Does the self persist through time?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Doreen, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,845
    Self is a function that changes over time but in being self referential, the changes include the previous states of itself at least "grossly".

    So it's like many natural processes. The sun is the sun but the sun is always changing. A hurricane is a hurricane, etc. The difference being that self is an active perspective.

    Still groggy from waking.

    Certain brain damage can make self less apparently persistent, screwing up the self-referential thing. Though from an alternative perspective (someone else observing you) it may seem even more persistent.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,502
    Not quite sure if this is the right time to pop in but.... a few comments.

    The question itself isn't really a valid one.

    Try a simple reductio on this: if the self [as of yet undefined here... tsk, tsk...] did not persist, what would be the case?
    The first thing that occurs to me would be that this question itself would never arise: one would never consider any self other than the one that one currently 'operates' under....

    From this, again, it seems that the question is already answered: of course the self persists; none of us have any experience to indicate anything else [one caveat here: the schizoid, or any multiple personality disorder...].

    If the self did not persist, then every day [or whatever schedule you like..] you would be a virgin experiencer; in other words, you would not know who you were, where you were, why you were there, etc., etc. [ever seen Memento?].



    ...just some thoughts....

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!





    [Warning: I'm not going to get too heavily involved in this discussion. I did my undergrad thesis on Personal Identity...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ]
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. quantum_wave Contemplating the "as yet" unknown Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,677
    Yes, replacement of me is going on almost imperceptibly but the physical me is changing. As for the soul or whatever, are you saying that we delude ourselves if we see our self as enduring through the gradual replacement, or does the delusion require a personal belief that there is some persistence after death?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    your two cents then please


    who is this "me"?


    /confused

    so?
     
  8. thinking Banned Banned

    Messages:
    1,504
    agreed
     
  9. thinking Banned Banned

    Messages:
    1,504
    whats missing Doreen are the details

    what I mean by this is that , since we know that the body sheds cells every minute of every day , we never seem to lose the attitude that the self had

    now you could argue that some people grow and change their outlook upon things and themselves

    and the self keeps the experiences and knowledge of why one changes their outlook

    but fundamentally , our past history , childhood experiences are etc. are kept

    so things being equal , nothing dramatic happens to the body , the self does persists through time
     
  10. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    so the self is the sum of its memories? is that your thesis?
     
  11. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    why? i am what i experience? i am happiness? anger? is that not a necessary consequence of what you seem to imply? a interpretation of identity rooted in chemical reactions?
     
  12. thinking Banned Banned

    Messages:
    1,504
    Gustav

    its not just chemical reactions

    but DNA

    it is the DNA which builds you , initially
     
  13. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    what distinction are you trying to make here? are you not postulating that this "pattern" is contingent on the properties of said "material"?
     
  14. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    156
    I don't think so. It would be a pretty gross oversimplification to say that one's entire conscious experience could ever be synonymous with an emotion, which is what the above would require. Even if I feel happy or angry, there are lots of other things going on phenomenologically for me beyond just the experience of that emotion (self dialogue, sensory perception, imagery/visualization, etc.). We could say that my experience, and therefore my self, includes these emotions, but is not synonymous with them. To clarify, my self is the sum total of my conscious experience, not its constituent parts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  15. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,502
    Not quite.
    The self is the organizing activity of those memories.
     
  16. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,348
    I believe that "self" is an process rather than an entity and not only does the it persist through time it is dependent on time. There is no thought without change. And if we could map a frozen instant of consciousness it would only be a state, it would not be consciousness, merely structure. This also remedies the problems of replacement and duplication. Replacement is merely a physical aspect of the process through time while duplication does not result in a duplication of self as the original process follows along its own path through time regardless of the duplicate. Although initially in the same state as the original, the duplicate would quickly diverge further revealing the difference.

    ~Raithere
     
  17. superstring01 Moderator

    Messages:
    12,110
    No. You die and turn into mud.

    ~String
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,828
    No - I'm saying that consciousness might very well be a pattern of activity within the brain - but one that could possibly be replicated external to the brain - e.g. within a computer.

    The way that "running" is a pattern of the movements of the legs, so "consciousness" might be a pattern of the movements of neurons and chemicals within the brain etc.
    i.e. it is not enough to have the material there - but for that material to have a certain pattern to it.
    A brain-damaged person might lose their sense of self if that pattern is disrupted, even if the material is all present.

    Therefore, as long as the replication of cells does not interfere with the pattern (heck, it may even be an integral part of the pattern for all I know), then the pattern persists; consciousness persists.

    Take the "pattern" of a chair - four legs, seat and back.
    Does it matter if the chair is made of wood, metal, jelly? No - it still has the pattern of "chair".
    The materials used for the chair, and the actual design, give it "personality" but that is not the same as it being a "chair".

    And by pattern I don't mean a static pattern - like that found on wallpaper - but a pattern of activity - like a ripple, or "running" etc - i.e. a process that follows a pattern.
     
  19. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,845
    Why not a pattern that IS an entity?
     
  20. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    in all three characterizations, it appears the self (the reference of "i" ) is described as being a "process". an epiphenomenalist approach.

    one wonders then how this discussion can even occur
     
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,828
    Are you going to expand on that?
    i.e. What is incompatible between having this discussion and such an approach (not that I necessarily agree that what is being touted is merely an epiphenomic approach).
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  22. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,348
    I don't believe it requires epiphenomenalism. Rather self is an emergent property of the systematic, physical processes of the brain.

    ~Raithere
     
  23. Gustav Banned Banned

    Messages:
    12,575

    you find nothing unusual about a bunch of circuitry commenting on itself?
    for instance

    brain: "i am aware of being a bunch of circuitry"
    does that imply...
    computer: "i am aware of being a bunch of circuitry"
    ..this?
    if not, why one and not the other?


    if it is weak emergence you refer to then it really is not much of a distinction.
    if it is not, i shall invoke occam and assert that it is more parsimonious to postulate an entity that is relatively isolated and separate from the objects of its awareness to a degree of one's choosing

    it is an introspective exercise that really requires very little effort. infact i am sure it is readily apparent to all

    i, am not me

    /snicker
     

Share This Page