The Enduring Self and Social Contract Theory

A proposal of different philosophical theories regarding the enduring self and social contract theory.

This paper evaluates the views of some of the most famous philosophers on the theories of ‘self’ being an entity in its own right and social contract theory, that individuals living in isolation and without government would come together to form a government, binding themselves to a sovereign in exchange for protection. It shows amongst some of the views described in the paper how Descartes believed that the self was a continuing entity, how John Locke believed in the enduring self but stated that the existence of the self was dependent on memory, and how David Hume rejects the idea of the self as existing at all.
“The self is often thought of as interchangeable with the concept of identity, with an emphasis on the inner dimension of human consciousness and thought. The self is thought of as a part of consciousness. Descartes believed that the self was a continuing entity, the same throughout life. Descartes stated, “I think, therefore I am,” indicating that reason was the source of all knowledge and that the application of reason alone demonstrated that the enduring self was a real entity. The concept has become bound with issues of perception. Descartes placed the source of all perceptions in reason, while others saw all knowledge as perceptual, perceived only through the senses, and therefore not trustworthy because the senses can be wrong. Descartes believed in the enduring self because he could reason that the self he knew endured in the same form at all times.”

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