1. Donationbuckky
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    30 Jul '11 19:02
    What is the self ? What is being ? What is you ?
  2. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 19:311 edit
    Originally posted by buckky
    What is the self ? What is being ? What is you ?
    Funny thing, but I was thinking about starting a thread about this sort of topic a few days ago.

    What makes me me and you you is a weighty matter. I'd like to get back to this and cast around some unfounded speculations someday. There is a lot of philosophical theories about the nature of self in the literature, but it seems that one of the constants of the universe is that no two philosophers ever agree completely on anything.

    EDIT: The crux of the matter is determining what, exactly, is the nature of consciousness. Or so I believe.
  3. Standard memberpyxelated
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    30 Jul '11 21:22
    What makes me me and you you is a weighty matter.

    Yes, exactly what makes each of us ourselves is quite capable of investigation. But that I am I and you are you, and we are not each other, is as plain as the nose on your face. Even behind the pseudonyms most of us employ here, and without the benefit of face-to-face contact, our personalities are recognizable (and persistent) and only become more so with increasing contact.

    I'd like to get back to this and cast around some unfounded speculations someday. There is a lot of philosophical theories about the nature of self in the literature, but it seems that one of the constants of the universe is that no two philosophers ever agree completely on anything.

    I think I'd rather just play chess. 🙂 Might make for some interesting over-the-board chat, though.

    The crux of the matter is determining what, exactly, is the nature of consciousness. Or so I believe.

    Well, that depends on the assumption (which I do not accept, except maybe as a basis for reductio ad absurdum, did I feel capable of making the argument to the contrary) that the human self and consciousness are coextensive (and therefore interchangeable).
  4. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 22:101 edit
    Originally posted by pyxelated
    [b]What makes me me and you you is a weighty matter.

    Yes, exactly what makes each of us ourselves is quite capable of investigation. But that I am I and you are you, and we are not each other, is as plain as the nose on your face. Even behind the pseudonyms most of us employ here, and without the benefit of face-to-face c ntrary) that the human self and consciousness are coextensive (and therefore interchangeable).[/b]
    Consciousness => Self.

    "I think, therefore I am."

    But what of the converse?
  5. Standard memberpyxelated
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    30 Jul '11 22:35
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    Consciousness => Self.

    "I think, therefore I am."

    But what of the converse?
    Well, my point (or one of them, anyway) was that the assumption that human beings are the only entities who (that?) can say "I am" is debatable.

    but anyway... it seems that "I think, therefore I am" is only one way (of an effectively infinite number) of self-recognition (for lack of anything better to call it... maybe "self-awareness" )... it's unnecessarily limiting self-existence to the cognitive function; you might as well say with the philosophy faculty of the University of Wallamaloo, "I drink, therefore I am." If you can say either, you are. A baby looking at his hands for the first time and realizing that they're part of him has a cognate experience, I imagine, or at least one that's on the way to the "I". We need an ontology (or maybe an epistemology) of "I".

    Oy. If none of the preceding makes sense to you, you might be in good company. But I'm going to post it anyway. 🙂
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    30 Jul '11 22:48
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    Consciousness => Self.

    "I think, therefore I am."

    But what of the converse?
    I suggest that you look into Descates "Cogito ergo sum" because it and the things he got from it have been called into great question. For example, "There have been a number of criticisms of the argument. One concerns the nature of the step from "I am thinking" to "I exist." The contention is that this is a syllogistic inference, for it appears to require the extra premise: "Whatever has the property of thinking, exists", a premise Descartes did not justify. In fact, he conceded that there would indeed be an extra premise needed, but denied that the cogito is a syllogism (see below)." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito_ergo_sum)

    Also David Hume pointed out "For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are remov'd for any time, as by sound sleep; so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions remov'd by death, and cou'd I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate after the dissolution of my body, I shou'd be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is farther requisite to make me a perfect non-entity." (http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/TreatiseI.iv.vi.htm)

    For starters.

    I can say only "Thinking is happening, therefore, thinking is happening."
  7. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 22:51
    Originally posted by pyxelated
    Well, my point (or one of them, anyway) was that the assumption that human beings are the only entities who (that?) can say "I am" is debatable.
    Actually I do think all animals with a brain have some sense of consciousness and self, for any brain is a thinking machine. Man and mouse share the same essential qualities, the only difference being the degree to which these qualities are refined.
  8. Standard memberRJHinds
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    30 Jul '11 22:54
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    Consciousness => Self.

    "I think, therefore I am."

    But what of the converse?
    God said, "I AM". So what am I? What are you? Who can answer?
  9. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 22:59
    Originally posted by JS357
    I suggest that you look into Descates "Cogito ergo sum" because it and the things he got from it have been called into great question. For example, "There have been a number of criticisms of the argument. One concerns the nature of the step from "I am thinking" to "I exist." The contention is that this is a syllogistic inference, for it appears to require the ...[text shortened]... .

    I can say only "Thinking is happening, therefore, thinking is happening."
    I was being somewhat facetious. However, if put to it, I would have to say that "I think, therefore I am" implies existence right at the first word -- with the very use of the pronoun "I".
  10. Donationbbarr
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    30 Jul '11 23:03
    Originally posted by JS357
    I suggest that you look into Descates "Cogito ergo sum" because it and the things he got from it have been called into great question. For example, "There have been a number of criticisms of the argument. One concerns the nature of the step from "I am thinking" to "I exist." The contention is that this is a syllogistic inference, for it appears to require the ...[text shortened]... .

    I can say only "Thinking is happening, therefore, thinking is happening."
    But the cogito is a performance or demonstration, not an inference. Hintikka has a great paper on this (Phil. Review, 1962). Anyway, Hume's account is nuts. What keeps the bundle bundled, on his bundle-theory of the self, and what explains the unity of apperception?
  11. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 23:061 edit
    Let's see if this flies: we amend "I think, therefore I am" to get the argument as follows:

    I think.
    That which thinks must exist.
    Therefore I exist.

    See, the problem I have with this is the use of the pronoun "I" in the first premise. What can say "I" and not exist, then?

    Splittin' hairs ad infinitum here...

    EDIT: Moreover, there must be a clear definition of the word "exist". Is there one amongst all you philosophers out there?
  12. Donationbbarr
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    30 Jul '11 23:131 edit
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    Let's see if this flies: we amend "I think, therefore I am" to get the argument as follows:

    I think.
    That which thinks must exist.
    Therefore I exist.

    See, the problem I have with this is the use of the pronoun "I" in the first premise. What can say "I" and not exist, then?

    Splittin' hairs ad infinitum here...
    But how is the use of 'I' in the first premise justified? This is essentially Lichtenberg's point. Introspection reveals that there is thinking occurring, not that Descartes is doing the thinking. He is directly acquainted with the presence of thought, not with an 'I' doing the thinking, nor with any other thing doing the thinking.

    Edit: To exist is to be an appropriate object of an existential quantifier. 😉
  13. Standard memberpyxelated
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    30 Jul '11 23:18
    Originally posted by JS357
    I suggest that you look into Descates "Cogito ergo sum" because it and the things he got from it have been called into great question. For example, "There have been a number of criticisms of the argument. One concerns the nature of the step from "I am thinking" to "I exist." The contention is that this is a syllogistic inference, for it appears to require the ...[text shortened]... .

    I can say only "Thinking is happening, therefore, thinking is happening."
    And for all that, when you say "I," both you and I know who you mean. And as long as both of us retain our mental health, this will be so.

    Not only that, Hume assumes a knowledge of what happens after death that he has (had?) no way of confirming.

    I think that whatever considerations we can bring to bear on the notion of the self cannot really bring us to doubt its basic reality, at least not if we are to take ourselves and our problems seriously in any meaningful sense. If "I" do not "really" exist, and this is all an illusion,

    1) why does it seem so real?
    2) who or what does really exist? After all, something is really here, interacting with itself (or among themselves). And referring to it or them in the third person rather than the first doesn't send them away. 🙂

    So: I am really here. You (to be less ambiguous than colloquial English usually is, y'all), my interlocutors and readers, are really here. How this came to be and is is a great mystery, and a cause for wonder for us all. But that it is is something that is not capable of serious dispute.
  14. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 23:18
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Edit: To exist is to be an appropriate object of an existential quantifier. 😉
    That just kicks the can down the road -- or is that why you're winking? 😉
  15. Standard memberSoothfast
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    30 Jul '11 23:30
    Originally posted by bbarr
    But how is the use of 'I' in the first premise justified? This is essentially Lichtenberg's point. Introspection reveals that there is thinking occurring, not that Descartes is doing the thinking. He is directly acquainted with the presence of thought, not with an 'I' doing the thinking, nor with any other thing doing the thinking.
    We can reasonably define "self" to include the thought process, I think. At least for the purposes of the discussion about what is self. We're then led to questions concerning what is thought, along with what is awareness and what gives each of us a sense of being "each of us"? But, I'm out of time, so ya'll have fun and no blows below the belt. 😉
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