Why is this my body?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Cyperium, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Exactly, both can't be me. It doesn't have to do with experiences, simply the fact that I can only be one body is sufficient. The only difference physically of those bodies are the location.

    Yes, our bodies are changing. This doesn't mean that there are a lot of parallell me's. I'm only me, although my body is changing as I grow older, at least judging from experience.

    I don't doubt that those in psych-wards have a "me" too, that are equally rooted in their body.

    Could be that some of them are what is called "philosophical zombies", where they have a body and mind, but no "me", or perhaps a body without a mind even.

    Yes, the self seem to persist after lobotomy. But I don't think we can take away too much before we loose the self.

    Yes, there's a lot of activity that can be measured in the brain, however the subjective experience can't be measured, it might be a "illusion" but where is that illusion?

    To say that it was because my parents made me, is irrelevant, as they wouldn't be my parents wouldn't the body be mine. Whoever was the body, he would say that it was because it was his parents that made him. It's not actually answering the question of why this body is mine. What makes me exist as this body instead of any other body.

    If I didn't exist but some other existence was my body, then they would ask the same question and never even think about that I could have existed instead as that body.

    Hypnosis can be used to bring back memories that are lost. It wouldn't help me answer the question of the thread though.

    Yes, I agree.

    I wouldn't say that it is fictional, as we do perceive ourselves to exist. The "illusion" has done it's job and isn't a illusion anymore. It is the real thing, even if it can only be that thing while the brain is in operation.

    It doesn't have to exist independently of what is causing it. It just needs to exist to be a real thing. It might not be possible to objectively measure it, as it is a purely subjective phenomena.

    That depends on what gives rise to a unique self. Maybe it's a process in the brain, and not so much a structure. If so we would have to transfer the process so that another brain could take on that process instead.

    As with anything physical though, it can be duplicated, but the self can't be two. The self can only be singular, so I doubt that the unique self is anything physical. How can it be, when most, if not all, physical things aren't unique, but are things that happen again, and again. Also, physical configurations can be at several places at the same time. It's said that there are no unique electrons, but that each electron is the same electron, there aren't anything physically that distinguish the properties of one electron from the other.

    There would be no way to prove it, and it wouldn't even be known to themselves, but there is a huge difference to exist in one body instead of another either way.

    I don't see the causal link between the history, body, memory, knowledge and attitudes, to the self. I could arguably be another body, with different memories, knowledge and attitude. I don't see why they make me exist in this body instead of any other. I can think of myself having a different personality. If I did I would still exist as my body.

    Somebody else would exist and call it "my body".

    You are talking about their personality, not their "self". Anyone could have a different personality without having a different existence altogether, they would still exist as their body whatever memories they had.

    It seems to me that you are rather talking about developing a personality, I would think that a baby (even if it is to young to remember it later) would still have a unique subjective existence even though it has no memories or no personality, or would it be in some kind of mix between everyone and no one, just because it has yet to have formed any experiences? Some kind of existential limbo?

    Yet, only one of them would still exist as Person A. If you were the one that was duplicated, then you must agree that Person B is a completely different person altogether even if it has exactly the same memories. There can only be one you, but there can be any number of duplicates of the body.

    Time doesn't have to go on, we must realise that no matter the justification of who is "really you" you are still uniquely ONE individual, even though there are exact replicas of the body.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That would assume that it is clear to begin with what the "self" is.

    I think we would first need to clear up what the "self" actually is, and then take it from there.
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  5. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    The self is just a word describing what it is like to exist. Things could objectively exist, but to have a self is what it is like to exist. The self is to exist subjectively. It is the subject to existence.

    I would argue that, if no one was ever aware, then there would be no difference between the universe and nothing. Cause by what right does it exist? Nothing is there to confirm it.
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Do we? How does that happen?

    We are obviously aware of our own bodies and think of them as "ours". We are aware of our own thoughts, memories and emotions, and think of them as "ours". We possess various skills (how to ride a bike or play a musical instrument perhaps) that we can't directly introspect but can demonstrate by performance, and think of those skills as "ours". We have various psychological propensities to behave in various ways, and to the extent that we are even aware of them we think of them as "ours".

    But in all that, the hypothetical owner of the body, the memories, feelings and perceptions, the skills and propensities, never seems to enter into our direct awareness at all. It's always hiding just beyond our vision so to speak, imperceived in that mysterious void that subjectively lies just behind our faces.

    A person's sense of him/herself is something that appears in their thinking and speech through what appears to be kind of an instinctive inference. Perhaps it arises as an artifact of the subject-object grammar of our natural languages. Perhaps it serves as kind of a cognitive avatar when our nervous systems are remembering, imagining, assigning blame or praise, or critiquing behavior. Perhaps it serves as the focus of our bodies' self-preservation instincts.

    The question isn't whether the idea of 'myself' exists, we all agree that it does. The question is what the word 'myself' actually refers to. In particular, the question is whether it names some non-physical or supernatural substance, some mysterious transcendental essence of ourselves.

    That's where the philosophical leap takes place, that carries us far beyond anything that we can directly observe in our own experience.
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I don't have any personality disorders. I have a developmental disorder. And what does that have to do with the subject?

    You are describing all of Zen Buddhist literature.
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I wrote:

    Wynn disagrees:

    This is from the beginning and the end of Cyperium's original post:

    I'm wondering about how 'selves' are individuated. What makes 'myself' (mine, yours, Cyperium's or anyone's) unique and individual, different from everyone else's 'self'?

    That seems to be the question that lies at the heart of Cyperium's original conundrum.

    We can ask the individuation question without knowing precisely what 'selves' are ontologically. Whatever 'selves' are, we still need to have some way of telling them apart and distinguishing one from another. It that wasn't so, then Cyperium's original question would be meaningless.

    Wynn again:

    I think that examining individuation is the most direct route to addressing Cyperium's original question. But that logical-semantic route is almost certainly going to deliver us into a discussion of the ontological issues that you want to discuss. (It already has, many posts ago.)

    The individuation question is directly relevant to the ontological question.

    If we propose to transfer Person A's 'self' into Person B's body, and in so doing give Person A's newly arrived 'self' all of Person B's individualizers: B's history, memories, feelings, ideas, skills and habits... then precisely what do we imagine that we would be transferring between them? How would B be any different after the supposed transfer than before?

    In other words, I'm questioning whether the idea of a 'self' retains any meaning at all apart from the individuation stuff.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  10. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Well, at least I perceive myself to exist. If that is my body or simply some fragment of the brain, is a different question, but whatever it means to exist that is what I perceive.

    I don't know how existence happens, I do know what it is like to exist though. Who knows, perhaps a rock knows what it is like to be a rock? Perhaps all of existence has a subjective part to it? All I know is that my body has a subjective part of it, which defines what it is like to be a body.

    Perhaps it takes a brain to define what it is like to exist, in such a case a rock might not have a subjective, but only a objective definition.

    We can't objectively observe ourselves, the very definition of "ourselves" is the subjective observation. In fact, no objective observation can exist of the subjective, as a observation requires a observer and in the end a observer needs to be subjective for what is observed to be meaningful.

    I would rather think that the subject-object grammar arises because of the sense of being something, and observing something. We observe the objective and this makes it subjective. We can't observe our selves, instead that is the subjective - which don't need to be observed but where all observations are turned subjective as well.

    Yes, we can't observe it objectively, instead the subjective (the "self") is a observation of its own existence. To observe it externally would be to go outside of its existence, which can't be done - how could we observe something subjective from the outside, when it requires to be inside the subjective to make a subjective observation?
  11. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

    "The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there." - Yasutani Roshi
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    How can we distinguish one self from another, if we aren't sure what a self is to begin with?

    It seems to me that your individuation question also supposes that a self is somehow developed, created, processed - that it is not a given regardless of space/time/activity.
    That's an ontological assumption right there.

    How do you know that these are the relevant individualizing factors?

    On the grounds of what do you assume that a person's history, memories, feelings, ideas, skills and habits etc. are what distinguishes them from another person?

    That will depend on what we suppose that "being an individual" entails.
  13. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    then I guess Yasutani should go the extra mile and accept responsibility for being deluded since distinguishing between the "I's" who are not deluded and the "you's" who are is technically not possible for him
  14. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    actually I was talking about you apparently being unable to fearlessly cross teh road without looking and fearlessly taking a bath (even though the latter would offer a drastically higher number of personality deaths to the conglomerate number of individuals your body houses eg bacteria)

    which tends to be full of disciples getting smacked in the face by their gurus whenever they start to speak on the subject ...
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Of all Buddhist schools, Zen seems to be the most misunderstood ...
    As if pretty much anything could pass for Zen ...
  16. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    If you are talking about "In fact this applies to all words. Words are artificial separations of a continuous process into separate frames. Useful for the purposes of discussion, but not the ultimate truth." ...you are kind of setting yourself up for a type of smack in the head made famous by a certain type of literature
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    No, my point is simply that some people all too easily think they're doing Zen (or Buddhism in general).
    Such people wouldn't do well in an actual training in Zen (or Buddhism in general).
    Despite its free-style-seeming nature, Zen (or Buddhism) isn't simply "anything goes," as many people think to be the case.

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