The clue to my interpretation is that Locke’s conception of consciousness involves an ambiguity. In the II.xxvii. chapter devoted to personal identity, Locke seems to see consciousness as (1) a mental state inseparable from an act of perception by means of which we are aware of ourselves as perceiving, and (2) the ongoing self we are aware of in these conscious states.The first sense of consciousness, the one employed in his philosophical psychology and in his theory of knowledge, is a momentary psycho- logical state. It is the one that provokes the objections already mentioned. This sense of consciousness allows for a momentary subjective experience that the self presently perceiving is the same as the self that remembers having once had a past thought or action. ‘Subjective,’ here, is meant to describe something psychological, which is epistemically available only from a first-personal point of view. The second sense of consciousness, which is needed to answer the objections, is the objective fact of an ongoing consciousness. ‘Objective’ is meant to describe something that is epistemic- ally available from a third-personal (maybe only God’s) point of view. The ongoing self that I am aware of in being conscious of past and present thoughts and actions seems also to have an objective continued temporal existence through any gaps in my successive, subjective states of awareness of myself. Disambiguating these two senses of consciousness allows for a metaphysical fact, what I am also calling an ‘objective fact,’ of my diachronic existence. Thus, there is no problem of circularity or transitivity, and there is a metaphysical ground for Locke’s theory of divine rectifi- cation. God need only look to all that I, as a continuously existing consciousness, have done to determine my just punishment and reward.
Appealing to a new ( i.e. trivial) distinction is nothing new but a ‘(useless) superaddition’ of understanding.