seems to get somewhat undermined in its abilities. While describing the domains of human capabilities in terms of knowledge, ideas and the like, he endeavors to challenge certain basic and traditional norms of communication, language and interaction constructs (Noonan, 1989). Here, the issue of contention is the fact as to how Locke tackles the term of 'bodily'.
Locke describes or rather differentiates the qualities of bodily identity into two divisions: primary and secondary. The primary attributes deal with those traits of an entity, which forms its existence - the integral constituents of the object. However, the secondary attributes are those, which are qualified by our perceptual reality and which may be taken in a relative term depending upon the observer. The primary/secondary quality distinction gets us a certain ways in understanding physical objects, but Locke is puzzled about what underlies or supports the basic qualities themselves. He is also puzzled about what material and immaterial bodily functions might have in common that would lead us to apply the same explanation to both.
On the significant role played by nature in the behavior of man, both these opinions interject. Though nature has been a sort of subjective reality for the sake of many philosophers, yet these two have come to the same resolution. Thus it can be said that the role of nature can never be undermined. What has been naturally created in the form of man by nature (and in effect God), can never be put away from its core. Nature is as close to man as man himself, because he is a product of the former.
Such contemplations gave him the impetus to coin the relative and obscure idea of physicality in general. He referred to the ever dynamic use of the word 'bodily'. Locke claims that the mind supports the bodily qualities - these may be as infinite as one can imagine. For understanding of concepts, he believed, simply information about the object was not enough. There had to be some linkages in the information that we receive in clusters. These linkages had to be the essence of understanding the concept to its fullest.
This is a result of the fact that he himself cannot purport a rationale for the existence of tropes (tropes are properties that can exist independently of bodily). Hence, he could not use of a concept in lieu of 'bodily'. He seems extremely cautious about our limitations of the ideas of bodily. He has been understandably criticized for blowing this debate out of proportion, yet the importance that he appreciates within this concept is what produces the entire basis for his conviction. It troubled Locke to consider this as being something without having any properties - this in effect would be unscientific and hence impossible according to the doctrine presented by him (Parfit, 1987).
He attempts to give ideas of simple modes, mixed modes, relations ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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