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Philosophy- Locke Hume and Kafka Essay

1. Explain how Locke and Hume view personal identity, or the “Self”. How do you see Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” as exemplifying these philosophical themes? You may choose Locke or Hume or both, or argue why you see neither of their theories as showing up in Kafka’s work. Locke’s theory of personal identity does not rely on substance to explain personal identity.

Locke’s theory is person one at time two is the same person as person two at time one if and only if person one and person two are both persons and person one can remember at time two (his doing) what person two did or felt or what have you at time one. Hume’s theory of the self-held that the self is nothing but a bundle of experiences or perceptions linked by the relations of causation and resemblance; or, more accurately, that the empirically warranted idea of the self is just the idea of such a bundle.

In “Metamorphosis” Kafka takes on Locke’s view of the self. Kafka illustrates that Gregor Samsa is the same person as he was when he was human even though he has changed into a bug. Kafka does this by showing that Gregor still has the same thoughts, memories, and tries to continue the same routine even though he has become a bug.

Gregor stills tries to wake up and catch the train for work, he still knows how his sister, parents, and boss will act, and he still has the same feelings and emotions towards his life and the people who are in it. All of these explain go along with Locke’s view of the self verses Hume’s theory.


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