Choose an argument from the readings and explain it in your own words - Assignment Example

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The identity of an individual lies in their consciousness. He writes that the identity of man is like that of other animals in one fitly…
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Choose an argument from the readings and explain it in your own words
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Philosophy In this ‘of diversity and personality essay,’ John Locke argues that the identity of man is tied to various aspects of body and shape. The identity of an individual lies in their consciousness. He writes that the identity of man is like that of other animals in one fitly organized body (Locke 277). He appears to conclude from this that the identity of man consists of a participation of the same continued life and united to the one organized body.
Roughly, the idea underlying the first premise is that an individual is often defined as thinking individual and thought can never be separated from consciousness. By consciousness, Locke means that individuals are able to be aware or perceive something. So, the first premise says that consciousness is independent of any other substances. This does not, however, claim that consciousness is able to exist without a body or a mind. Assuming that consciousness is tied to a given body or soul is not necessary. In this sense though, there is still no reason to make the assumption that consciousness is not transferable from one body or even mind to the next.
The second premise means just that a person’s identity is separate from any form of immaterial substance. After all, an individual’s consciousness is connected to their thought, and their mind is their thinking thing. Consciousness, despite Locke insisting, is not connected to a mind even if it needs some mind or other. This raises some problems considering that must either be a substance or even a quality of a certain substance. Considering that Locke explains that consciousness has cannot exist on its own, and it must be a part of some mind, then it appears that consciousness is a property belonging to the minds. It is not clear if a property is transferable from one substance to the next. On this matter, Locke writes that if the soul identity makes the same man, then there is no reason as to why similar spirits of an individual may be overly united to various bodies (Locke 278).
The third premise might reasonably be taken to mean consciousness is independent of any other substance or that person’s identity is separate from any form of immaterial substance. But given that Locke writes that there is nothing in the matter why an individual spirit is united to various bodies, it is clear that he means that an individual person’s identity is different from their immaterial substance (Locke 279). Thus, since the argument is valid, the conclusion necessary follows from the premises. It is true according to Locke that consciousness is independent of any other substances. However, it is also evident from other Locke’s arguments that a person’s argument is separate from their immaterial substance. This acts as a contradiction considering that an individual’s consciousness is connected to their thoughts. Thus, despite Locke insisting, an individual’s consciousness is not connected to the mind. The mind only acts as their thinking. Thus, identity of an individual must exist only in their consciousness and nothing else.
Works Cited
Locke, John. Of Identity and diversity. New York : Routledge, 1812. Read More
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