Even though Malebranche does not systematically thematise the concept of identity as does, for example, John Locke, the problem of identity and its declinations emerges in various places in his works. This article highlights the more significant aspects of identity in Malebranche and investigates, in particular, the question of personal identity and self-knowledge. Given that for Malebranche self-knowledge is linked to the inner sentiment of the multiple, fluid and mutable “events” of the mental sphere and is situated on a historical and experiential level, this article examines inner sentiment/consciousness, as well as Malebranche’s more general distinction between feeling and knowing. Starting from there, it aims to identify possible paths in Malebranchian texts that can, albeit problematically, provide useful elements for thematising the question of individual identity from an ontological and epistemological point of view: on the one hand, it is a question of detecting the data in order to identify certain specific aspects of an individual’s personal history; on the other hand, it is about pointing out the way in which the self is known. From this perspective, the conception of inner sentiment or consciousness may provide a possible key to accessing individual identity on the level of its ratio cognoscendi.

The Problematic Status of Personal Identity in Malebranche

Raffaele Carbone
2022

Abstract

Even though Malebranche does not systematically thematise the concept of identity as does, for example, John Locke, the problem of identity and its declinations emerges in various places in his works. This article highlights the more significant aspects of identity in Malebranche and investigates, in particular, the question of personal identity and self-knowledge. Given that for Malebranche self-knowledge is linked to the inner sentiment of the multiple, fluid and mutable “events” of the mental sphere and is situated on a historical and experiential level, this article examines inner sentiment/consciousness, as well as Malebranche’s more general distinction between feeling and knowing. Starting from there, it aims to identify possible paths in Malebranchian texts that can, albeit problematically, provide useful elements for thematising the question of individual identity from an ontological and epistemological point of view: on the one hand, it is a question of detecting the data in order to identify certain specific aspects of an individual’s personal history; on the other hand, it is about pointing out the way in which the self is known. From this perspective, the conception of inner sentiment or consciousness may provide a possible key to accessing individual identity on the level of its ratio cognoscendi.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/900036
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