Hi,
Just a quick survey regarding what you think your Ontological/essential nature is from the various accounts on Identity/Perosnal Identity.

Who thinks they are an organism/Homo Sapiens, a brain, a Person/mind/ego or a Person constituted by a body/organism/Homo Sapiens. If I have left any out pls add them.

Cheers
Simon

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Yes but it then runs into the problem apart from the too many thinkers in that you cannot be said to do what your body does. A mind doesn't have a penis nor have sex.
Henk makes a similar argument.
Can a person break a world record? http://home.hetnet.nl/~wegweeda/PersonalIdentity.htm
I'm not clear about how it is a problem that "I" cannot be said to do what my body does. I'm going to follow the link...
I think that we usually apply "you" to both the mind and the body. I think that the word is inherently ambiguous. The "I" of the self is certainly equivalent to the mind, but the body represents physical continuity. We can still say, "he is in the casket".
PS: I just wanted to clarify about 'emergent'- I don't mean it in the sense that some new ontological entity is generated which is "greater than the sum of its parts". I've always been a pretty straightforward reductionist, so that kind of notion just doesn't make sense to me. I just mean that it is emergent in that an extreme level of complexity can produce phenomenon which are striking different qualitatively than the constituent parts. In other words, I don't believe that "consciousness" arising from matter is any more or less problematic than life having been produced by inanimate matter- and most people no longer see that as a real conundrum anymore.
Ok, but wouldn't this also mean that you cease to exist when the mind aspect isn't active?

Olson would then argue that you fall into the too many thinkers problem, there seem to be two beings doing the thinking, that is if you as a mind thinks.
But it is the body that exists, not the mind. Just like my copy of a book exists, but the story does not. "I" don't go 'in and out of existence' at all. I believe that the thoughts have the same relationship to the mind that the sentences do in the story. Ink and dead trees instantiate them all just like my grey matter instantiates my mind and thoughts.

When is the mind inactive? Do you mean if you are injured are ill and your brain sdoesn't have "higher order" functioning?

This brings up why I'm pro-life BTW...

People ask me how I can want to protect a human life that doesn't have brain activity that results in consciousness, and I ask them what they think ought to be done if a person were in a coma and didn't have consciousness at present, BUT in less than a year, there was a near certainty that the person in the coma would regain consciousness.

Would it be acceptable to terminate the patient if the family wished it?

Most people say 'no'.
You have obviously done more on nominalism related philosphy -I haven't- but just off the top of my head one could easily enter regress and say that even the body doesn't exist, something along the does a crowd exist if it joins hands? From what I understand you would have to say a crowd doesn't exist only the individuals. I see where it comes from but I don't think I'd follow where it goes.

BTW another problem i would have with this approach is that in a sense you are saying a programme or its information generated by a computer doesn't strictly exist nor your Phenomenological POV or qualia.

Injured or sleeping the brain may to a certain extent be active but being unconscious I and many others would say your mind isn't. Some accounts say you aren't a person if you are sleeping after all.


BTW I raise the recovering coma victim with David apart from other things. See message.
Well, the distinction is between abstract and concrete or between universal and particular. A simple example might be a yellow sock. The sock exists- it has definite boundaries in space (and arguably in time). Does 'yellow' exist? As a nominalist, I'd say that it doesn't.

Likewise, The Crying of Lot 49 doesn't exist, but I have a copy of it which does.

So, my body exists, but I don't think my mind or thoughts do.

As far as "the crowd" goes, it does exist. It picks out something physical and concrete.

"you are saying a programme or its information generated by a computer doesn't strictly exist nor your Phenomenological POV or qualia."

Correct. If you store the program on a disk, then the disk exists, but not the program. It is like the example of the story. If you say that a story exists (and there are many copies), then where does it exist?

"Injured or sleeping the brain may to a certain extent be active but being unconscious I and many others would say your mind isn't. Some accounts say you aren't a person if you are sleeping after all."

Hmmm. I don't think that a mind and a consciousness are identical. Is your position presupposing that they are? There is a lot going on in one's brain which corresponds to decision making and motivation, but which I do not consider to be something that rises to the level of conscious awareness. In that regard, you can be unconscious when you are asleep or anesthetized, but your mind is almost certainly still at work.
I'm not sure where physicalism-the world is comprised of matter/energy and information fits in the abstract and concrete. To me things like colour/information & relationships exist in this realm, and the relation of information to matter. I'm not sure anyone will bridge any substantive account of how the meaning/Phenomenological aspect arises from matter. All we can say it exists as some aspect of reality and experience it. In a sense these things are pure information but it isn't matter.

& yes you are right the mind and consciousness aren't the same thing , a bit sloppy on my part. Rather the mind –as I see it-is the totality of the mental, both conscious and unconsciousness.

But relating back to personhood, it strictly relates to the conscious aspects of the mental i.e. memory, reasoning, self awareness etc. So if by some accounts there is no consciousness there is no person. Frankly using memory or chains of psychological continuity to linkpersonal identity doesn’t do it for me for many reasons.
Well- I think that matter/energy and information/relationships would have to be concrete and abstract, respectively. Meinong said that we should use the word "subsistence" for abstractions, which is and idea I like, because it gives a name to the ontological status they have which is similar to "existence". :)

I'd think that if an account included the loss of personhood when one loses consciousness, then that would prove such accounts unworkable- no?
Yes but it depends on which account you use. If it depends on just having a capcity for personhood then sleeping isn't a problem. But on the other hand a recovering coma patient still has the problem.

To me it is just a plain mess to use personhood but having said that my account allows you to still use it and still be a person a feotus.
BTW this is what Baker is saying in her Constitutive account that as soon as you have the perosnhood capacity you are a new ontological being.

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