Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12471 (2018)

Authors
Ruth Boeker
University College Dublin
Abstract
Shaftesbury’s major work Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times was one of the most influential English works in the eighteenth century. This paper focuses on his contributions to debates about persons and personal identity and shows that Shaftesbury regards metaphysical questions of personal identity as closely connected with normative questions of character development. I argue that he is willing to accept that persons are substances and that he takes their continued existence for granted. He sees the need to supplement metaphysical debates of personal identity and believes that we have to turn to the character that is realized by a substance if we want to understand who we are. For Shaftesbury persons have a particular character, can act, and govern themselves. I propose that Shaftesbury’s approach to persons has a developmental dimension, which is meant to encourage personal development and improvement of character. The developmental dimension can be understood as an intellectual journey that invites us to search for our true self, to develop our character, and to seek happiness, which ultimately involves understanding our place as persons in the order of the universe. I show that my developmental interpretation is preferable to other existing interpretations.
Keywords Shaftesbury  Person  Personal Identity  Character  Moral self  Happiness  Substance
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1111/phc3.12471
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References found in this work BETA

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
Locke's Metaphysics.Matthew Stuart - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
Consciousness in Locke.Shelley Weinberg - 2016 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Locke on Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Active Powers of the Human Mind.Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - In Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2. Oxford:

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