In the previous lectures we have discussed the idea, that consciousness is a feature of the physical brain and the result of (neuro)biological processes.
For the occasion of my birthday Bergie had made a drum with a series of photographs of me at the ages of 6 to 60. And yes…those pictures were all me.
So our primary intuition could be, that my bodily continuity through time is a perfect means to establish a person’s unique identity.
Of course it is important to be able to establish the identity of a person undeniably, especially in situations, which concern personal rights or guilt.
There have been cases of individuals who committed murder and yet were not convicted. The reason always was, that they committed the murder in a state of sleep walking.
It was indeed their body that committed the act, but it was not their mind. A similar situation occurs, when a person is completely demented.
The body looks like the grandma we have known for years, but her personality has completely changed. She remembers nothing anymore, nor does she recognize you.
Thus for being able to say that you are still yourself, bodily continuity is ok in most cases but not in all.
An interesting side track is, that such a discussion about a self and personal identity only occurs in a culture where the individual counts.
This individualism is characteristic for our Western culture. The ancient Greek already discussed the problem, which re-emerged among the philosophers of The Enlightenment about 1600.
Already around 500 B.C. Heraclites wondered about the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.
It is called the Theseus paradox. The ship of Theseus was preserved and exhibited through the years.
But to keep it in good shape through the years the wood was replaced by new boards piece by piece and after ten years really ALL wood of the ship was replaced by new boards.
Are we looking at the same ship as ten years ago? If not, when did it loose its identity as Theseus ship? After replacing 10 boards…100 boards?
The situation gets even more complicated. The carpenter had saved all old board and used them to rebuild the original ship of Theseus.
So, now there are two ships of Theseus. Which one can be identified as THE ship of Theseus? In a qualitative sense both can, but originally there was only one ship and here it is about numerical identity.
Though the years all cells in our body are replaced by new ones and thence our physical continuity is not really the answer of the question how we stay the same person through time.
One of the first, who tried to answer the question, how you can stay yourself through time and total physical change was John Lock (1632 -1704).
A human, according to Locke, is a certain sort of living organism whose identity depends on its biological organization.
On the other hand, he defined a person as “a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places;
which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking and essential to it.”
Further, “as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person.”
John Locke thought it obvious that what makes people accountable for their actions is their ability to recognize them as their own.
This seems to mean two things: first, an awareness of what one is doing when one is doing it and, second, an ability to remember having done it.
Thus, maybe the fact that we have our memories of ourself through time establishes our identity….
Thank you for your attention…. ^_^
[13:21] herman Bergson smiles
[13:21] herman Bergson: too difficult?
[13:22] herman Bergson: any questions then? :-)
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well I feel like im the same person i have always been more or less
[13:22] herman Bergson: yes Bejiita.....
[13:22] CB Axel: Not me. I've changed a lot.
[13:22] herman Bergson: But when you look through your photoalbums you see that little boy.....:-)
[13:23] CB Axel: I've changed throughout my life.
[13:23] CB Axel: And not just physically.
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you are wiser now CB
[13:23] herman Bergson: The interesting thing in your remarks CB is, that you say "I" !
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): as we all are
[13:24] CB Axel: I'm not so sure about that, Beertje. °͜°
[13:24] herman Bergson: did yhis "I" change or is it the observer of the changing person?
[13:24] CB Axel: Well, yes, Herman. There is a central "I."
[13:24] herman Bergson: You see..!
[13:25] herman Bergson: That is the magical thing.....
[13:25] herman Bergson: We'll come to that but that was what Hume was wondering about too..... that central ME
[13:25] CB Axel: Yes, but not only have all the cells of my body changed, but I think the "I" has been changed piece by piece.
[13:26] herman Bergson: But it is YOU who is observing this CB?!
[13:26] CB Axel: There must be a thread running through that "I" but I am not the same person I have always been.
[13:26] CB Axel: The "I" I am today can look back on the "I" of my past and wonder, "Who was that person?" °͜°
[13:27] herman Bergson: Does it mean that you are not responsable anymore for what your former personality has done, CB?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Imean....I can no longer convict you for what your former "I" has done.../!
[13:28] CB Axel: I think the statute of limitations has run out on most of my past "crimes." LOL
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:29] herman Bergson: As you see , it is rather difficult to get hold of personal idenitity......our Self...
[13:29] herman Bergson: Where is it/
[13:29] herman Bergson: ?
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): some things might have changed with me but for the period i remember mostly I fell like i have been the same personality
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and it is also who I want to be
[13:30] CB Axel: I think spiritual people would say our identity is in a soul.
[13:30] herman Bergson: But all emories that you have forgotten, Bejiita?
[13:31] Zorba (code2.hax): I think our parents will often see us as the same person all our lives ;-) The irresponsible 8 year old who lost the money on the way to the market. :D
[13:31] herman Bergson: Ahh yes CB.....but that is the easy way out, I'd say..
[13:31] CB Axel nods
[13:31] herman Bergson: to begin with it implies a dualism....
[13:31] CB Axel: I think you're right about that, Zorba.
[13:31] CB Axel: Teachers, too.
[13:31] Zorba (code2.hax) nods
[13:32] Zorba (code2.hax): frozen in time somewhere.
[13:32] herman Bergson: we don't need a body, nor emories to establish our identity...our self..just that soul
[13:32] CB Axel: Maybe our self is our memories.
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is what Locke assumed
[13:33] CB Axel: Babies aren't born understanding themselves.
[13:33] herman Bergson: the continuity of our memories makes us who we are as a person
[13:34] Zorba (code2.hax): The bible speaks of an essence of self that seems to transcend the body. Jesus said worry not about the one who can destroy the body, but worry about the one who can destroy the soul.
[13:34] herman Bergson: But there is a problem there Zorba.....
[13:34] CB Axel: My soul is toast
[13:34] herman Bergson: Locke already felt this....
[13:35] herman Bergson: At judgement day all will resurrect again with their own body.....
[13:35] herman Bergson: but like the ship of Theseus....is it their real body....or a new one that looks like their own
[13:35] CB Axel: Can't I get a different body then? An upgrade?
[13:35] CB Axel: CB ver 2
[13:36] herman Bergson: That is ok with me, CB :-)
[13:36] Zorba (code2.hax): the resurrected body is different than the current body according to Paul in 1 cor 15.
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are you sure the second will be better than the first body CB?
[13:36] herman Bergson: Not to Lucas 21:16-18 it seems :-))
[13:37] bergfrau Apfelbaum: @ the new body: it can be a chicken:-)
[13:37] CB Axel: Is 1 Cor one of the letters it's thought that Paul actually wrote?
[13:37] Zorba (code2.hax): 1Co 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
[13:38] herman Bergson: hmm..what does that tell us Zorba?
[13:39] Zorba (code2.hax): What does it tell you?
[13:39] herman Bergson: That was not my question ^_^
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what does ithis all mean zorba, i don't understnad
[13:40] CB Axel: It tells me that Zorba likes reading fairy tales. °͜°
[13:40] Zorba (code2.hax): Anyway, my point about Christ's statement of dividing the body of flesh from the soul was a different matter .
[13:40] Zorba (code2.hax): That the soul transcends the body
[13:41] Zorba (code2.hax): I brought up 1 cor due to Herman's comment . Not sure if it addressed his point or not.
[13:41] herman Bergson: I am afraid that this leads us into a theological discussion Zorba.....
[13:41] Zorba (code2.hax): I think the philosophers discussed the same issue though.
[13:41] Zorba (code2.hax): the same question
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is 1 cor?
[13:41] herman Bergson: Our main point is the question of personal identity....is there a continous self....
[13:41] Zorba (code2.hax): I understand that
[13:42] herman Bergson: corithians...
[13:42] CB Axel: Paul's first letter to the Corinthinans, Beertje
[13:42] herman Bergson: Letters from Paul to thos people
[13:42] CB Axel: Or however it's spelled.
[13:42] herman Bergson: indeed CB :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: Adding a soul doesn’t change the problem.....for there too we need to establish the identity of the soul itself...
[13:43] CB Axel: Yes, Paul was kind of giving his answer to the question of where is the self. Obviously not in the body.
[13:43] Zorba (code2.hax): My comments were in response to this statement:
[13:43] Zorba (code2.hax): [13:32] herman Bergson: we don't need a body, nor emories to establish our identity...our self..just that soul
[13:43] Zorba (code2.hax): It opened up an interesting thread to me.
[13:44] herman Bergson: I see...
[13:44] herman Bergson: There are two things here....
[13:45] herman Bergson: on the one hand our common sense believes about our Self and our identity....
[13:45] herman Bergson: and on the other hand the philosophical analysis of this common sense idea...
[13:45] Zorba (code2.hax): I apologize for not posting the other reference:
[13:45] Zorba (code2.hax): Mat 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
[13:46] herman Bergson: Not really a pleasant idea Zorba...
[13:46] herman Bergson: I fear those who kill the body
[13:46] Zorba (code2.hax) nods
[13:47] herman Bergson: I know I have a body....and someone only can believe that he has a soul....
[13:47] herman Bergson: and I don’t believe i have one...
[13:48] herman Bergson: To establish my Self, my personal identity based on my body is questionable....
[13:48] herman Bergson: that to begin with....
[13:49] CB Axel: Early theologians decided that our self is our soul, but it's still a question we grapple with since there is no proof that a soul exists.
[13:50] herman Bergson: Establishing an identity based on the existence of a soul is questionable too....
[13:50] herman Bergson: itis about the question...who is responsible for actions...
[13:50] Zorba (code2.hax): The term soul was used interchangeably by people. Souls of animals were mentioned meaning flesh and blood in those contexts, but Jesus make a distinction
[13:51] herman Bergson: Like the sleep walker experiences....not always the body
[13:51] Zorba (code2.hax): made*
[13:51] Zorba (code2.hax): Someone asked the question about future actions of the sleep walker. What should be done in your opinion?
[13:52] CB Axel: That can be controlled through medication and mild restraints.
[13:53] herman Bergson: Yes....that is a serious question
[13:53] CB Axel: It's called REM behavior disorder.
[13:53] herman Bergson: Such a person should take precautions....
[13:54] herman Bergson: Like in the famous Lebru case of 1880....
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki
[13:54] CB Axel: The comedian Mike Birbiglia wrote about having it. He takes medication (dopamine?) before bed and sleeps in a sleeping bag with mittens on his hands so he can't unzip it.
[13:54] Zorba (code2.hax): So if that person fails to follow instructions regarding precautions, and murders again, then they can be punished for the crime because they were irresponsible in their 'right mind'?
[13:54] herman Bergson: He should not have a gun in his bedroom to begin with...
[13:55] CB Axel: I would say that if they don't take precautions after diagnosis then they can be help responsible.
[13:55] herman Bergson: I'd say yes, Zorba
[13:55] Zorba (code2.hax) nods
[13:55] CB Axel: Watch "Sleepwalk With Me" sometime. °͜°
[13:56] herman Bergson: A movie CB?
[13:57] CB Axel: I prefer the album he made of his stand-up routine, but yes, there is a movie.
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): one thing i generally dont understand with sleepwalking and i have don’t this when i was little some time and i can not remember being aware of that i walked around but yet managed to find my way around
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if im not aware of it how can I then navigate around
[13:58] CB Axel: I think I sleepwalked once when I was little, too.
[13:58] herman Bergson: I have no experience with that Bejiita :-)
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone tiptoes out - thank you herman thank you everyone - have a great day or night
[13:58] Zorba (code2.hax): tc, Ciska.
[13:59] CB Axel: Good night, Ciska.
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten Ciska
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye ciska
[13:59] herman Bergson: Time to end our discussion, it seems ^_^
[13:59] Zorba (code2.hax): Thank you for the discussion, Herman. Tc all.
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Zorba
[14:00] herman Bergson: THank you all again...
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause when i was awakened i remembered sitting in front of a door in another room but i was not aware of having walked around, not dreamt about that even
[14:00] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats the strange part
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki cu next time
[14:00] CB Axel: OK. See you all Thursday.
[14:00] CB Axel: I had a similar experience, Bejiita.
[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wow I didn't crash :)
[14:00] herman Bergson: Never happened to me...
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): can take more on that next time
[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now all