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What is the self?

Posted Sep 3, '14 at 7:03pm

09philj

09philj

2,141 posts

There are several theories as to what "you" are.

Firstly, there is the idea that we have souls, which arw connected to our bodies, but are not part of them. This is Dualism.

Secondly, there is Brain Theory, which states that the self is part of, or is housed in the brain.

Thirdly, there is Memory Theory, which states that the self is the sum of our experiences.

I believe the third theory to be the most likely, as it has no obvious scientific flaws. However, it raises the point that there is no "self," as new memories are constantly created, so we are not the same second by second.

 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 3:30am

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,439 posts

Knight

The third theory would be a subset of the second, as memories are housed in the brain. To me, the self is the result of the functioning brain. But I agree that we are constantly changing little by little. My "self" of, say, ten years ago I can truly consider dead.

 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 6:17am

partydevil

partydevil

5,243 posts

we do not have self. we have multiple selves. there is love, there is hate, desire, carelessness, annoyance, etc. etc. we act different with different people. we act different in different moods. we act different when we're hungry or not.

it isn't the 1st cause... well it isn't.. (dont wanna go into there)
it isn't the 2nd cause... it would mean our personality is completed when we are born.. and it clearly isnt like that. as we know from practice.
and it isn't the 3rd cause... it would mean that we are born without a personality... and we surely do...

it is that we are born with a basic personality that can/will change by the experiences we have. + the experiences we are having right . having bad experience makes you act different in the present, then having good experience with the same thing..

edit:
and that is just our acting part. going into the personality of the mind will take a much longer post that i'm not having the time for


last edited Sep 04 2014 06:24 am by partydevil
 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 9:34am

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,439 posts

Knight

we do not have self. we have multiple selves. there is love, there is hate, desire, carelessness, annoyance, etc. etc. we act different with different people. we act different in different moods. we act different when we're hungry or not.

Our reactions are situation dependent, as you pointed out, but that does not exclude having one 'self' nor does it mean we have several of them. All those emotions are part of our personality. The way we react to a situation is just one part of it.

it isn't the 2nd cause... it would mean our personality is completed when we are born.. and it clearly isnt like that. as we know from practice.

Clearly the brain is NOT complete when we are born, so your conclusion is wrong.
 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 10:21am

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,837 posts

Clearly the brain is NOT complete when we are born, so your conclusion is wrong.


That's exactly what he was saying, so it isn't.

I have to agree with partydevil on this. The 'self' is not an inert or well-defined thing. It is more accurately described as the state that the brain is in at any given time.
 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 10:57am

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,260 posts

Moderator

What a wonderful question!

It may help, though, to clarify a bit the notion we want to capture. Typically, when we talk about the self (at least in philosophy) we are picking out some entity that is distinct from other similar entities. With this in mind, here are some important intuitions:

1) The notion of 'self' is indexical. That is, when each of us refers to the self, we are each referring to a different entity. So my self is distinct from (though perhaps similar in many respects) to your self.

2) An individual's identity (or self) is something that refers to the same entity over an extended period of time - perhaps the entire life of the individual.

So in our answer, we should either try to 1) accommodate these intuitions, or 2) explain why these intuitions are wrong. There are other, more contentious, claims about the self or personal identity. But things start to get complicated and can quickly enter into questions in the philosophy of mind.

 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 11:06am

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,439 posts

Knight

That's exactly what he was saying, so it isn't.

Yes it is. The way he worded his phrase indicates that he thinks the brain is set and complete at birth.
 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 12:02pm

09philj

09philj

2,141 posts

2) An individual's identity (or self) is something that refers to the same entity over an extended period of time - perhaps the entire life of the individual.

This can be examined with this example:
If an exact copy is made of you, right down to the memories, are they the same self as you?

Soul theory says it isn't because a soul is unique.
Brain theory says it is, because it's brain is the same as yours.
Memory theory says it isn't, because it's memories will immediately become different to yours.


last edited Sep 04 2014 12:04 pm by 09philj
 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 12:15pm

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,439 posts

Knight

Soul theory says it isn't because a soul is unique.
Brain theory says it is, because it's brain is the same as yours.
Memory theory says it isn't, because it's memories will immediately become different to yours.

Again, memory is a function of the brain. For memory to become different, the brain has to change.
 

Posted Sep 4, '14 at 6:10pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,802 posts

Knight

I pretty much agree with what Hahiha said in his first post. I consider "self" as an emergent property from the various electrochemical interactions of the brain.

 
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