Did Locke Defend the Memory Continuity Criterion of Personal Identity?

Locke Studies 10:113-129 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX


John Locke’s account of personal identity is usually thought to have been proved false by Thomas Reid’s simple ‘Gallant Officer’ argument. Locke is traditionally interpreted as holding that your having memories of a past person’s thoughts or actions is necessary and sufficient for your being identical to that person. This paper argues that the traditional memory interpretation of Locke’s account is mistaken and defends a memory continuity view according to which a sequence of overlapping memories is necessary and sufficient for personal identity. On this view Locke is not vulnerable to the Gallant Officer argument.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

John locke on personal identity.N. Nimbalkar - 2011 - Mens Sana Monographs 9 (1):268.
John Locke on Personal Identity.Mary Jamie Robinette - 1986 - Dissertation, University of Virginia
Personal identity and the past.Marya Schechtman - 2005 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 12 (1):9-22.
‘The Secrets of All Hearts’: Locke on Personal Identity.Galen Strawson - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 76:111-141.
Locke on Relations, Identity, Persons, and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - In Patrick J. Connolly (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of John Locke. Oxford University Press.
The Moral Dimension in Locke's Account of Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2014 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (3):229-247.
Locke on Personal Identity.Jane Lipsky McIntyre - 1977 - Philosophy Research Archives 3:113-144.
Locke's Theory of Personal Identity.Paul Helm - 1979 - Philosophy 54 (208):173 - 185.
John Locke, Personal Identity and Memento.Basil Smith - 2006 - In Mark T. Conard & Robert Porfirio (eds.), The philosophy of film noir. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.


Added to PP

726 (#24,651)

6 months
145 (#31,732)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Johan E. Gustafsson
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

Non-branching personal persistence.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2307-2329.
Hume on Mental Transparency.Hsueh Qu - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4):576-601.
Memory and mineness in personal identity.Rebecca Roache - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):479-489.
Thomas Reid’s objection to Locke’s Theory of personal identity.Vinícius França Freitas - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):147-164.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 1785 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Locke on personal identity.Kenneth Winkler - 1991 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 29 (2):201-226.

View all 9 references / Add more references