One of the most influential debates in John Locke's work is the problem of personal identity over time. This problem is that of how a person at one time is the same person later in time, and so can be held responsible for past actions. The time of most concern for Locke is that of the general resurrection promised in the New Testament. Given the turbulence of the Reformation and the formation of new approaches to the Bible, many philosophers and scientists paid careful attention to emerging orthodoxies or heterodoxies about death. Here K. Joanna S. Forstrom examines the interrelated positions of Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Henry More and Robert Boyle in their individual contexts and in Locke's treatment of them. She argues that, in this way, we can better understand Locke and his position on personal identity and immortality. Once his unique take is understood and grounded in his own theological convictions (or lack thereof), we can better evaluate Locke and defend him against classic objections to his thought.
About the Author
K. Joanna S. Forstrom is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Spring Hill College, Alabama, USA. She has a PhD in Philosophy from Washington University in St Louis, USA.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. John Locke and the Problem of Personal Identity: The Principium Individuationis, Personal Immortality, and Bodily Resurrection 2. On Separation and Immortality: Descartes and the Nature of the Soul 3. On Materialism and Immortality: Or Hobbes' Rejection of the Natural Argument for the Immortality of the Soul 4. Henry More and John Locke on the Dangers of Materialism: Immateriality, Immortality, Immorality, and Identity 5. Robert Boyle: On seeds, cannibalism, and the resurrection of the body 6. Locke's Theory of Personal Identity in its Context: A Reassessment of Classic Objections Bibliography