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either reward or punish every one according to his works done in the body.
Nor does it imply a plurality of persons in any man at any time given to charge him with various actions or omissions ; since he may become guilty of a plurality of crimes, as often as he is induced or enabled to reflect upon them, though these cannot be crowded into his mind altogether, any more than they could have been so committed. Nor therefore need all past actions become at once present to the mind; which is utterly inconsistent with our frame, as it now stands, and perhaps with that of every other created being; nor is there a necessity for any one idea being always actually in view; which is equally so; but only for a capacity of having such brought to mind again, together with a consciousness of their having been there before, (which distin. guishes them from entirely new ones), or a possibility of recognizing them upon occasion, at least whenever we are to account for them, as has been frequently observed. So far as any such recognition reaches, such person is the same; when this faculty varies, that must vary also; and he become the same, or not, at different times and in divers respects, as observed likewise; at least his accountableness must vary in proportion, call this personality, or what you think fit. Nor does it properly lie in a power of causing a return of the same idea; but rather in the capacity of receiving it, of re-admitting the same consciousness concerning any past thought, action, or perception. Nor is it merely a present representation of any such act; but a representation of it as our own, which entitles us to it; one person may know or become conscious of the deeds of another, but this is not knowing that he himself was the author of those deeds, which is a contradiction; and to treat him as such upon that account only, would be inverting all rules of right and wrong; and could not therefore be practised by either God or man, since no end could possibly be answered by such treatment, as observed above.
To dwell upon those surprising consequences that might attend the transferring the same consciousness to different beings, or giving the same being very different ones, is merely puzzling and perplexing the point, by introducing such confusions as never really existed, and would not alter the true state of the question, if they did.
Such Fairy tales and Arabian transformations, possible or impossible, can only serve to amuse the fancy, without any solid information to the judgment. These flights of mere imagination Mr. Locke generally avoids, though he was here tempted to indulge a few such, in playing with the wild suppositions of his adversaries, (v.g. a change of souls between Socrates and the mayor of Queenborough, &c.] probably to enliven a dry subject, and render it more palatable to the bulk of his readers.
Nor are those cases of a disordered imagination in lunacy or yapours, where persons are for a time beside themselves, (as we usually term it) and may believe such chimerical alterations to befal them, any more to the purpose.
But it were endless to unravel all futile sophisms and false' suppositions, that have been introduced into the present question; I have endeavoured to obviate such as appeared most material, and account for them; and at the same time to inculcate a doctrine, which, though common enough, seemed not enough attended to; yet is fundamentally requisite to a right understanding of this intricate subject. And if that which is laid down above be a true state of the case, all the rest of our author's plan, [of placing personal identity in a continuation of thought] a will drop of course. I trust the reader will make allowance for some repetitions, which were left to render things as plain as possible, and prevent future subterfuges of the like kind; and if the substance of these few hasty observations on the first part of this ingenious writer's essay, prove in the least degree satisfactory to himself, or have a tendency to enlarge general knowledge, and guard against popular errours, I must rely upon his candour for excusing the manner in
a Which disposition, could it be made out, would never answer the intent of society, or help to direct us in our duty, the two grand objects which first gave birth to personality ; i. e. to a very partial confined consideration of that complex idea, substance, or being, called
which they are thrown out; and shall take the liberty of closing them in the form of a syllogism, which is submitted to his consideration :
Quo posito ponitur personæ identitas, et quo sublato tollitur, id personalem identitatem constituit: Sed positâ conscientiâ, &c.
APPENDIX. A friend, well acquainted with the subject of the fore
going sheets, having communicated to me some observations concerning the use of the word Person, which came too late to be inserted in their proper place, I must take the liberty of annexing them, though they occasion some more redundancies and repetitions, in order to throw as much light as is possible on this very obscure and long controverted question.
As Mr. Locke's definition of the term person, (chap. xxvii. Ø 9.) may possibly create some difficulty, it will be proper to examine into the sense which should be put upon this word, whenever we inquire after the identity of any man's person ; which may perhaps at once lead us to a just conception of the whole. In the aforementioned section, Mr. Locke says, that person stands for “ a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and
reflection,” &c. whereas I should imagine, the expression would have been more just, had he said that the word person stands for an attribute, or quality, or character of a thinking intelligent being; in the same sense as Tully uses it, Orat. pro Syll. 9 3. “Hanc mihi tu “ si, propter res meas gestas, imponis in omni vitâ meâ “ personam, Torquate, vehementer erras. Me natura “ misericordem, patria severum ; crudelem nec patria, “ nec natura esse voluit: denique istam ipsam personam “ vehementem et acrem, quam mihị tum tempus et res
publica imposuit, jam voluntas et natura ipsa de66 traxit.” It came at last to be confounded with, and stand for homo gerens personam (Taylor, Civ. L. p. 247, 248.) and in this sense Locke has incautiously defined the word. It has attributed also to more intelligent
beings than one; as by the jesuits in their declaration prefixed to the third book of Newton, alienam coacti sumus gerere personam. The word person then, according to the received sense in all classical authors, standing for a certain guise, character, quality, i. e. being in fact a mixed mode, or relation, and not a substance; we must next inquire, what particular character or quality it stands for in this place, as the same man may bear many characters and relations at the same, or different times. The answer is, that here it stands for that particular quality or character, under which a man is considered, when he is treated as an intelligent being subject to government and laws, and accountable for his actions : i. e. not the man himself, but an abstract consideration of him, for such and such particular ends : and to inquire after its identity is to inquire, not after the identity of a conscious being, but after the identity of a quality or attribute of such a conscious being. All difficulties that relate to a man's forgetting some actions, &c. now vanish, when person is considered as a character, and not a substance, or confounded with homo
gerens personam: and it amounts to no more than saying a man puts on a mask—continuing to wear it for some time-puts off one mask and takes another, i. e. appears to have consciousness—to recollect past consciousnesses
- does not recollect them, &c. The impropriety consists in saying, a man is the same person with him who did such a fact; which is the same as to say, a man is blackness, guilt, &c. i. e. a mixed mode is predicated of a substance; whereas it ought to be, in strict propriety of speech, the person of the man who did such a fact, is the same with the person of him, who now stands before us; or, in plainer terms, the man who now stands before the court is conscious of the former facts, and is therefore the proper object of punishment. It may be observed, that the word personality is really an absurd expression; since person itself stands for the mixed mode or quality ;--and personality therefore may be ranked among the old scholastic terms of corporeity, egoity, tableity, &c. or is even yet more harsh : as mixed modes, such as gratitude, murder, and therefore person, cannot be thus re-modified without peculiar absurdity.