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Persons unlocked

Dale, Catherine Rebecca; (2018) Persons unlocked. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis considers two elements of the contemporary ‘personal identity debate’ that find their origins in Locke. The first part is focussed on reasons for rejecting the ‘personal identity’ framing – I propose that we should instead ask ’What is it for something to be a person?’ The second part of the thesis considers Lockean accounts of personhood. I assess the prospects of accommodating the personhood of infants on these accounts. I consider Locke’s own account, arguing that it has two central requirements on personhood – forming episodic memories, and having a self-conscious, first-person point of view. I use the phenomenon of childhood amnesia to argue that infants will satisfy neither of these criteria. I then consider Neo-Lockean psychological continuity accounts, taking Shoemaker’s functionalist account as my focus. I argue that infants do not satisfy the criteria of personhood that we find in Shoemaker, and that again this is due to a failure to have a self-conscious first-person point of view. I consider the possibility of a ‘bridge principle’ that would allow infants into the account, and reject such a move. In the following chapter, I turn to Rovane’s account, which rejects Locke’s conception of a point of view. Her account explicitly excludes infants, and I consider her account to identify why this is the case. I argue that, as well as having too high a conceptual demand, it implicitly relies on a self-conscious first-person point of view. In the last past of the thesis, I suggest that if a Neo-Lockean account of personhood is to accommodate infants, it will need a far more minimal conception of a point of view. I suggest that perhaps we can rethink Rovane’s notion of ‘mutual recognition’ to aid in this endeavour.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Persons unlocked
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2018. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064402
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