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Publication Details

Past Lives of John Locke: Moral Responsibility and the Memory Criterion of Personal Identity

(Original title: Minulé životy Johna Locka: morálna zodpovednosť a pamäťové kritérium osobnej identity)
Filozofia, 73 (2018), 6, 458-468.
Type of work: Articles
Publication language: Slovak

One of the John Locke´s most controversial claims is that we should not be held responsible for the deeds of which we genuinely have no recollection as performed. We are only responsible for the acts of which we are conscious. The reason behind is the assertion that the personal identity equals the identity of consciousness. This concept of person is the background of Locke´s claim that the immaterial substance (IS) is irrelevant for personal identity. I argue, that if we had only a very unclear idea of IS and could not give any clear explanation of the relationship between IS and a person, the excluding of IS from the identity discourse would be highly dubious. Further, I argue that the memory criterion of the personal identity is problematic for many reasons, and that the missing continuity of memories between lives is compatible with the idea of justice and practical concerns.


Consciousness, Memory, Moral responsibility, Personal identity, Self

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