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The Grounds of Moral Agency: Locke's Account of Personal Identity

The Grounds of Moral Agency: Locke's Account of Personal Identity <jats:sec><jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>For Locke, the personal identity problem was a moral problem from the beginning, an attempt to pin down the conditions for responsibility and accountability. This article discusses the implications of Locke's consciousness theory of personal identity for thought about the continuity of moral agency, arguing that Locke's treatment of personal identity is best understood in connection with his expanded discussion of liberty in the Essay and with his interest in the proper grounds for assessing responsibility for action. By grounding personal identity in an agent's ability to recognize her actions as her own, Locke presents a picture of moral life compatible with skepticism about substance while not skeptical about morality. I argue that this description highlights some important features of self-awareness and personhood without resorting to any metaphysical suppositions such as soul, essence or spirit.</jats:p> </jats:sec> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

The Grounds of Moral Agency: Locke's Account of Personal Identity

Journal of Moral Philosophy , Volume 5 (2): 256 – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
DOI
10.1163/174552408X329000
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:sec><jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>For Locke, the personal identity problem was a moral problem from the beginning, an attempt to pin down the conditions for responsibility and accountability. This article discusses the implications of Locke's consciousness theory of personal identity for thought about the continuity of moral agency, arguing that Locke's treatment of personal identity is best understood in connection with his expanded discussion of liberty in the Essay and with his interest in the proper grounds for assessing responsibility for action. By grounding personal identity in an agent's ability to recognize her actions as her own, Locke presents a picture of moral life compatible with skepticism about substance while not skeptical about morality. I argue that this description highlights some important features of self-awareness and personhood without resorting to any metaphysical suppositions such as soul, essence or spirit.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: MORAL AGENCY; SELF; LOCKE; MORAL ACCOUNTABILITY; PERSONAL IDENTITY

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