In my first post I discussed Descartes’ view, which I am going to refer to using Hill’s name the “retirement view.” This view can be summarized as the mind temporarily separating from the body during sleep and therefore the brain is unable to lay down new memories from the mind. John Locke’s view of sleep is the exact opposite. Unlike Descartes, Locke believes that the mind is not thinking and supports the existential pause theory that Descartes believed to be wrong. Locke believed that the mind would just black out during sleep. When contemplating the “retirement view” he brings up the issue of personal identity. He said:
“If there are periods of thinking in me that I can have no conceivable access to when awake, then the thinking in question is really that of another person.” (Hill)He says that if he still thinking while sleeping that it is not himself because the thoughts are not continuous with his present thoughts. Locke believes that this theory is much more probable than Descartes’ view and believes that we have no thoughts during dreamless sleep. My next and final post will discuss Leibniz’s theory which is like a median between the two theories discussed thus far.