There's the theory of reincarnation, which means that when you die, will be reborn as a different person. My problem with this is that it confuses me that we won't have any of the memories from that time. For instance, I could say that my consciousness was there in the 1800s with a different person, but I'd be confusing myself because then I'd ask myself why I'm not back then right now. To which I reply that that's because I'm in 2015 right now with no recollection whatsoever of life in the 1800s, but then it goes in a loop in my mind, so if anyone knows about any clarification or wants to speculate too, I'm open to all ideas.

  • Perhaps when you are between worlds you recover you're identity as a single unitary being; still reincarnation is an idea more associated with Indian philosophy than Western - it's probably best looking there. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 14:47
  • Actually reincarnation was a fairly common concept in the West until it was deemed heretical by one of the early church councils. But I think it would be better answered if the question was not closed but moved by a moderator to Hinduism SE. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:41
  • But I wasn't asking regarding Hinduism. I was asking in general. Many religions have a theory of reincarnation, but I'm not trying ask a religion-based question. Just a general one regarding the idea of reincarnation without any religious or ideological ties, and I thought that Philosophy seemed to best suit those parameters. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


There must be something that gives content to the assertion that I and that person from 1800 are the same person . Since we do not inhibit the same body, the common factor should probably be in the memories. Here are two related excerpts from John Locke's classical memory theory of personal identity:

  1. Self depends on Consciousness, not on Substance.
    SELF is that conscious thinking thing,--whatever substance made up of, (whether spiritual or material, simple or compounded, it matters not)--which is sensible or conscious of pleasure and pain, capable of happiness or misery, and so is concerned for itself, as far as that consciousness extends. Thus every one finds that, whilst comprehended under that consciousness, the little finger is as much a part of himself as what is most so. Upon separation of this little finger, should this consciousness go along with the little finger, and leave the rest of the body, it is evident the little finger would be the person, the same person; and self then would have nothing to do with the rest of the body . . .
  2. Which shows wherein Personal identity consists.
    This may show us wherein personal identity consists: not in the identity of substance, but, as I have said, in the identity of consciousness, wherein if Socrates and the present mayor of Queenborough agree, they are the same person . . .

From what I've heard personally I think that reincarnation theories usually involve the belief that past lives can be remembered, in principle, even though they usually aren't remembered. That is, if you are properly gifted, or properly trained, you will recall your past lives. There is a lot of internet material about reincarnation memories. See for example here.

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