Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Locke, Empiricism, and Tabula Rasa

Locke was one of the first empiricists and he believed that memories formulate who people are. He believed that without memories, a body is just a shell, and not an actual person. In this presentation, we will relate Locke’s memory theory to the movie Memento and the TV series Dollhouse. Both deal with people who live in a tabula rasa state, which as defined by Locke is the state all humans are born into. People learn through experience and experience only. In the nature vs. nurture debate, he believed in nurture. These are two representations of this philosophy, because in the case of Memento, Leonard wakes up every day as a blank slate, not being able to remember anything after his accident. He uses his body as a way to organize those facts he knows about the man who killed his wife, so that he can remember, through tattoos. Dollhouse is an example of tabula rasa in that the “actives” memories are erased, and replaced with memories that are desired by other people. After this so called “engagement” the actives minds are once again erased and they revert back into this blank slate state. The big question is: does this event (or series of events in the case of Dollhouse) change who these people are? Or is there something about these people that defines them, instead of their memories?

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