The Self and Consciousness: John Locke on Concerning Human Understanding - Essay Example

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The goal of this short essay "The Self and Consciousness: John Locke on Concerning Human Understanding" is to summarize the term of self-consciousness as depicted by John Locke. Particularly, the writer will analyze the concept of human understanding in making sense out of existence…
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The Self and Consciousness: John Locke on Concerning Human Understanding
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The Self and Consciousness: John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding In his book western philosophy; an anthology, Cottingham, based on John Locke’s essay concerning human understanding, expresses that the self and the consciousness are the key criteria toward understanding and subsequently make sense of ourselves as human beings. Cottingham asserts that the famous English philosopher John Locke is regarded as the pioneer in explaining the phenomenon of personal identity.
Locke’s idea of the self and consciousness is based on the principle that there is no self without a consciousness. In this regard, irrespective of the nature of the self, the most important thing is the consciousness that we as human beings possess. In this case, this consciousness is based on our personal memories that enable us to establish a link between who we are currently and we were in the past. On the same note, according to Locke, this consciousness that defines a person is normally unchangeable by any physical body alteration. This implies that even if one takes the body of another person, as long as he wakes up with the conscious memories of who he originally was, it can then be said that he is still the same person. Cottinngham therefore sums up Locke’s idea that a persons’ true self is not influenced in any way by either physiological or biological phenomena owing to the fact that the inner self-consciousness is enduring. Consequently, this phenomenon therefore provides the basis of defining a person. A person according to Cottingham can be deemed as a thinking being capable of identifying itself as itself despite the changes in times and place, which is made possible by possession of a consciousness that cannot be cut off from thinking.
Finally, from Locke’s idea of self, it is discernible that one is able to regard himself as a self as well as distinguishes himself from all other thinking selves due to the fact that consciousness is always in tandem with thinking.
Works cited
Cottingham, John. Western philosophy: an anthologyWestern philosophy: an anthology. Malden
MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 1996. Read More
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