Need a bit of help with Locke & soul

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Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 08:29 pm
i need some help to expand my essay. i am having trouble identifying a problem with lockes proposal that says having the same soul means you are dealing with the same person, and you know you are dealing with the same soul because its the same soul.
But you can easily just say something contradictory to that by stating that how would you know if you are dealing with the same soul if you can never really see the soul.

How can i make the proposal Locke makes better by modifying it? i need some help strengthening how being the same person means being the same soul.

what can i fix to make it possible?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 08:31 pm
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107707 wrote:
i need some help to expand my essay. i am having trouble identifying a problem with lockes proposal that says having the same soul means you are dealing with the same person, and you know you are dealing with the same soul because its the same soul.
But you can easily just say something contradictory to that by stating that how would you know if you are dealing with the same soul if you can never really see the soul.

How can i make the proposal Locke makes better by modifying it? i need some help strengthening how being the same person means being the same soul.

what can i fix to make it possible?


you know you are dealing with the same soul because its the same soul.

Where does Locke say that? Exactly what does he say?
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 08:33 pm
@tracyfan 1,
it is in the book p3rsonal identity and immortality. a man named sam is trying to show his friend that is dying that there is a possibility of you surviving your death.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 08:37 pm
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107712 wrote:
it is in the book p3rsonal identity and immortality. a man named sam is trying to show his friend that is dying that there is a possibility of you surviving your death.


But does he really say the words, "you know you are dealing with the same soul because it is the same soul"? If not, then what exactly does he say, and where did you get the idea that was what he was saying? Can you quote the passage to me?
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 09:40 pm
@kennethamy,
the passage is a bit lengthy,
it has to deal with personal identity.


Person A and Person B are numerically identical iff A and B have the same soul.


To clarify, Both person A and B are the same people just at different times.

EDIT: John Perry!!! not John Locke.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 01:11 am
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107723 wrote:
the passage is a bit lengthy,
it has to deal with personal identity.


Person A and Person B are numerically identical iff A and B have the same soul.


To clarify, Both person A and B are the same people just at different times.

EDIT: John Perry!!! not John Locke.


Who is John Perry? I don't know what to say unless I see the passage. It is just silly to say that you know you are dealing with the same soul because it is the same soul. If Locke wrote that, it must be a joke.
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 01:35 am
@kennethamy,
i am going to reference to a different webpage so you can get a better understanding of what i am talking about.

V83.0010 Central Problems in Philosophy
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:00 am
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107763 wrote:
i am going to reference to a different webpage so you can get a better understanding of what i am talking about.

V83.0010 Central Problems in Philosophy



If the criterion for "same person" is, "same soul", but if there is no criterion for, "same soul", then, of course, the "same soul" criterion is useless. The issue seems to be whether even if something does survive death, whether what survives death will be me. Why should I care if when I die, something survives, if what survives is not me? But to say that what survives is the soul, but not give any reason for supposing the soul is me, is pointless.

I hope this helps.
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:06 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;107769 wrote:
If the criterion for "same person" is, "same soul", but if there is no criterion for, "same soul", then, of course, the "same soul" criterion is useless. What else would you like to ask about that?


i just somehow have to make the proposal stronger in order to not be faced with the objection given by gretchen. or find a weakness in gretchens objection


Proposal #1: A is the same person as B iff A and B have the same soul.

Objection: you can never see the soul, so you never know if you are dealing with the same soul from one time to another.


 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:15 am
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107770 wrote:
i just somehow have to make the proposal stronger in order to not be faced with the objection given by gretchen. or find a weakness in gretchens objection


Proposal #1: A is the same person as B iff A and B have the same soul.

Objection: you can never see the soul, so you never know if you are dealing with the same soul from one time to another.




If you mean by "making the proposal stronger" that you have to give a way of deciding whether A and B have to same soul in order to decide whether A and B are the same person, I don't see how to do this. Of course, visibility is not the only way of doing this, but I don't know of any other way. Do you? But, as I said, if there is no way of deciding whether A and B are the same person, other than deciding whether A and B have the same soul, and if there is no way of deciding whether A and B have the same soul, then, of course, you are stuck, since the same soul criterion is useless.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 11:30 am
@kennethamy,
Tracyfan_1,

I am assuming that the question that you are asking is coming from Essay Concerning Human Understanding, specifically on Locke's conception of identity and consciousness in Book II. If not, I don't know what text you are trying to extrapolate this information from, so please post the text and preferably the citation numbers. But to sum up what you are asking, you want to find a problematic instance in identity and consciousness.

To Locke, personal identity is neither immaterial nor material substance. Simply, when Locke differentiates two possible substances, a substance in itself or a particular substance, he does not categorize the personal identity in that way. Instead, personal identity lay in the realm of consciousness (specifically, look to chapter xxvii, Book II, Essay) Locke is breaking with the norm here, which is that the sameness of person is inextricably connected with the sameness of substance. Locke in fact thinks that the sameness of a person had absolutely nothing to do with the sameness of the substance, except for the fact that they both have the sameness in consciousness. Consciousness for Locke is essentially "the perception of what passes in a man's own mind." So now we get into a very abstract and potentially complex series of examples that will elaborate on your question. This is how I have understood the argument, so please bear with it.

The self as Locke describes it (xxvii, Book II, essay) is a cognizant being with the aptitude for reason and reflection (from book 1) and understands the fundamental substantial qualities of itself. A self is also aware of itself in one place and another, both times linked with its own consciousness. I want to explain this with this two dimensional analogy.

Picture yourself in a green park. At one end of the park there is a solitary bench. At the other end, there is another bench but it is shaded by a great oak tree. You start off at the solitary bench. Take a snapshot of that image, but as a snap shot, record that you are Person 1 at Time 1 (i.e. P1,T1) now move across the park to the bench shaded by the great oak tree. Take a second snap shot and record Person 2 at Time 2 (i.e. P2,T2). Are you the same person? Locke would say that: (P1,T1<--(s)-->P2,T2)<--(iff)--> (P2--(c)-->P1). You at the time of the first snapshot (P1,T1) are the same as you at the second snapshot (P2,T2) if an only if You at the time of the second snapshot were conscious of all things done from the moment of the first snap shot.

But doesn't this seem unreasonable though. It would require that the person at the instance proceeding the former remember everything
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 11:35 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;107840 wrote:
Tracyfan_1,

I am assuming that the question that you are asking is coming from Essay Concerning Human Understanding, specifically on Locke's conception of identity and consciousness in Book II. If not, I don't know what text you are trying to extrapolate this information from, so please post the text and preferably the citation numbers. But to sum up what you are asking, you want to find a problematic instance in identity and consciousness.

To Locke, personal identity is neither immaterial nor material substance. Simply, when Locke differentiates two possible substances, a substance in itself or a particular substance, he does not categorize the personal identity in that way. Instead, personal identity lay in the realm of consciousness (specifically, look to chapter xxvii, Book II, Essay) Locke is breaking with the norm here, which is that the sameness of person is inextricably connected with the sameness of substance. Locke in fact thinks that the sameness of a person had absolutely nothing to do with the sameness of the substance, except for the fact that they both have the sameness in consciousness. Consciousness for Locke is essentially "the perception of what passes in a man's own mind." So now we get into a very abstract and potentially complex series of examples that will elaborate on your question. This is how I have understood the argument, so please bear with it.

The self as Locke describes it (xxvii, Book II, essay) is a cognizant being with the aptitude for reason and reflection (from book 1) and understands the fundamental substantial qualities of itself. A self is also aware of itself in one place and another, both times linked with its own consciousness. I want to explain this with this two dimensional analogy.

Picture yourself in a green park. At one end of the park there is a solitary bench. At the other end, there is another bench but it is shaded by a great oak tree. You start off at the solitary bench. Take a snapshot of that image, but as a snap shot, record that you are Person 1 at Time 1 (i.e. P1,T1) now move across the park to the bench shaded by the great oak tree. Take a second snap shot and record Person 2 at Time 2 (i.e. P2,T2). Are you the same person? Locke would say that: (P1,T1<--(s)-->P2,T2)<--(iff)--> (P2--(c)-->P1). You at the time of the first snapshot (P1,T1) are the same as you at the second snapshot (P2,T2) if an only if You at the time of the second snapshot were conscious of all things done from the moment of the first snap shot.

But doesn't this seem unreasonable though. It would require that the person at the instance proceeding the former remember everything


I think it was Hume, not Locke, who held "the bundle theory" of the self. I just do not see how your explanation in the final paragraph show how we can know it is the same soul. Doesn't, you know you are the same person "because you are conscious of it" just mean, you know you are the same person because you know you are the same person. And that is not very helpful.
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 12:08 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;107772 wrote:
If you mean by "making the proposal stronger" that you have to give a way of deciding whether A and B have to same soul in order to decide whether A and B are the same person, I don't see how to do this. Of course, visibility is not the only way of doing this, but I don't know of any other way. Do you? But, as I said, if there is no way of deciding whether A and B are the same person, other than deciding whether A and B have the same soul, and if there is no way of deciding whether A and B have the same soul, then, of course, you are stuck, since the same soul criterion is useless.


i agree that you cannot use the same body same soul theory but the objective is to try to improve this theory. I am heading in the direction of how people act is how you identify if you are dealing with the same person, but this proposal sounds similar to the psychological proposal made later by sam.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 12:52 pm
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107850 wrote:
i agree that you cannot use the same body same soul theory but the objective is to try to improve this theory. I am heading in the direction of how people act is how you identify if you are dealing with the same person, but this proposal sounds similar to the psychological proposal made later by sam.


Locke's proposal was the criterion of memory. But that has its problems too. How do you tell you are remembering correctly? It seems to me that X and Y are one and the same person only if X and Y are spatio-temporally continuous with each other.
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:17 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;107859 wrote:
Locke's proposal was the criterion of memory. But that has its problems too. How do you tell you are remembering correctly? It seems to me that X and Y are one and the same person only if X and Y are spatio-temporally continuous with each other.


but the only thing i need to do is try to change or at least bring some hope to the proposal by providing my own theory that would bring some hope to the proof that same body=same soul.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:31 pm
@tracyfan 1,
kennethamy;107841 wrote:
I think it was Hume, not Locke, who held "the bundle theory" of the self.
kennethamy;107841 wrote:
I just do not see how your explanation in the final paragraph show how we can know it is the same soul. Doesn't, you know you are the same person "because you are conscious of it" just mean, you know you are the same person because you know you are the same person. And that is not very helpful.

Honestly, I think there are some issues in Tracy's summarization. I think that parts are not taken in the right context of the rest of that specific area of the Essay. I haven't been corrected in my assumptions by Tracy as to where the points are from, so that's where I am at. But still, if that is the terms of the discussion, who am I to argue with it. An important note is that for Locke, the discussion of the soul is taken in the context of things people could mean by identity. The soul is essentially a side show. Simply, is identity the same soul? OR the same man? OR the same person? In the case of the man, the man is a biological comparison. It's out. In the case of the soul, the fundamental issue Locke comes to is that if I am the same soul with thoughts constantly changing, there really isn't any way if I really know I have the same soul. That's out. So to put Tracy's question in context, man and soul are not as much a part of the equation now as the person is. This is a standard level of Inquiry used by most if not all modern philosophers, examine the possibilities, eliminate them and leave with the most reasonable one. What the person is is what Locke continues to examine leading into consciousness and the bundle theory of perception. I'm not going to say that the question is wrong and out of context, only that it can be worked out from within the same Lockean rationality.

In terms of the last paragraph of my response and your issues with it, I can understand where you are coming from with it and rightly so. Simply, "How we can know it is the same soul" is essentially out of the question because it was a dead line of inquiry (but don't take that as though the conception of the soul does not resurface later). There may be confusion between the soul and the person. It would be better to say, how can we know it is the same person. That would fit more into the context of the Essay. We know it can be the same person because consciousness strings together P1 to P2.

But in all of this, I am assuming (and following) the rationality behind Locke's particular line of inquiry in Essay. If we are giving our subjective opinions, I'm sure there are a ton of other theories we could consider.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:38 pm
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107880 wrote:
but the only thing i need to do is try to change or at least bring some hope to the proposal by providing my own theory that would bring some hope to the proof that same body=same soul.


Don't you mean, same body=same person? The soul is what is sometimes called, "an intermediate variable", and can be dropped, since you are going to use "same soul" as a criterion for same body anyway. So, why not eliminate the middle-man?
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:54 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;107886 wrote:
Don't you mean, same body=same person? The soul is what is sometimes called, "an intermediate variable", and can be dropped, since you are going to use "same soul" as a criterion for same body anyway. So, why not eliminate the middle-man?


well other than sameness of psychological characteristics, what else can i do? because the soul theory can easily be disproved because you can never get into the soul.

im trying to develop a response in which i bring in the possibility of there being life after death, but i cant really develop any responses because almost all the ones im trying to develop are similar to the ones given by sam later in the story.

what can be a proposal i can make that can bring in the possibility of life after death.

i cannot use god in any way to prove a point.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 03:01 pm
@tracyfan 1,
tracyfan_1;107894 wrote:
well other than sameness of psychological characteristics, what else can i do? because the soul theory can easily be disproved because you can never get into the soul.

im trying to develop a response in which i bring in the possibility of there being life after death, but i cant really develop any responses because almost all the ones im trying to develop are similar to the ones given by sam later in the story.

what can be a proposal i can make that can bring in the possibility of you surving your death?


I don't think you mean possible that you survive death, but plausible. And that is very hard. Of course, there is the Christian belief in the resurrection of the body. St. Paul held that because he saw the difficulty of talking about the survival of the soul. The notion of the soul vanishes into thin air.
 
tracyfan 1
 
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 05:01 pm
@kennethamy,
this is diffucult for me to formulate. i tried to say the behavior of people but that seems like it is exactly like the psychological characteristics of a person, unless i can somehow distinguish them.
 
 

 
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