David Hume Vs. Locke Essay

1303 Words Oct 30th, 2016 6 Pages
Hume vs Locke

What is personal identity? What is the “self”? There is a great debate that surrounds this subject in philosophy. So, which philosopher has the right idea? Is it David Hume with his theory of impressions? Or is it John Locke with his theory of consciousness? Both men are famous for their views on the matter, and both pose very interesting ideas. On the surface their views seem quite similar, both men believed our experiences shape us. However, Locke believes that our experiences are what embody the “self” and Hume believes that because of our experiences it would be impossible see a true “self”. So, which philosopher makes the best argument?
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher famous for his radical empiricism and skepticism. In his book, A Treatise of Human Nature, he describes what he discovered while trying to find his “self.” He explains that, “For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception.”
Ultimately, Hume proposed that there could not be a single continuous “self” because who we are is made up of ever changing impressions. He explains that, “…I may venture to affirm … that persons are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable…

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