Friday, October 13, 2017

681: The Self as a category mistake...

According to Kant (1724-1804), we make a mistake when we understand the Self as a possible object of perception. 
The kind of think error that is at stake is strikingly described by Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976). 
Imagine visiting the Open Day of a university for the first time. You have seen several university buildings, including the new library and the building of the Faculty of Philosophy. 
But the university itself you have not yet come across. At the end of the day you still have a pressing question: "Where is the university?"
According to Ryle, in such a case you are guilty of what he calls a "category mistake" . You think the university is in the same category as the other things you've seen. 
But the university is not a building at all. It is the way the buildings are organized. The university does not exist in the same way as the library and the building of the Faculty of Philosophy. 
That's why it's futile to think that if you're looking good enough, you'll still find the university. The university is not the kind of thing you can find as you found the library and faculty building of philosophy.
Ryle uses this example to criticize the substance dualism of Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650). 
According to Descartes, man consists of two types of substances: a physical and a mental. 
The physical substance is expanded , in other words, it takes space and, like all other spatial bodies, is subject to mechanical laws. 
The physical body is also part of the public space, and can be observed by others. 
The spiritual substance, on the other hand, is not spatial and  not subject to mechanical laws. The content of someone's mind is also private, and can not be perceived by others.
Only I have direct knowledge of what is happening in my mind. According to Ryle, the problem is now that, 
although Descartes's mental and physical substances are radically different, we tend to ask the same questions about the mind as about the body.
That is, the mind is understood as a "something" belonging to the same category as the body. 
Cartesians try to understand the mind, like the body, using concepts such as 'thing', 'material', 'property', 'state', 'process', 'change', 'cause' and 'result'. 
Spirits are things, but simply things other than bodies. The functioning of the mind can be understood in terms of cause-effect relationships,
but these differ essentially from the causal  relationships we use when describing physical behavior. 
Ryle argues that Cartesians make the same kind of mistake as you when you were expecting the university to be a building during your visit. 
The mind is not spatial, it does not move in the same way as the body, it is not matter, it can not be publicly observed, and so on.
Ryle also calls the Cartesian spirit a "ghost in the machine": "As suggested, the spirit is not just a ghost connected to a machine, but it's a ghostly machine itself.“
It is remarkable to realise, that this fundamental philosophical mistake, which is Cartesian dualism, is deeply rooted in our culture.
Around 1900 it even was reinforced by Sigmund Freud’s “invention” of psycho-analysis. The psyche became a real thing.
Also interesting to note is opposition to this by the behaviourists. Psychology should only use observable physical behaviour of the person and not be based on something you can not see.
The category mistake is also a still popular. Politicians, for example, love it. They talk about “the people” as if it is a person or object., that wants and feels and so on.
Make it your next hobby to detect category mistakes. 
Thank you for your attention again… ^_^

The Discussion

[13:21] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i recall that discussion of dualism from a few years ago
[13:21] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma it is the oldest story in philosophy :-)
[13:22] herman Bergson: and of course even more in theology
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:22] herman Bergson: It also is the biggest philosophical misconception  in history of philosophy in my opinion
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this category thing seems interesting for sure
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes it is Bejiita...
[13:23] herman Bergson: just look around and you see it everywhere ..:-)
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): how to describe tings the right way, normally you never think of things that way
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they just are
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sort of
[13:24] herman Bergson: The point is, that you use descriptive terms from one category and apply them to another
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): often
[13:24] herman Bergson: For instance.....talking about the Will of the People....
[13:24] herman Bergson: Politicions love it....
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i see that
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right now especially
[13:25] herman Bergson: Individuals have a will....
[13:25] herman Bergson: people is a word describing how individuals are organized
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes happens all the time...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Perfect way to manipulate your audience...
[13:26] herman Bergson: to give them the impression that you are talking about something REAL....something tangible
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how would you speak the right way about the will of the people?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Good question, Beertje...
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): lets say with the issue in spain right now
[13:29] Debbie dB (framdor) is online.
[13:29] herman Bergson: I guess you could say...after an inquiry we noticed that 67% of the persons prefered A
[13:29] herman Bergson: The Spain issue....
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): good wAY
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): makes sense
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): since there are two sides as we see
[13:30] herman Bergson: To begin with...completely illegal and disrespecting  the law
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes aside from that
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well the referendum was pretty weird....
[13:30] herman Bergson: most people against separation didn’t vote...
[13:31] herman Bergson: so the 90% pro is not representative
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there actually there was not will of the people yes
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): since there are two sides within the asrea
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): area that wants to separate
[13:32] herman Bergson: The majority does not want a separation
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but i get your point
[13:32] herman Bergson: Here it is dangerous to talk about the will of the people...
[13:32] Piovefiore: I have a somewhat different take... I see sets of politicians manipulating these sorts of concepts for their own means
[13:33] Piovefiore: and ends
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh absolutely
[13:33] herman Bergson: of course Pio
[13:33] Piovefiore: not two sides, but many, not all nationalists are fascists, for example, but the fascists feed on the nationalist sentiments
[13:33] herman Bergson: Main issue in politics is power....
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): going on in the us too
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): US
[13:34] Piovefiore nods
[13:34] herman Bergson: nationalists and fascists are two different species...:-)
[13:34] Piovefiore: Exactly
[13:35] herman Bergson: Trump is a nationalist but no fascist...
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well sometimes i wonder
[13:35] herman Bergson smiles
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some things said are close to fascism
[13:35] herman Bergson: I just was thinking...ok a little bit racist perhaps?
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me too, the entire world is just a big sad mess it seems nowadays
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:35] Piovefiore: I would put it this way: all fascists are nationalists, but not all nationalists are fascists
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:36] CB Axel: I think Trump would like to be a fascist.
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): working on it
[13:36] herman Bergson: I guess that is correct Piovefiore :-)
[13:36] Piovefiore: I have a question, if I may change the track of the discussion somewhat
[13:36] herman Bergson: sure
[13:37] Piovefiore: What would you say is the difference between self and identity?
[13:37] Piovefiore: Is there a difference in categories here as well?
[13:37] herman Bergson: I'd say...there isn't
[[13:38] herman Bergson: Often The Self and Personal Identity are used interchangabely
[13:38] herman Bergson: Both concepts focus on the question.....In what sense does a person stay the same throughout time
[13:38] Piovefiore: When I think of identity I find it easier to understand how it is not a materially conceivable "thing"...
[13:39] Piovefiore: but rather a process informed by culture, historical era and many other issues
[13:39] herman Bergson: I think it is just a matter if taste here...
[13:39] herman Bergson: I see...
[13:40] herman Bergson: You could say perhaps that the word Identity YET refers to something independent of a person....
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:40] herman Bergson: The Dutch Identity for instance....what is our Identity...
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): water and ice
[13:41] herman Bergson: But here again is that danger of the category mistake...
[13:41] Piovefiore smiles "yes, that was my guess"
[13:41] herman Bergson: No Gemma....:-)))
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I'm Sorry! lol
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I sorry..
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): could not help it
[13:41] herman Bergson: Tulips, windmills, cheese and wooden shoes ^_^
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and liquorice :)
[13:42] Piovefiore: the danger of stereotyping
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well in the days of climate change first thoughts
[13:42] herman Bergson: Ahh yes Beertje.....and hagelslag :-))
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lekker:))
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yum
[13:42] Piovefiore: <--- licorice="" loves="" p="">
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): give meee!
[13:43] herman Bergson: so....The Self and Personal Identity...I'd say they mean the same.....
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: In a categorisation I would say self is a subcathergorie of identity
[13:43] herman Bergson: there you go Ciska....
[13:44] herman Bergson: you make Identity kind of transcendental in relation to a self which you associate with a physical person
[13:44] herman Bergson: as if identity can be something more that the self
[13:45] herman Bergson: ontologically
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): agree CIska
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: self is a concept as well
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: so its categhorizing concepts somehow - no?
[13:45] herman Bergson: it is.....
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): self = your own identity
[13:46] herman Bergson: true Bejiita
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least that is a part of t
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: no - I would say that both exist apart from each other
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: identity can hold the abstract characteristics
[13:46] herman Bergson: Where does that Identity exist Ciska?
[13:46] Piovefiore: In our perception, in our experience?
[13:46] Piovefiore: We experience it
[13:47] Piovefiore: rather than perceive it?
[13:47] herman Bergson: perception and experiences can be called our Self
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: mh - basically in communication as a concept
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes actually it sounds  like a kind of metaphysics
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: I would say the concept of self is experienceable
[13:48] Piovefiore: What I'm suggesting is that it's a phenomenological issue
[13:48] herman Bergson: That is what Hume denied....:-))
[13:48] herman Bergson: You can experience a lot, but you wont find a Self in these experiences
[13:49] Piovefiore: We don't have identity as much as an identity-sense... it this makes any sense lol
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am afraid it does
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): make sense
[13:49] herman Bergson: He realized that he could observe his experiences.....and in that sense he referred to it as being in a theater
[13:50] herman Bergson: It does Piovefiore...
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:50] herman Bergson: The self is a kind of organizing primciple in our experiences...
[13:50] herman Bergson: Like Kant said...(see previous lecture ^_^)
[13:51] Piovefiore: I like that... an organizing principle, yes
[13:51] herman Bergson: (have to publish it yet in the blog...:-)
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: yes i looked for it
[13:51] Piovefiore: So identity-sense is not quite the same as self-awareness?
[13:52] herman Bergson: No....
[13:52] herman Bergson: I'd say self awareness is another word for consciousness
[13:52] Piovefiore: Self awareness being an awareness of that organizing principle that shapes our experience of self
[13:52] Piovefiore: or of our identity
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: (for me thats still two different things herman , ;))
[13:53] herman Bergson: in that way we become many layers
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes
[13:54] herman Bergson: keep it up  Ciska...^_^
[13:54] herman Bergson: partly the problem is in the language....
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: exactly thats the difference ;)
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is what i have been thing here
[13:54] herman Bergson: Like bejiita refered to recursion several times...
[13:55] herman Bergson: I think about myself who thinks about me...:-)
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:55] herman Bergson: Like the plumber said today here....
[13:56] herman Bergson: Will be back and myself....
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: (omg he forgot his I)
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and I
[13:56] herman Bergson: so I answered....guess you two will fix it :-)
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nono
[13:56] herman Bergson: lol...that would make three ...
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): no way
[13:56] Piovefiore: Hahaha
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): me myself and I sit here
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you have to pay 3 men tomorrow :)
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: (freud would not be pleased with that guy)
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): in one spot
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:57] Piovefiore: I am the perceiving and the perceived
[13:57] herman Bergson:'re right Beertje :-))
[13:57] Piovefiore: the seeing and the seen
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): omg
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): OMG!!!
[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): grins:)
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Hope i make it Tuesday
[13:57] herman Bergson: Well...I guess we can say a few things now....
[13:58] herman Bergson: The Self and Personal Idenity are concepts meaning the same...
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Seems logical
[13:58] herman Bergson: Ciska disagrees :-)
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: (please)
[13:58] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh i agree
[13:58] herman Bergson: Feel free to do so Ciska :-)
[13:59] Piovefiore: I am not completely sure either, but it is an interesting point
[13:59] herman Bergson: Maybe later this issue will be clarified....interesting ....
[13:59] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i cant see wo it is not
[13:59] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): how
[13:59] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hmm
[13:59] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): will wait
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): interesting
[14:00] herman Bergson: Guess we have to think about this some more....
[14:00] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[14:00] Sandia Beaumont is online.
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman thank you all
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again
[14:00] herman Bergson: So..I guess time to relax :-)
[14:00] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:00] Piovefiore: :-)
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu Tuesday i guess
[14:00] herman Bergson: Thank you all again....
[14:00] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[14:00] CB Axel: See you all on Tuesday. °͜°
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[14:00] Piovefiore: Tuesday at the same time?
[14:00] herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: take care
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep
[14:00] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye all
[14:01] Piovefiore: Thank you! This was most interesting and stimulating.
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Pio
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje & Herman
[14:01] herman Bergson: My pleasure Piovefiore
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten Ciska
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: take care piovefiore
[14:01] Piovefiore: You too, very nice to meet you all

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