Thursday, November 16, 2017

688: The Self gets shape....

“For millions of years, many creatures have had an active mind, but only in those who developed a self, 
capable of functioning as a witness of the mind, its existence was recognized, and only after the mind had developed the language and could tell about it , it became widely known that the mind exists. 
The Self as a witness is an additional ability that reveals in each of us the presence of events that we call 'mental'. 
We would like to understand how that extra power has been created.” This is how Antonio Damasio formulates in “Self comes to Mind” (2010)
Slowly but steadily the Self gets shape. I even dare to say, that we KNOW things about our Self now.
To begin with, the Self is not  a “something” or a special sense, but it can be regarded as an ongoing proces, a special function of the mind.
A mind which lacks this witness, is still a mind. But because our Self is the only natural means to know our mind, are we completely depending  on its presence, its powers and limitations.

The Interpretations like Gilbert Ryle from the previous lecture, assumed that we do not have direct access to our mental states, 
but conclude that we have certain beliefs, desires and intentions based on perceptions of our physical behavior. 
An alternative view of self-knowledge and first-person-authority is encountered in Richard Moran's work. 
He is a Harvard professor of  Philosophy of Mind and Moral Philosophy. Moran's theory is based on the idea 
that there is a direct link between first-person-authority and actively determining what you think of something. 
Imagine someone asking you if you think there will be a Third World War. What are you doing in such a case? 
Proponents of the introspection theory suggest that you can answer this question by looking inside, 
and looking for the conviction that a Third World War is coming or not. 
But according to Moran something else happens: you do not look inside but outside.       
You do not ask yourself a question about something inside you, but instead you look at what's happening in the world. 
You ask yourself this question: "Are there any reasons to believe that there will be a Third World War?" 
Then you make a decision based on various events in the world that could give you reason to think that this is the case or not and come to a conclusion: "No, I do not think there will be a Third World War. ' 
You answer a question about what you think of something, a question about your inner world by answering another question about the outside world. 
Or, in other words, you answer a question about self-knowledge in terms of 'world knowledge'. 
What Moran is all about is, that it's Your business what you think of something. That constitutes your Self. 
When you say what you think, you do not act as a passive spectator of your own mental states. 
You appoint yourself as an authority in this field, as an active witness. Interpretationists, as we saw in the previous lecture, claim that self-knowledge is a matter of interpretation.     
We know ourselves in the same indirect way as we know others, by observing our behavior from a distance, and connecting certain conclusions. 
We therefore also say that the theory of interpretation presupposes a 'third person perspective' on yourself, so the perspective of an outsider. 
Moran, on the other hand, emphasizes that we initially know ourselves from a "first person perspective”, ​​as a thinking and acting subject.
From this first-person perspective, you do not wonder, "What's in my mind?" But "What should I believe as autonomous thinking creatures?"
Moran's theory is also called rationalistic or deliberative: self-knowledge is obtained by weighing reasons for or against a particular judgment. 
The question is what, for these reasons, you should believe as rational being about the advent of a Third World War. 
Or, to take another example, what you should think about the equality of men and women, young people and the elderly, Dutch and Moroccans. 
According to Moran, you can find out what you really think by thinking about the reasons for believing that people are equal. 
There is a certain amount of controlling power from such a thinking process: if you think there are indeed convincing reasons to believe that all men are equal, 
then you should conclude that you really feel this as a rational person. Otherwise, this leads to paradoxical statements, such as: "All people are equal, but I do not believe."
This sounds  all quite interesting:  the Self as a witness of the mind. The Self gets shape.
Thank you for your attention… ^_^

The Discussion

[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:25] herman Bergson smiles
[13:25] herman Bergson: My pleasure Beertje :-)
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): difficult..I have to read it over
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes I understand...
[13:26] herman Bergson: The ida is that what you call yourself
[13:26] herman Bergson: is some kind of reasoning...looking outward for arguments of your opinions
[13:27] herman Bergson: Talking about a Self always gives us the feeling that there must be SOMETHING...
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: I disagree with Moran which might not surprise ;) - as to the why... thats complex.
[13:28] herman Bergson: I guess that us our first mistake...
[13:28] herman Bergson: You surprise me  Ciska ^_^
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: I do?;)
[13:28] CB Axel giggles
[13:28] herman Bergson: explain?
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: Morans self seems equivalent of the buddhist ego
[13:29] herman Bergson: ohh ...:-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: That's new to me...
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: from my point of view his self is the rationalized expression of a feeling
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: when u take the question : will there be a world war three?
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: there is nor "correct" answer to that of course until we have it ;)
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: that means that we start to rationalize all the information we have
[13:30] herman Bergson: his basic idea is that we constitute our self by looking outward for reasons why we have some opinion...
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: around the gut feeling
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: and then start to argue
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: because we simply cannot know
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): until trump and Kim start hurl nuclear bombs over the world but then it is too late and there will be no more minds cause we have all been blown up
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: ah
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so i really hope there will be no ww 3
[13:31] CB Axel: Yes. That's why there won't be a World War 3. °͜°
[13:31] herman Bergson: no no...there you seem to be wrong, Ciska..
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: thats exactly one reason  I disagree :  his basic idea is that we constitute our self by looking outward for reasons why we have some opinion...
[13:32] herman Bergson: There you are right....
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: my thesis is
[13:32] herman Bergson: for it can apply to such empirical issues there coming a war or not....
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: we have an opinion and looking outward to verbalize it
[13:32] herman Bergson: But it doesn’t apply to feelings...
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: the verbalization is the point
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: its the hen egg question
[13:33] herman Bergson: I agree..he is to rationalist...
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: what’s there first - the feeling or the argumentation
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: and the truth is
[13:33] CB Axel: But in the case of a world war, I do look outside myself for what I think about the possibility of war.
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: in such questions...
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: the feeling is there
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: and we find arguments for it
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Cb....
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: so there is still a we...
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: who does that
[13:34] herman Bergson: his theory applies to such issues....
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: of course u do cb - but you use it to describe your feeling
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: which you already have
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: its a communicational thing
[13:35] CB Axel: My feeling is based on what I know about Trump and Kim and what's going on in the world.
[13:35] herman Bergson: But where did that feeling come from Ciska???
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: (and its the reason why I make a difference between consciousness and awareness)
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: thats the question
[13:35] herman Bergson: from the outside...
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: why?
[13:36] herman Bergson: because you read newspapers and follow the News on TV
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: obviously there will be different answers to the ww3 question...
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: some people will say yes
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: some no
[13:36] herman Bergson: of course
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: and both will have arguments
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: which go together with their own experiences in lfe
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: life
[13:37] herman Bergson: but that doesn’t change the fact that You have your own opinion about it...which is linked to your Self
[13:37] herman Bergson: That is you
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: opinion is based on feeling and experience
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: so the self is feeling and experience
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its all that you perceive and you can then choose to communicate it to someone else
[13:38] herman Bergson: I think so yes
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): else
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: the strange thing about experience is... that you can connect it with wrong "sense"
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: in the sense of language
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: want an example?
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: (or does that go too far?)
[13:38] herman Bergson: plz?!
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tell us Ciska
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: ok a child which was abused early on in childhood by its parents... grows up to have a distorted view of love... the word love is connected to negative stuff which has happened to that child early one
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: so when that child does not learn to reflect early on
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: what often happens is
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: that love is connected for example with getting a beating
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: its "normal"
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa ok
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: it does belong there
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then i get it
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: the feeling of the child is still
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: somehow this is wrong
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: and that leads to a lot of confusion
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: but the word love
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: might have another meaning for this becoming grown up
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: as for people who had caring homes
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: with no such things
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: so if you communicate with that person later on - and he or she has not learned to reflect that
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: they might be confused by how you use the word love
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: they might not be able to really express why
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: they see on tv its very different then what they experienced (!!!)
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: but if they haven’t learned how to reflect
[13:43] herman Bergson: I understand,,,,but what is the relation here with the Self as we experience it
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: they simply stunned.
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: the relation here lays in communication
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: the self exists without communication
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: its there
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: it consists out of experiences
[13:44] herman Bergson: yes
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: those experiences
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: it strings up with words
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: so it can exchange with other selves
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: how it does that
[13:45] CB Axel: So animals without language have no sense of self?
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: totally depends on the experience
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: thats the question cb
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: I would say they are aware
[13:45] herman Bergson: that is not true CB....a number of animals have a clear sense of a self
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): one thing is for sure and that is that this person need to know about and experience what real love actually is, its a suh important thing to have
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and feel
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: but for consciousness - exchange about the awareness - they lack language
[13:46] CB Axel: I agree, Herman. I'm just trying to get my mind around what Ciska is saying.
[13:46] herman Bergson: mee too
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: yes bejiita - but its really hard for folks... there is an incredible film in german about this...
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: (
[13:48] herman Bergson: But what is your point Ciska...that somepeople have a distorted self - image?
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: no
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: my point is that to exchange about consciousness we need language
[13:48] herman Bergson: ok
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: but what we express in the language does not describe the same experiences
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: because we connect experiences to words we get from others which can go "right " or wrong
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: the self consists of experiences
[13:50] CB Axel: True. I tend to look at people's behavior rather than their words to try to understand them.
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: the language distracts from that
[13:50] herman Bergson: as I is a process not a thing
[13:50] herman Bergson: Indeed CB
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: I said I disagree with Moran - and that pretty much why ;)
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: rationalizing needs words
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: ,)
[13:51] herman Bergson whispers: Well every one can reread all argumentation on the blog :-)
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: sure
[13:52] herman Bergson: Guess we did a fine job again today ...:-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: So thank you all again for your participation...
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): gives me a lot to think
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting ideas as usual
[13:53] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....^_^
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

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