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What is the Self?
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Posted 12/3/06
In "consciousness explained" Dennett argues that consciousness comes about though the interaction between many components in the brain. That is there is nothing beyond the interaction of these components.

On Dennett and C.S. Lewis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greedy_reductionism

"Whereas reductionism means explaining a thing in terms of what it reduces to, greedy reductionism comes when the thing we are trying to understand is explained away instead of explained, so that we fail to gain any additional understanding of the original target." - Wikipedia

This is certaily something I am very interested in, the limits of science and our understanding. I suppose my current philosophy teacher would refer to himself as a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mysterianism
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Posted 12/3/06
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3133438412578691486&q=dan+dennett

look at Robert Wright's failed attempts to convince Dan of supernaturalism, at some parts they debate, and I'll admit the latter stuff is above my head, but they touch on new mysterianism and the fallacy of epiphenomenalism.
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Posted 12/3/06
Yea I've watched that and I don't quite understand parts of it either.

As far as I know Wright is arguing over a point in that interview, that dennett necessarily admitted to belief in a high purpose then ours, what humans make for themselves.
http://nonzero.org/dennbackground.htm
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Posted 12/3/06
they both go over our heads, but what wright suggests is making a monumental leap that does not need to be made, what's more he seems to want dan to give him fatherly approval or something. it's clear dan's analogies were alot better, and at the end of it, they didn't come off too pleased with each other.

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Posted 12/3/06
One thing That I've wondered about (but am just now reading on) is this...which is related to the Ship of Theseus paradox.
How can we say that I am the same person today as yesterday? Clearly cells in my body, brain, etc have died. Perhaps by only postulating a realm above and beyond the physical or somehow saying the physical does not mater much. Or perhaps we can just admit that things are always changing, or is there a problem with this?

Yet in the common sense way we don't consider you as someone different yesterday as today.

Ok, here is something interesting you guys can do, and post your results, and reactions.

http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/identity.htm

"Your choices are consistent with the theory known as psychological reductionism. On this view, all that is required for the continued existence of the self is psychological continuity. Your three choices show that this is what you see as central to your sense of self, not any attachment to a particular substance, be it your body, brain or soul."
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Posted 12/3/06
I contradicted myself on the first and last choice
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Posted 12/3/06
^ at least the the quiz geebus and get rid of those spaces at the end of your post plz.

So Mauz you chose to die, huh. I find it somewhat amusing that the worst possible practical choices lead to belief in the soul.

Yea I just figured out it must be your huge annoying (at times) avi. Hum, I bet I could make a pretty long avi with 3mb. Its not hard to figure what I meant, but the link is above if you care to try the "game."
Geez, its actually rather difficult not to survive the game, based on one of the three theories presented. Note to self, don't try to get people involved in discussions who seem clueless.

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Posted 12/3/06
The self....is the self.
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Posted 12/3/06
I would post an elaborate response but finals are coming up.
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Posted 12/4/06

daviddesolate wrote:

I kinda skimmed through this topic really..but my input would be that memory is the absolute key to identity.
which is probablyy...agreed with but hell..I am not sure.


So when you faint or get so drunk that you just pass out, do you daviddesolate cease to exist during those periods of time? jk
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Posted 12/4/06
Alright so I'm going to be posting a bit here and there now about Parfit's views. The section on personal identity spans around 150 pages, so clearly I won't summarize or get to it all. His work is probably the most important thing on the topic in the last twenty years or so. He favors psychological reductionism of a sort.

The chapter headings are:
-What we believe ourselves to be
-how we are not what we believe
-why our identity is not what matters
-what does matter
-personal identity and rationality
-personal identity and morality

If you would like me to touch on one of those in particular just say so.
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Posted 12/4/06
How is that paper coming along? because clearly this thread is just you my friend.
(I tried to get the topic going by getting some clarity on my 1st post, but I guess I failed)
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Posted 12/4/06
Ha no shiiiit. But thats ok, its less boring then just writing my thoughts and discoveries out in a notepad, or not writing them down at all.

Well i just free typed 2paragraphs (1page) just to get myself started. Another page on the other concern i talked about (how physical things always change). Then comes 8pages or so in the middle that to write about the psychological theory. Then I typed a paragraph coming back to the paragraph I wrote about the issue of psychical things aways changing. Yea, that make sense?

"So when you faint or get so drunk that you just pass out, do you daviddesolate cease to exist during those periods of time?"

Lets take a look at what your wrote. He fainted or passed out, so does he cease to exist? Your talking as if his essential being fained or passed out. This is the Cartesian ego that dennett and parfit and many others want to get rid of. But others want to keep, at least in some sense, as I have wrote about, such as Strawson's views.

As dawkins talks about we live in the middle world, and create useful ways of talking, even though they may not be quite right considering the small world or large world. This does not mean that one world is more real then another, just that its one world viewed from different levels. Nonetheless, we should investigate the small world to get a better idea what it means to be you, even though we may disregard certain aspects of that for practical living.
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Posted 12/4/06
You do know that was not a serious post right?
I think there is a Descartes joke out there similar to what I said.
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Posted 12/6/06
I understand that it was not meant to be taken seriously, but it certainly can be. As you know I'm usually on the side of talking something seriously rather then dismissing it. If you would like me to respond to a joke with a joke just say so i suppose.

Anyway, Parfit opens up with this interesting story. Imagine a teleporter like in startrek. Your information is collected, your body destroyed, the info transfered, your body reconstructed. A man has been traveling back and forth to Mars for some time this way. One day, the scanner screws up and while collecting the info causes cardiac damage. The damaged man talks to the perfectly good man that is just like him psychologically on mars, and so on. This case seems to support the idea that that the other person is someone else, who has been made exactly like you, due to physical location.

Hour long radio show on Personal Identity: http://www.podcasts.guerrillaradioshow.com/2006/11/22/personal-identity/

I'm about 5min in, and I agree with their observation that most street people (no not hookers, just non-philosophers) tend to think of what makes them them, culture, etc.
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