Philosophy of Human Nature
9 December 2019
The Soul and its Relation to the Person in Locke
Many philosophers have theorized possible connections between the soul and the body.
Preceding Locke, few offered an apprehensive distinction of one's consciousness. Locke's
publication, Essay II, provided an account designated towards his iteration of a "person" and the
soul. He believed that a person is separate from the soul and body, and defined it as a "thinking
intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same
thinking thing at different times and places" (Locke 115). With this declaration, he offered
various examples supporting his claim of the soul and its relation to the person.
To better understand Locke's theory, it is first essential to accentuate the thought
experiment that it may resolve. The predicament embellished in the "Ship of Theseus" thought
experiment was whether an item that has had the entirety of its parts replaced remains
fundamentally the same object or not. The experiment denied the concept of identity and left a
desire for clarity. Locke would argue that since the point of which the object becomes different is
too vague and complicated to determine, there must be another force clarifying the condition of
its identity. This conclusion introduced his hypothesis of “persons,” which suggested a third
factor crucial for personal identity. Although objects may not have souls, Locke believed that
humans have three determining conditions: the soul, the body, and the concept of "persons." He
argued that personal identity is consistent with the identity of a “person” rather than a soul.