Does the self persist through time?

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

  1. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    A pattern can be complete in a given moment. A process, which was the word he used, is a pattern over time. The latter is not an entity in the sense we use it. And it would not support the persistence of the self. Or, in any case, it would make no sense to say, I am the same self as 20 years ago.
     
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  3. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    I sure wouldn't go through that voluntarily. Allow my 'first' body to be thrown out even knowing they would do all of the above. And anyone who would is working from a strange kind of faith.
     
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  5. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Memories make poor evidence of persistent selfhood. AS you pointed out they can be lost. Two they change over time. Three, we would have to, at best, consider ourselves somewhat the same person, to whatever degree we have the same memories. Four, every memory we have of a certain period of our earlier life is a difference we have from that person. So it is very strange to say these memories show we are the same. Five, in the computer age, we should be more cautious about assuming memory proves identity, when we can copy, transfer and erase huge memories both while maintaining identity - it is the same computer - or compromising it via copies - possibly millions.
     
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  7. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Which is exactly paralleled by you having memories of your former selves - memories of things they did and experienced - that they do not have.
     
  8. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Sure we refer to the sun as the sun, etc., but our language use does not mean that the entity is the same entity. It may simply be a matter of convenience. ESPECIALLY when we are referring to the experiencer. In a sense, with the sun, it does not matter. But with us it does. We can copy files, even with billions of bytes, add files to the new hard drive, etc. Change some of the old files, slowly. And end up with a pattern that 'grossly' carries with it much of what went before. But is it the same one. I mean, we can have the old one right next to it.
     
  9. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    This does not seem like a logical conclusion. We seem capable of wondering about all sorts of things, I am not sure this provides evidence of those things.

    You don't? I do. I look back on what earlier 'mes' did and am shocked sometimes. That younger person seems like a different person. You really have never felt this or heard others say it with conviction. Let alone who 'I' was when I was a child. In fact I have nothing at all in my experience that fits with the notion

    I am the same person.

    I do have some that fits with

    I am partially the same.

    I could see if people granted that identity is not digital. I cannot imagine, however, a non-religious person claiming 100% identity with an earlier self.

    No. YOu have good enough copies of past experiences. Further, let's look at animals. Baby animals often do quite well just working from instincts. Are they in fact reincarnations?
     
  10. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    As I said elsewhere

    our memories of our childhood experiences ARE DIFFERENCES from that child. They are records of a change. So they are funny things to hang identity on. I know I am the same as that because I have this difference from it.
     
  11. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Which radically changes over time. The whole context of my memories is radically different than it was 10 years ago. I moved out of my home country. This radically shifted the way I organize those memories, what they mean to 'me, their prioritization and what I do with them. Let alone the ten years of memories plopped on top.

    Again. I can see a claim to some degree of identity, but 100% seems very odd to me from empirical materialists. (if this term does not fit, apologies)
     
  12. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Just as an aside: I always find it amazing how the ONLY source of information for an empiricist - consciousness - and thus the source of all evidence for any theory can become epi.
     
  13. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know why it is only the brain. As if the rest of the body does not affect identity, thinking, emotions, etc.
     
  14. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    for that matter, i don't see why the "self" would be simply the brain and the body. like wallace stevens, i am fairly confident in asserting that "i was the world in which i walked." and i mean that quite literally.

    sure you can remove the chair which i am sitting upon from the room, and i will not be profoundly affected--at least insofar as my "sense of self," whatever that is, is concerned--but i will have to find someplace else to sit.

    but i'm pretty certain that when parmalee (dog) died a little over a year ago, i lost a part of myself--it's like, my shadow is no longer there. the memories aren't affected, and neither am i incapacitated--but i am radically changed and i am missing a part of myself. again, i mean this literally.

    until someone can prove me otherwise, i am confident in my assertions--well, not 100 percent, but close enough.

    i'm sure that some experience such "identity" less, others more, and for most it's constantly vacillating, but i doubt that anyone here can claim to have never experienced such.
     
  15. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    yeah, i don't quite "get" epiphenomenalism either--it's still a dualism and has "tinges" of metaphysics. and i don't really "get" how the physical can effect the mental, but not vice-versa. besides that, it reminds me of skinner-ites and their "quaint" reductions and simplifications.
     
  16. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    well, i have PLENTY of experience which indicates otherwise--and some of it might be a "product" of what is implied in the ellipsis of the caveat (epilepsy), but neurologists assure me that there's a whole lot else going that they "haven't 'yet' identified." * (their smug confidence is only amusing when i am in the frame of mind to argue with them, and get them arguing with one-another--i'm (smugly) confident that many a neurologist cannot identify his ass from a hole in the ground.) * IOW they have assured me that certain "experiences" i have had, and which they had witnessed a part of could not be epileptic in nature (by definition, w/o even needing diagnostic tools to determine such; in fact, one time 4 neurologists told me that what they had witnessed the tail end of--it had gone on for several hours--could not have been a seizure, because if it were, it would had to have concluded in death. i was like: are you sure about that?). not to mention countless other "instances," which simply had nothing to do with epilepsy at all.

    is the self just memory then? i'm trying to get a handle on all the times for which i am "absent"--for anywhere from seconds to days--and i am confident that it's not simply amnesia--because i also know amnesia personally, and well, it's not that. moreover, other people assure me that i am clearly not myself during these times, but neither am i someone else, i.e. another personality. i am like a fully-functioning zombie: i can perform complex routines, i seem to know where everything is (the teapot, the tea, etc.), and i can even carry on a sort of conversation, but i am apparently not myself--according to other people--and neither is there another personality; rather, there is NO personality. and then there are those times in which i am watching myself--and i have pretty fair recollection or memory of these instances--but i am clearly not myself to myself, although i recognize the body.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  17. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

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    I think the only reason for finding it unusual is that we like to attach special significance to self. "I am special. Certainly a machine can have none of the special properties I possess."

    I think this is a bit of a false dilemma but, yes, I would call it weak emergence in contrast to the notion of strong emergence.

    ~Raithere
     
  18. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    yeah, i'm a little lost here too--both a logical and intuitive appeal?! for whom? certainly not for me--don't know about the logic, but THAT is certaintly not intuitive to me: the self as a sort of "sum" of qualia?

    EDIT: i only just now saw where you address "lapses":
    given this, it would seem that self as "phenomenal experience," with no mention of the conscious aspect, would suffice given what is usually intended by "conscious." (rather, w/o having to make qualifications re: consciousness, or having to define consciousness in this more inclusive sense) i suppose w. steven's reformulated as "i was (my experience) of the world in which i walked" would capture this, but then, properly considered, this would become an interminably self-referential phrasing: what is my/mine? what is proper to me, i.e. my experience--"i was my experience of my experience of my experience of...the world in which i walked." but is one's phenomenal experience necessarily defined by the limits of one's own nervous system? even here, the expression "one's own" becomes problematic: if by "one" is intended "the phenomenal experience of said entity," then "one's own" becomes "what is proper to (or, property of) said entity's experience." it seems then that it can never be said, of a conscious (is self-awareness essential?) entity, that something (whether it be a "thing" or an "experience") is proper to, or property of this entity--but only to the experience of...

    i suppose this is why it does not seem intuitive to me: "i" am not my physical person, but simply "my (my experience of... rather) experience."
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  19. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

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    It's somewhat arbitrary but because that's where the pattern resides, it's the part that's necessary. You could change or eliminate the body and still have the same, persistent self. But I agree that it's not a closed system, body and mind affect each other. Of course that's somewhat arbitrary as well because the body affects the world and the world the body, why stop at the skin?

    ~Raithere
     
  20. Gustav Banned Banned

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    you obviously think you are in fucking kindergarten talking down to some punk ass kid
     
  21. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    hmmm. a few caveats regarding this caveat:

    considering psychological and neurological "idiosyncracies," can we really be so sure?

    i won't make this example specifically pertain to sense of self, but one can extrapolate--and certainly we can sometimes be confident that the "impaired" individual in question is "hallucinating" or "deluded," but can we always? one of the most common simple partial seizures experienced is the supposed olfactory "hallucination," and one of the more common scents is, well, that of fecal matter. now, given that a dog can smell a glove and find the kid, to which the glove belongs, hidden under a bridge 5 miles away--are you so certain that i am "hallucinating" when i claim to smell shit? the fact is: toilet paper doesn't work that well and most buildings have bathrooms and plumbing--still so certain?

    so how can we be certain about distorted or disrupted senses of self? what does neuronal misfiring really establish? nothing really, just "neuronal misfiring."

    we've got devices and whatnots, but how come these devices have "yet" to replace the tracking dog? because, frankly they suck and they are woefully inadequate. (again, see c.c.'s curious claim regarding the video camera.)
     
  22. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    well, contrariwise the machine can have special properties that i do not possess--the machine can be rational, unlike any of us (though we like to "pretend"):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationality

    any "complete" psychopaths here?
     
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    No, I find nothing unusual about it.
    Are you arguing from personal incredulity?
    So I ask again - what is incompatible?
     

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