2020 Student Research Conference:
33rd Annual Student Research Conference

Check Your Self: Evaluating Lockean and Humean Concepts of Personal Identity


Kimberly R. Ramos
Dr. Chad Mohler, Faculty Mentor

In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke claims that the unchanging self exists. His concept of personal identity takes a less spiritual angle than previous philosophers and appeals to a more cognitive approach: memory and consciousness establish the self. In A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume similarly tackles personal identity. To Hume, there is no reason to conclude that an unchanging self exists over time. His argument appeals to a lack of true connection between past and present selves. Despite Locke’s cognitive approach, Hume’s concept of personal identity better matches current knowledge of memory and cognition. From philosophical, psychological, and biological standpoints, Hume's concept of the self prevails over Locke's.  Though Hume’s concept of personal identity effectively undermines certainty in accepting a constant self, his overall philosophy still allows for provisional and contextual beliefs in such a self, however unfounded these beliefs may be.

Keywords: Hume, Locke, Personal Identity , Neuroscience, Cognitive Science , Memory, Consciousness , Concept of the Self

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: TBA
Location: TBA
Time: TBA

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