Locke on Persons and Personal Identity

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2022.07.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Ruth Boeker, Locke on Persons and Personal Identity, Oxford University Press, 2021, 336pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198846758.

Reviewed by David Wörner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ruth Boeker provides the most scholarly and sophisticated book-length study of Locke’s view of personal identity to date. She puts forward a reading of Locke’s account of personal identity and its relationship to his eschatological and moral beliefs, she defends this account against both well-known and lesser-known objections leveled by Locke’s peers, and she reconstructs how the account emerges from Locke’s thinking about the philosophical and religious problems pertinent among his intellectual predecessors. There is no question that its careful study of the literature, attention to detail, thorough argumentation, and broad view of intellectual context make it mandatory reading for anyone with a scholarly interest in Locke’s theory of personal identity.

After an introductory chapter, Boeker turns, in Chapters 2 and…

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