Enduring Self

Topics: John Locke, Mind, René Descartes Pages: 2 (774 words) Published: June 28, 2010
Is there an enduring self?

John Locke believed, the enduring self is defined by a person’s memory. With memory there is an enduring self, and without it there is no self at all. I believe there is an enduring self, but it is a little more complicated than that. Even if a person encounters a dramatic change to his/her life, they are still the same self, the same person. I believe memory is not the only factor that defines the self. Many things form this enduring self, and these things work together to form an identity, to form who you are now. These things are your memories, your experiences and your personality. You may change and grow over time as you are exposed to new experiences, but under it all you are still ....you. But is a person the same after 20 years? 30 years? Yes and no. He/she is the same PLUS the experiences and knowledge of the additional passage of time.....as we percieve it. More on "time" in a bit. The philosopher Rene Descartes argues that the, “soul makes a person remain the same person as time passes,” arguing that it is the continuity of his thinking soul that makes him the same person, without which one would cease to exist. However, others question Descartes’ theory because they point out to the obvious fact that we can know that a person is the same person they were before without having to see or feel his/her soul! Others who have criticized the certain fallacies of Descartes’theory such as the Philosopher John Locke. Lock was of the opinion that it is the memory that is the source of the enduring self. However, Locke’s theory also faces a fallacy of its own and as the Scottish Philosopher Thomas Reid correctly pointed out that based on Locke’s theory, “if one can remember at 20 that they were 10 and remember at 30 they were 20, then at 30 one cannot be the same person at 10 since they don’t remember it." I think that we all have an innate core that is steadfast, based on our genetics -- our own personality, our own talents, our...
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