a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:46 pm

Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Towards a Positive Account of the Self

We need also to develop a positive idea of the self. At the very heart of the notion of a self worth having is that of an accountable agent enduring over time. This has different aspects. We want an intelligible account of our feeling that we have temporal depth, that we are truly connected with the past, that we are essentially the same entities over time, that we have memories that are truly of experiences we have had, that there were certain events that were our actions for which we remain answerable, that we have prudential concern for a future that is our future.


Okay, as an intellectual scaffold, this all makes sense. There are clearly facts in your past precipitating facts about your present that will propel you into the facts embedded in the future that either exist "in reality" or reality itself is on par with a sim world, a dream world, a world in which what you think is true about the past, present and future is really just an illusion. Or wholly embedded in a determined universe.

There is just no getting around how, in many crucial respects, "I" is anything but a figment of our imagination.

But how do we go about accounting for what we account for in others when the discussions shift into accountability as a moral judgment? We can point to something that someone has done and hold her accountable in the sense that she is responsible for the consequences involved. But if we can't agree on whether the consequences themselves are necessarily, inherently good or bad then accountability itself becomes a subjective assessment rooted in, well, that which I suggest or that which you suggest.

There are many other aspects of selfhood – in particular those related to the identifying marks (of physical appearance, of traits, of knowledge, of office, of relationships) by which others recognise us and entertain expectations with respect to us.


Well, they will do pertaining to certain aspects of our interactions able to be pinned down as true for all of us. But other aspects are rooted in moral and political prejudices that are always subject to change given new experiences in our lives. Here expectations can be entirely problematic depending on the circumstances over time.

At the heart of the sense of the self is a kind of tautology, an existential iteration: ‘That I am’; or ‘That I am [this]’. This Existential Intuition is connected with the intuition ‘That I am the same thing over time’; and ‘That I am of such and such a nature’. All three are woven into the notion of personal identity.


Here, for someone like me, the gap between this as an intellectual assessment of "I" and "I" out in a world bursting at the seams existentially with contingency, chance and change always puts the tautological "I" in a situation/state where it is ever poised to reconfigure with regard to that which is of particular importance in our lives: the behaviors we choose.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:16 pm

Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

There are two main ways in which the self is being understood at present in English-speaking philosophy: as an enduring mind; and as an enduring body. For most contemporary philosophers, the enduring mind is not a substance or a soul but is built up out of experiences and the memory of experiences.


The mind and the body endure, but if the enduring mind is not a soul it may well be but an ineffable extension of the brain inherently intertwined in the evolution of life on Earth going back to the explanation of existence itself.

What we know...as close to objectively as we may ever be able to get...is that both the mind and the body endure for, on average, 75 to 80 years.

Only philosophers [English speaking or otherwise] are not all that prone to examining "I" as, in part, a collection of physical/biological "things" going about the business of interacting in the either/or world from the cradle to the grave, and, in part, mental, emotional and psychological "states" [in an autonomous world] in which "I" is anything but comprehendible in full.

The most celebrated attempt to construe the self psychologically is that of Derek Parfit (Reasons and Persons). He works in the spirit of John Locke who, in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding argued that identity lay in our consciousness. What endured, however, was not some individual item, such as an overarching master perception, but a continuity resulting from the internal connectedness of consciousness. This connectedness was secured most obviously, though not exclusively, through memory: the memory of our own experiences.


Try to think this through. Try to reach the point where you are comfortably convinced that you have come closest to the one true "you".

Identity may "lay in consciousness" but what does that lay in? How are we to explain how the conscious "I" interacts with the subconscious and unconscious "I" intertwined [somehow] with the rest of the brain such that we can pin down with any degree of certainty why we chose this instead of that?

As though memory itself is not embedded in the same "soup" of ingredients...only somewhat within our grasp and control.

And that's before you get to the "I" parts that most interest me in the is/ought world.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:18 pm

Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Locke’s account has powerful intuitive attractions. Continuity of memory seems to underpin so many other continuities: my enduring understanding of what, where, who; the familiarity that makes the world my world and guides me through my life; my sense of commitment to my commitments; my responsibility for delivering on my promises; and, most directly, my sense of having temporal depth. Psychological continuity seems like the inner truth within the external facts of my constancy, reliability, predictability; the private, essential ‘take’ on the framework that gives stable sense to my life, and enables me to make sense of myself and others to make sense of, and to recognise, me.


You might even call this the "common sense" description of human identity. Most of us will read this and clearly understand what he is talking about. We can relate it to the lives that we live from day to day. Whether it was before the world ever heard of the novel coronavirus because it didn't exist, or our understanding and reactions to it now, it still involves all of the components of "I" that allow us to sustain a discussion without it without people scratching their heads as though such a discussion were gibberish. And even for those who have not heard about it yet there are enough facts able to be communicated to bring them up to speed.

The only imaginable way in which to grasp "I" here otherwise is if one assumes we all exist in a simulated reality or in a dream world.

But it has many problems. The one that Parfit has addressed most directly is this: our memory has limited reach. I cannot recall very precisely the ten year old Raymond Tallis, and yet I have no doubt that the child and I are the same person. Parfit therefore replaces the notion of direct psychological connectedness with that of continuity: a partial overlap of memories and traits from year to year. As in a rope, there is no single thread going from end to end but overlapping threads that ensure the impression of continuity.


On the other hand, the memories that allow for continuity in sustaining "I" over the years are no less subject to distortion and subjective interpretation. And they are no less differentiating things that can in fact be demonstrated to have happened from things that cannot. And even if we were somehow able to acquire a perfect memory of every single thing from the day that we were born, it doesn't make the arguments I raise about the is/ought world go away.

Or, rather, no one of late has convinced me of that.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:59 pm

Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

There are many other problems with the self being identified either as a stand-alone psyche or a body uninhabited by a psyche. The most profound is that both theories focus on the self as enduring over time: the psychological theory gives the subjective dimension of continuity; and bodily theory gives its outer face.


And yet until assessments of this sort are used in descriptions of human interactions that most of us can relate to, what do words of worlds like this actually mean.

Again, you get into a discussion of the covid-19 pandemic. In particular the controversy that swirled around conflicting arguments that swirl around the governments response to it. Go back to normal and let the virus run its course or lockdown everything that possibly can be locked down to flatten the curve.

How might one's "stand-alone psyche" be differentiated from a "body uninhabited by a psyche" here? Isn't this sort of discussion imperative in order to illustrate the text in order to clarlify what "for all practical purposes" the two contending arguments are suggesting in regard to the lives that we live and the behaviors that we choose?

But the notion of personal identity over time must surely be secondary to that of identity at a given time. The psychological stream may be internally stitched by memory but it seems not only ownerless but untethered – disconnected from here and now. It seems ungrounded, without substance. And while the body is obviously substantial, and holds together over time, being relatively stable, considered merely as a living organism it lacks ownership of itself at a particular time.


Secondary perhaps, but, in my view, regarding the self in the is/ought world, nothing is more fundamental than connecting the dots between "I" as a child and "I" in the here and now. There are just so many interactions and connections made in those "formative years". After all, how can 10 to 15 years of indoctrination from others not have a profound impact on how you view yourself out in a particular world in a particular time and place.

Imagine how profoundly impacted the subconscious and the unconscious mind must be with others consistently shoving their own reality into your brain. Here there are simply countless variables either beyond your fully comprehending or controlling. Think about it: How many children actually give much thought at all to how this is unfolding through such components as dasein, conflicting goods and political power. Did these things cross your mind much in your own formative years? They certainly didn't cross mine. And while there are clearly distinctions to be made between the psychological "I" and the biological "me", "ownership" in the realms most important to me seem clearly to be more an existential contraption than something that can be pinned down by philosophers and ethicists.

Neither bodiless psychology nor a body without psychology provides any grounding for the sense of identity at a particular time and this must have priority over the sense of identity over time, the sense that one is the same self at successive, or widely separated, moments.


In any event, it is invariably intellectual contraptions of this sort that make discussions of identity obtuse to me. There are those parts of "I" that fit more snuggly in the either/or world. And those parts that are considerably more problematic when how we construe what the world around us is comes into conflict with those who construe it differently, precipitate behaviors that come into conflict in regard to either the coronavirus [e.g. the role of government, ethical dilemmas, personal choices etc.] or any other conflicting good.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:32 pm

Brains, Minds, Selves
Raymond Tallis uses all three to show that he has all three.

It is over a decade since your columnist challenged the claim, made by several philosophers, that the self does not really exist (‘Saving the Self’, Philosophy Now Issue 63). Among them, Tor Norretranders called the self a ‘user illusion’ (The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, 1999). To press home his message, Norretranders asserted that “the epoch of the ‘I’ is drawing to a close.”


Of course all that this reminds one of is those who prophesized that with "the death of God", religion in turn would wither and die.

As though there is any real substitute for religion when it comes to morality on this side of the grave and immortality on the other side.

Same with the "self". How could it be that in any epoch at all, "I" will draw to a close. After all, you need a self to make the claim itself. Ironically enough, if anything, the "me, myself and I" mentality has spread around the globe more and more as the internet reconfigures pop culture, consumption and celebrity into "social media".

The claim that selves are constructs fabricated by people who are not selves is now almost mainstream in philosophy and psychology. Time, therefore, to resume the good fight to save the self from the autocides.


On the contrary, the fabrication of "I" as children and then the refabrication of "I" given the unique trajectory of experiences, relationships and access to ideas that one has as an adult, is still being carried out by actual flesh and blood human beings.

Autocide? My dictionary defines that as "the act of suicide committed by crashing a car." Or, in an "obsolete, rare" sense, "a suicidal person".

But "I" itself?

Again, there are clearly aspects of a self, the self, my self that are rooted in biology, demographics, and empirical fact. I exist. Here and now. Doing this and that.

All one assumes here is that "I" is not just a manifestation of a sim or a dream world...and that we have at least some measure of autonomy.

Last time round, I pointed out that the self-deniers are usually contradicting themselves (or non-selves). I began with the most famous autocide of them all, David Hume. In his Treatise of Human Nature, he argued as follows:

“For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat, or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I can never catch myself at any time without a perception and can never observe but the perception.”

David Hume concludes from this that ‘David Hume’ is nothing more than a succession of perceptions; a mere ‘bundle’ of experiences associated with one another.


In other words, this is what happens when you take philosophy all the way out to the end of the technical limb and try to grapple with "I" wholly in a world of words. The attempt to capture the one true "I". Like looking at yourself in the mirror and concluding that the closest you come to this is... in the eyes?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:50 pm

Brains, Minds, Selves
Raymond Tallis uses all three to show that he has all three.

Behind many autocides is a phobia – a fear that accepting the reality of the self means subscribing to Cartesian dualism or to the view that one is or has a soul, or at least its secular equivalent.

This is, of course, nonsense.


How does he figure that? In fact, neither theologians, scientists nor philosophers have [to the best of my own current knowledge] been able to actually go beyond what "in their heads" they "accept" about dualism and the soul, in order to pin down what all rational men and women are obligated to think about them. Let alone then moving beyond this in order to direct "I" toward the most rational and virtuous behaviors.

This is all just speculation and conjecture until the facts are finally pinned down. If the human mind is even capable of accomplishing that.

It is entirely possible, without invoking immaterial spirits, to acknowledge that the Raymond Tallis who was a junior doctor in 1973 and who is a retired physician in 2018 refers to the same self when he says ‘I’.


Okay, but is it entirely possible to demonstrate that any of this is unequivocally within the grasp of his own autonomous mind? Is it possible to demonstrate that nature is not wholly behind everything he wrote there and then and everything that we are reading here and now?

And what about the nature of human "reality" explored in films like The Matrix, Total Recall, Ex Machina and Inception? Or reality in Westworld.

Memory, the connectedness of experience, the continuity of characters traits, a distinctive body of knowledge and a repertoire of skills, supported by the cladding that comes from the world that acknowledges him as the same person, along with the ‘address’ (in the widest sense) that he has in that world, the offices he occupies, the audit trail of his responsibility, and so on – these are sufficient to underpin a non-illusory, enduring self.


Sure, if you are focused in entirely on human interactions in the either/or world. Right now the world is awash in any number of demonstrable facts about the coronavirus pandemic. For example the fact that "Trump halts WHO funding over handling of coronavirus".

But what of our conflicting political reactions to that? Which "I" here comes closest to encompassing and embodying the most rational reaction of all?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:27 pm

Brains, Minds, Selves
Raymond Tallis uses all three to show that he has all three.

So why does the idea of the self as an illusion have such a hold? It may be because the rejection of the notion that we are ghosts in a machine has created space for the idea that we are just a machine. The machine in question is the brain and the brain, being a material object, cannot host an immaterial self. More precisely, the self is an illusion created by the brain.


And we know how far back this notion can be taken. To this point: That I am typing these words and you are reading them only in the manner in which nature compels us going all the way back to an explanation of why there is matter at all; and why it behaves as it does and not in some other way.

Now, if there is anyone here who can unequivocally demonstrate to us whether or not the self is an illusion created by the brain then, by all means, give it your best shot. On the other hand, what if your best shot is in turn...

Psychologist Nick Chater’s recent book, The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and the Improvised Mind (2018) is devoted to this very idea. Indeed, more radically, he claims that even ‘mental depth’ is an illusion: the surface is all that there is: “To believe that we have constructed a ‘picture’ of the visual world in our minds is to fall for the illusion of mental depth, hook, line, and sinker” (p.82). His idea of the mind is of something entirely ‘in-the-moment’, and indeed, without breadth: the mind is a pin-point. If we disagree with this, it is because “almost everything we know about our minds is a hoax, played on us by our brains” (p.15). A hoax that Chater’s brain has mysteriously unmasked.


Or course he is no less in the same boat here as the author and all the rest of us. He himself would need to demonstrate unequivocally that his findings, derived from his brain, are not in turn merely an illusion built into human psychology by nature itself.

And that's before we get to the profoundest mystery of all: Why?

Why would a nature, the nature, our nature create these laws of matter able to evolve into a "self" conscious material brain actually capable of pointing this out? Of examining and explaining it?

Is there a meaning, a purpose, behind it all?

And, indeed, when the self-conscious "I" interacts in the is/ought world, that becomes all the more important. After all, that's the part where the brain brings, among other things, God into existence.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Mon May 04, 2020 6:21 pm

Brains, Minds, Selves
Raymond Tallis uses all three to show that he has all three.

The Illusion of an Illusion

Illusion? Hardly. After all, the richness of the world that we see is clearly not an illusion. The seething vista of events and objects that is the moment-to-moment appearance of the world around us clearly corresponds to reality; and so to see a rich world is not to be the victim of any illusion. I see a room or a landscape, as opposed to pin-pricks of sense data, because there is a room or a landscape to see. If there is an illusion, it is a little one, about the processes underlying visual consciousness, not about the objects of consciousness.


Same for me. There are simply far, far too many factors and variables embedded in the interaction between a self and the world around it, to realistically suppose that, in the either/or world, "I" is an illusion.

For that to be true, you are out on the deep end of the metaphysical limb. There "I" can be anything that one is able to imagine it to be. Call it, say, the Matrix Syndrome.

But rather than even an illusion, since most of us are not up to speed with the latest research in the psychology and physiology of perception, it is merely an unawareness of those processes. Indeed, if we were aware of those processes as we looked around us, we would be distracted to the point of being blind.


Here though we are equally all stuck. We can propose any number of things that explain why and how we have awareness. But exactly how to connect the dots between the evolution of biological life on Earth and the existence of human psychology reacting to that is still [presumably] a long way from being fully understood. And, sure, the more we try to grasp this "technically", as those in any number of scientific fields attempt to, the easier it is to lose sight of that which can be known about what we are actually aware of itself at any particular time, in any particular place.

Which he basically demonstrates for us here:

Anyway, all that psychology shows us is that at least one version of the representational theory of experience is bankrupt – and that our visual experiences are not realist pictures in the head, mirror images of our surroundings. Psychology does not show us that our having an experience of a complex world is an illusion. In fact, if the mind were a succession of moments, and the idea of enduring mental phenomena, such as beliefs, were untrue, it is difficult to see how Chater could have become sufficiently together in order to write a book (which was presumably planned, researched, and written over many years) in support of those beliefs. In short, the existence of The Mind is Flat is itself the most decisive refutation of the thesis contained between its covers.


Now, you tell me. In regard to any particular awareness that you have had today -- one that stands out -- how would you use this assessment in order to capture it more fully? What aspects of your awareness would make it more or less likely to construe your self as more or less an illusion?

How would you make a distinction between what you are convinced you are aware of insofar as that is not actually the "real world"?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sun May 10, 2020 5:54 pm

Brains, Minds, Selves
Raymond Tallis uses all three to show that he has all three.

Ludwig Wittgenstein famously argued that his method was to “pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense” – thereby undermining daft ideas that may have seemed like serious philosophical positions.


That may be applicable to any number of subjects that philosophers choose to explore. But who here can consistently make important distinctions between "disguised nonsense" and "patent nonsense" when it comes to explaining why any particular "I" chooses to do any particular thing at any particular time and place instead of choosing to do any other particular thing.

Given situations in which others will judge what they do as either moral or immoral. Is pragmatism here an example of "disguised nonsense" while objectivism reflects "patent nonsense" instead?

I certainly think so. But then my own arguments are deemed by others to be either disguised or patent nonsense.

The Mind is Flat also illustrates how reducing persons or selves to their brains – what we may call ‘brainifying’ the person – invariably involves personifying the brain and treating it as if it were, after all, a kind of self.


So, is this closer to disguised nonsense or patent nonsense? After all, who here is able to establish beyond all doubt where the brain ends and the conscious mind begins. Or where the conscious mind ends and "I" as an autonomous individual able to assess this begins?

The brain, Chater tells us, perpetrates “hoaxes”, “solves problems”, “is continuously scrambling to link together scraps of sensory information”, trying to organize and interpret them. All of this is, “in a very real sense mindless” – although (with a characteristic wobble) Chater asserts that we are “relentless improvisers, powered by a mental engine, perpetually creating meaning from sensory input.” How very like a self!


Here, as is often the case, I come back to dreams. My dreams in particular. What boggles my own brain/mind is the fact that in my dreams new realities/contexts seem to be created. In other words, suppose my dreams merely repeated the things that I said and did on any particular day. That might seem entirely more reasonable. Instead "I" find myself in "situations" I have never been in before. A whole other world is created in which I am interacting with others such that in the dream it all feels like what I experience when I am not asleep. Unless my dreams are completely different from those of others.

And, in fact, in one way they are. My dreams are almost never, ever "way out there". Almost every time the dreams revolve around more or less real situations that reflect on experiences that I have actually had.

But: My brain is doing this...right?

Well, who is say that somehow my brain isn't also totally in command of my experiences in the waking world?

Others clearly shrug this off more far more easily than I can. But how exactly do they explain their brain creating these new worlds...worlds only more or less in sync with the world when they are awake?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 15, 2020 7:15 pm

DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.

When philosophers grapple with the issue of what constitutes personal identity that endures through time they generally rely on description rather than definition. In fact, the humanities have failed to define ‘identity’ concisely. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘identity’ to mean: “The sameness of a person or thing at all times or in all circumstances; the condition or fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else.” Unfortunately, philosophy has been dogged by its inability to explain what can be meant by ‘sameness’ for something that changes. As a result, it has not been possible to apply the dictionary definition.


Imagine then someone coming up with a definition of "personal identity" and then grappling with the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein. Which is basically the challenge I make in distinguishing between the either/or I and the is/ought "i".

Okay, I suggest, tell us what your definition of "personal identity" is and then note how that definition intertwines both those aspects of the self clearly embedded out in the empirical world necessarily embodying the laws of nature, and those characteristics which shift and change over time as, for example, your value judgments or aesthetic "tastes" shift and change over time.

What stays the same because it is integral part of the demographic, biological self -- the verifyiable, falsifiable self -- and what has changed insofar as how you have come to understand yourself out in the world reacting to the behaviors that you and others choose over time given new experiences.

What accounts for "staying the same" and "changing" given those aspects of your personal identity that you are able to make this distinction regarding?

One of the problems with the concept of identity can be traced to the age-old question about the conditions under which something persists as the same object through time.


And, in regard to DNA, if the conditions include total adherence to the laws of matter in a wholly determined universe, than "I" persists as it does because there was never any possibility of "I" freely choosing to persist another way.

But that either is or is not another discussion.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 22, 2020 6:56 pm

DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.

We know that the constituent cells of our bodies are...continually dying and being replaced. We change in many other ways too; what makes us the same person as we move through time? In the absence of an adequate or persuasive answer, many philosophers have denied that we have an unchanging essence that makes us who we are.


Right.

Like, for all practical purposes, that is actually something to concern ourselves about. Other than out in the deep end of the philosophical pool in places like this. Our biological self manages to keep itself reasonably intact from the cradle to the grave. Until, over time, the biological clock starts to tick tock to its inevitable dismiss. Though, for some, any number of brain afflictions can also have a profound impact on the mental, emotional and psychological components of "I" in turn.

Still, these are clearly embedded in biological imperatives that to a greater or lesser extent doctors and medical professionals can account for when a "sense of self" begins to deteriorate. At least we generally have access to an explanation here.

Where things get trickier is when attempts are made to connect the dots between DNA and "I" acquiring, sustaining or changing moral, political and aesthetic values. Here the complexities embedded in memes intertwined in unique sets of personal experiences and relationships create endlessly existential permutations.

Because of this inability to define ‘identity’ in philosophy, the concept has become something of a hydra (to borrow from Greek legend again!). In their article ‘Beyond “Identity”’ in Theory and Society Vol. 29 (2000), Professor of Sociology Rogers Brubaker and historian Frederick Cooper acknowledge that the word can be understood in many ways and in many different forms, depending on “the context of its use and the theoretical tradition from which the use in question derives.” Furthermore, these usages “are not simply heterogeneous; they point in sharply differing directions.” We’re talking chaos and confusion here.


"...depending on the context".

That sounds familiar. Unless of course there are philosophers here among us able to provide us with a precise definition of identity. And then note how they use this definition to explore, to examine and to encompass their own identity such that the manner in which I ascribe it [in the is/ought world] to dasein is not reasonable.

Given a specific context.

As for the "theoretical tradition"...what's yours?

And yet we know that in any number of extant contexts in the either/or world, chaos and confusion are anything but evident.

It's in how we bridge this gap in explaining our own behaviors that most interest me. Especially when those behavioirs precipitate conflict.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 29, 2020 7:27 pm

DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.

Personal Identity

Until recently science was not well placed to make a positive contribution to the debate. But in April 2003 the Human Genome Project for the first time gave us the ability to read humanity’s complete genetic blueprint.


Okay, but where on the blueprint is the genetic material that allows us to grasp when brain matter becomes mindful of itself as brain matter able to become mindul of itself. Freely and autonomously, say.

Let alone the biological parameters of human moral and political interactions. Instead, for some, the more they come to know the more it becomes clear that there is still so much more to know.

I, as a biological imperative and "I" as a social, political and economic construct. Which combinations of deoxyribose, phosphate molecule and the four nitrogenous bases --adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine -- combined with countless historical and cultural permutations embedded in memes accounts for why we choose one behavior rather than another? And why we react to those behaviors in so many conflicting ways?

Every individual has a unique genetic makeup, their own distinct form of the human genome...Furthermore, our basic DNA sequences remain unchanged throughout all stages of our growth, development, and degeneration. The individual’s DNA sequences are stable despite the replacement of chemical elements. They persist irrespective of damage to DNA due to random accidents. The sequences do not depend on cognitive abilities or consciousness.


Okay, how do we go from all of these things we are anchored to in the either/or world to all of the things that tear us apart in the is/ought world? Might it be either the manner in which I construe the meaning of determinism or the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein?

Or, sure, one of your own conjectures?

The Alzheimer’s sufferer who has lost most of her memory has the same genetic base as she had as an infant without self-awareness, or as an adult during the peak of a successful career. Our DNA remains the same from the first instant of an individual’s existence to his or her last breath.


Go figure, right?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:09 pm

DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.

In simple terms, our DNA sequences are unique, measurable, and constitute an objective description or plan of an individual’s deep-seated physical makeup. As such, personal identity as defined by the dictionary – ‘the sameness of the person at all times or in all circumstances; the condition or fact that the person is itself and not something else’ – is fully revealed through our DNA patterns: we can now say how and why we are one and the same being throughout our entire lives.


Then it comes down to where the line is drawn. Only there are no "simple terms" for that. Otherwise we would know by now whether this line is closer to the memetic "I" having significant control over the genetic "I", or the genetic "I" being wholly in sync with biological determinism such that the memetic -- historical, cultural, experiential -- "I" is basically just an illusion embodied in a human psychology that is no less wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

Ever and always that same imponderable. Where, when, how, why does the brain become the mind become the self conscious "I" become that entity which chooses this behavior instead of that one?

By using DNA, it is no longer problematic to ground persistence of personal identity in the continuous existence of our changing bodies, and the difficulty in verifying whether one body at one time is the same body at another time is overcome by looking at the genome. The permanence of the abiding substance, the underlying genomic pattern, can be empirically verified even as all else changes over time. So through our understanding of human DNA it’s possible to transfer our ideas of personal identity from subjective notions based on descriptions in the humanities, to an objective concept based on science. Doing so is a major paradigm shift.


Okay, you've made this crucial paradigm shift "in your head". Now tell us how this explains in any definitive manner the way in which "I" seems to be broached, assessed, encompassed and then sustained by so many variables that are not manifestations of the human genome. Those material/phenomenal interactions that are broached, assessed, encompassed and the sustained in any number of complex and ever evolving social, political and economic interactions. How does it not still always come down to connecting the dots between what we think is true and what we are able demonstrate to others is in fact true for all of us? Those aspects of our identity which are actually questioned by others in regard to any number of things.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:06 pm

iambiguous wrote:DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.



"Okay, you've made this crucial paradigm shift "in your head". Now tell us how this explains in any definitive manner the way in which "I" seems to be broached, assessed, encompassed and then sustained by so many variables that are not manifestations of the human genome. Those material/phenomenal interactions that are broached, assessed, encompassed and the sustained in any number of complex and ever evolving social, political and economic interactions. How does it not still always come down to connecting the dots between what we think is true and what we are able demonstrate to others is in fact true for all of us? Those aspects of our identity which are actually questioned by others in regard to any number of things."



In simple terms, our DNA sequences are unique, measurable, and constitute an objective description or plan of an individual’s deep-seated physical makeup. As such, personal identity as defined by the dictionary – ‘the sameness of the person at all times or in all circumstances; the condition or fact that the person is itself and not something else’ – is fully revealed through our DNA patterns: we can now say how and why we are one and the same being throughout our entire lives.


Then it comes down to where the line is drawn. Only there are no "simple terms" for that. Otherwise we would know by now whether this line is closer to the memetic "I" having significant control over the genetic "I", or the genetic "I" being wholly in sync with biological determinism such that the memetic -- historical, cultural, experiential -- "I" is basically just an illusion embodied in a human psychology that is no less wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

Ever and always that same imponderable. Where, when, how, why does the brain become the mind become the self conscious "I" become that entity which chooses this behavior instead of that one?

By using DNA, it is no longer problematic to ground persistence of personal identity in the continuous existence of our changing bodies, and the difficulty in verifying whether one body at one time is the same body at another time is overcome by looking at the genome. The permanence of the abiding substance, the underlying genomic pattern, can be empirically verified even as all else changes over time. So through our understanding of human DNA it’s possible to transfer our ideas of personal identity from subjective notions based on descriptions in the humanities, to an objective concept based on science. Doing so is a major paradigm shift.


Okay, you've made this crucial paradigm shift "in your head". Now tell us how this explains in any definitive manner the way in which "I" seems to be broached, assessed, encompassed and then sustained by so many variables that are not manifestations of the human genome. Those material/phenomenal interactions that are broached, assessed, encompassed and the sustained in any number of complex and ever evolving social, political and economic interactions. How does it not still always come down to connecting the dots between what we think is true and what we are able demonstrate to others is in fact true for all of us? Those aspects of our identity which are actually questioned by others in regard to any number of things.




Just as teen age years need to navigate between childhood and adulthood , Wittgenstein had to navigate between Russell's and Cantor's paradoxes to create a feasible objective toward construct of a model . The 'Vanishing Adolescent' , David Riesman point to the vaster state induced; 'The One Dimensional Man'. The problems the Dasein faces are apparently meshed with the problems of the entropic deconstruction of culture and society in general.

Without the 'Dasein diffentiating out toward the plenum, the construct can not overcome the big central gap, which becomes the pedestal that the model will be placed upon.

It's setting, it's situational or context, will not have space for it, ( Cantor's interject , I believe.)- as a reverse function between linear and relative space/time

Reconstructions become more like the warped mirror images, rather then memorable qualifiers such as moral quantifiers becon to abstract.

The authentic and the inauthentic self will form analytical models thereby, and weighing one against the other will not serve either well.

The third man argument fits here, where phenominal amd nominal programs construct workable models, on utilitarian basis.

I think Wittgenstein did say this, and did not anchor an absolutely necessary rrules , which do work mainly on Democratic arena.

But as can be opined by current affairs, for most, similarity tends to signal a necessary use of common sense.

I do not think this implies merely that.

Similarly , the same goes for the memetic-genetic difference, but this goes to the heart of the paradigmn shift, and although it is intrinsically casual, but it's determinancy is of secondary importance.

We are responsible for our actions regardless of whether they are willed autonomously, or are products of distant precepts.
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:25 pm

Meno_ wrote:

Just as teen age years need to navigate between childhood and adulthood , Wittgenstein had to navigate between Russell's and Cantor's paradoxes to create a feasible objective toward construct of a model . The 'Vanishing Adolescent' , David Riesman point to the vaster state induced; 'The One Dimensional Man'. The problems the Dasein faces are apparently meshed with the problems of the entropic deconstruction of culture and society in general.

Without the 'Dasein diffentiating out toward the plenum, the construct can not overcome the big central gap, which becomes the pedestal that the model will be placed upon.

It's setting, it's situational or context, will not have space for it, ( Cantor's interject , I believe.)- as a reverse function between linear and relative space/time

Reconstructions become more like the warped mirror images, rather then memorable qualifiers such as moral quantifiers becon to abstract.

The authentic and the inauthentic self will form analytical models thereby, and weighing one against the other will not serve either well.

The third man argument fits here, where phenominal amd nominal programs construct workable models, on utilitarian basis.

I think Wittgenstein did say this, and did not anchor an absolutely necessary rrules , which do work mainly on Democratic arena.

But as can be opined by current affairs, for most, similarity tends to signal a necessary use of common sense.

I do not think this implies merely that.

Similarly , the same goes for the memetic-genetic difference, but this goes to the heart of the paradigmn shift, and although it is intrinsically casual, but it's determinancy is of secondary importance.

We are responsible for our actions regardless of whether they are willed autonomously, or are products of distant precepts.


I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here. Though I'm still convinced that perhaps this is the point.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:24 am

iambiguous wrote:
Meno_ wrote:

Just as teen age years need to navigate between childhood and adulthood , Wittgenstein had to navigate between Russell's and Cantor's paradoxes to create a feasible objective toward construct of a model . The 'Vanishing Adolescent' , David Riesman point to the vaster state induced; 'The One Dimensional Man'. The problems the Dasein faces are apparently meshed with the problems of the entropic deconstruction of culture and society in general.

Without the 'Dasein diffentiating out toward the plenum, the construct can not overcome the big central gap, which becomes the pedestal that the model will be placed upon.

It's setting, it's situational or context, will not have space for it, ( Cantor's interject , I believe.)- as a reverse function between linear and relative space/time

Reconstructions become more like the warped mirror images, rather then memorable qualifiers such as moral quantifiers becon to abstract.

The authentic and the inauthentic self will form analytical models thereby, and weighing one against the other will not serve either well.

The third man argument fits here, where phenominal amd nominal programs construct workable models, on utilitarian basis.

I think Wittgenstein did say this, and did not anchor an absolutely necessary rrules , which do work mainly on Democratic arena.

But as can be opined by current affairs, for most, similarity tends to signal a necessary use of common sense.

I do not think this implies merely that.

Similarly , the same goes for the memetic-genetic difference, but this goes to the heart of the paradigmn shift, and although it is intrinsically casual, but it's determinancy is of secondary importance.

We are responsible for our actions regardless of whether they are willed autonomously, or are products of distant precepts.


I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here. Though I'm still convinced that perhaps this is the point.



OK and again You missed the point. One of these days I will be able to prove that the only way to hit the mark, is to aim high.


But until then, I will re-read You, and revise.
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:28 am

Meno_ wrote:OK and again You missed the point. One of these days I will be able to prove that the only way to hit the mark, is to aim high.


But until then, I will re-read You, and revise.


Okay, but I suspect that, if you are not just being ironic, we approach philosophy from two very, very different vantage points.

And, I suspect further, that is entirely rooted in dasein.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jun 12, 2020 7:57 pm

DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.

Group Identity

In biological terms, a species is generally defined as a group of organisms capable of successfully exchanging genes, or in other words, capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring. Ability to reproduce with our own kind is, therefore, the essential constant that distinguishes us as human.


Biological imperatives. Our collective identity as the human race. One big inclusive group.

Okay, so how then does one explain the manner in which individual members of this group then go about the business of creating myriad other groups? The ones based on race or ethnicity or gender or sexual preference or religious affiliation or political commitment?

Or is that too just a particularly mind-boggling manifestation of biological imperatives.

But, okay, let's just assume there's a juncture where biology gives way to human autonomy. We don't know exactly when that happened, how that happened and why that happened, but [compelled or not] let's just say that it did.

What then?

Memes. Social, political and economic. And isn't this the factor that seems to cause all the fuss when it comes to identity? Different people in different communities at different points in time historically seem driven to create any number of groups in which someone is either one of them or they are not.

The rest then being history.

All I do is to focus in not on the groups that we choose to be a part of but why we choose the groups that we do. Once we go beyond the parts where biology is destiny. The role that dasein -- encompassed in the OP -- plays in our individual lives.

In other words, once we go beyond this:

This means that communal identity becomes manifest through the ‘trinitarian’ act of reproduction, in which two personal identities of the opposite sex give rise to a new personal identity. As such, human reproduction defines the identity of the group. So DNA operating through human reproduction is at one and the same time the factor that defines our personal identity and gives rise to our communal identity. It is the organic link between both: the common bond without which neither exists.


Yes, for reasons we will almost certainly never truly understand, we were destined to be born, will be destined to die and now we have to deal with the part in the middle.

What then of "I"? Here and now. What can we pin down for sure about ourselves? And what is more or less just an existential leap rooted in dasein?

The part that, in my view, most will steer clear of once the exploration brings them in the general vicinity of my own point of view.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:11 pm

DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.

Some Implications

If ‘identity’ is confined rigorously to its objective definitions, it unburdens philosophy and the social sciences of the need to, somehow identify it out of an understanding of cognitive processes such as continued memory, sense of being, and/or human behaviour. The implications are overwhelmingly positive.


Okay, so let's pin down with some precision that crucial distinction between the objective definitions you have accepted in regard to your own identity and the parts that I attribute to dasein. By, oh, I don't know, focusing in on a particular set of circumstances in which you choose behaviors based on your assessment of yourself that come into conflict with others who, in ascribing their own sense of identity to value judgments at odds with yours, are ready to do battle with you.

Anyone care to go there?

Where, in my view, the implications are considerably more problematic. Let's bring the author's "intellectual contraption" above down to earth.

Indeed, the consequences of our ability to define identity in objective terms are enormous. Our genes don’t correlate well with our commonly used tools of human classification, such as race, ethnicity, culture or nation. Indeed, the disassociation between our basic underlying genetic structures and our superficial (and often incorrect) understanding of human differences, questions the entire bag of instruments we use to classify humanity.


On the other hand, perhaps there is a biological component embedded in the "human all too human" tendency down through the ages to for all practical purposes make such demographic distinctions. After all, that might explain why they never go away.

Here I tend to make my own leap in the general direction of nurture. Nurture being able to shape and mold nature such that folks are found all up and down the ideological spectrum. But how to finally pin it all down once and for all? The optimal or the only rational manner in which to view such things as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation?

Yes, some day science and philosophy may well be able to grapple with it all objectively and provide us with that definitive assessment.

Or perhaps they already have. If so, links please.

If our systems of classification are suspect, then it’s imperative to modify them in favour of classifying humanity through the one aspect that provides the most fundamental understanding of who we are: namely, our DNA. Human genetics is the new classifier, and group differences are one of grade rather than essence. Although sometimes helpful in the study of human behaviour, they do not serve to constitute separate ‘identities’.


That will almost certainly never happen until our genetic makeup is understood to the point that everything we say and do can be explained "scientifically" as a result of one or another combination of biological factors. And to the extent that, say, moral and political agendas are attributed to this is the extent which it becomes for all practical purposes "beyond our control".

Unless of course I am not understanding his point correctly.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:45 pm

Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.

Kant suggested that the most important question in philosophy was not that of truth (epistemology), goodness (ethics), or beauty (aesthetics) – the topics which so fascinate academic philosophers – but rather the anthropological question, ‘What is the human being?’


Whereas I am more intent on exploring the part where, after coming to a conclusion about that, the focus then is on each of us as individuals out in a particular world at a particular time interacting with others of our own species in a particular context. The stuff I explore in the OP on this very thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529

He also suggested that this question could only be answered empirically, and not by resorting to, say, metaphysics. This implies, of course, that we can learn more about the human subject by studying anthropology (ethnography), sociology, psychology, ethology, and now evolutionary biology, than by engaging in speculative academic philosophy about human beingness, in the style of Husserl, Heidegger, or Derrida.


Hear, hear!

And yet at the same time Kant is intent on encompassing human interactions by way of "categorical and imperative" moral obligations. Human "beingness" cannot be pinned down through rational thought but human ethics can be?

What am I missing here?

And an empirical examination of human identity will sooner or later bump into those parts of the self that are able to be established as in fact true objectively for all rational men and women and those parts that seems conducive only to "I" as an existential contraption subject to change given new experiences.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:42 pm

iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.

Kant suggested that the most important question in philosophy was not that of truth (epistemology), goodness (ethics), or beauty (aesthetics) – the topics which so fascinate academic philosophers – but rather the anthropological question, ‘What is the human being?’


Whereas I am more intent on exploring the part where, after coming to a conclusion about that, the focus then is on each of us as individuals out in a particular world at a particular time interacting with others of our own species in a particular context. The stuff I explore in the OP on this very thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529

He also suggested that this question could only be answered empirically, and not by resorting to, say, metaphysics. This implies, of course, that we can learn more about the human subject by studying anthropology (ethnography), sociology, psychology, ethology, and now evolutionary biology, than by engaging in speculative academic philosophy about human beingness, in the style of Husserl, Heidegger, or Derrida.


Hear, hear!

And yet at the same time Kant is intent on encompassing human interactions by way of "categorical and imperative" moral obligations. Human "beingness" cannot be pinned down through rational thought but human ethics can be?

What am I missing here?

And an empirical examination of human identity will sooner or later bump into those parts of the self that are able to be established as in fact true objectively for all rational men and women and those parts that seems conducive only to "I" as an existential contraption subject to change given new experiences.


Iambiguous, I’ve told you repeatedly that proofs exist, they are not subject to opinion or disproof. It’s very narcissistic of you to claim that since your opinions have changed over time THAT YOU WERE EVER WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING!!! That everyone HAS to be wrong about something. They’re not!

I’m currently in a thread with John Bannan where I define space as otherness. It’s true beyond true beyond true. There is no other possible opinion to this! These are proofs. Humans have lots of proofs!
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:04 pm

Ecmandu wrote:[
Iambiguous, I’ve told you repeatedly that proofs exist, they are not subject to opinion or disproof. It’s very narcissistic of you to claim that since your opinions have changed over time THAT YOU WERE EVER WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING!!! That everyone HAS to be wrong about something. They’re not!

I’m currently in a thread with John Bannan where I define space as otherness. It’s true beyond true beyond true. There is no other possible opinion to this! These are proofs. Humans have lots of proofs!


And I have told you repeatedly that I am of the opinion -- and that is all it is, my own personal opinion -- that you are afflicted with a "condition" that prompts you to post things here at ILP that make absolutely no sense at all. Surreal, bizarre things. You pummel us with all of these assumptions about everything under the sun but you fail to convince me that you are actually able to demonstrate that they are true much beyond you believing that they are.

Something is proven only in the fact of you having posted it.

Unless of course we're both wrong.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:14 pm

Iambiguous,

You make your life out of being incredulous. Much more surreal than anything I’ve posted.

I’ll post something like, “I hit the submit button to send this post”. And you’ll be like, “you don’t have an “I” and even if you did (unless I’m wrong) you’re perception of that is rooted in dasein (unless I’m wrong), it’s just an idea in your head, just an opinion (unless I’m wrong).

Honestly! It’s as if you have no self reflective insight into how you sound to others!

Sure, I get blind spots too. But I change! You don’t change!
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:35 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Iambiguous,

You make your life out of being incredulous. Much more surreal than anything I’ve posted.

I’ll post something like, “I hit the submit button to send this post”. And you’ll be like, “you don’t have an “I” and even if you did (unless I’m wrong) you’re perception of that is rooted in dasein (unless I’m wrong), it’s just an idea in your head, just an opinion (unless I’m wrong).

Honestly! It’s as if you have no self reflective insight into how you sound to others!

Sure, I get blind spots too. But I change! You don’t change!


Must be that "dasein" thing. :o
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: a man amidst mankind: back again to dasein

Postby Dan~ » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:13 pm

iambiguous wrote:What am I missing here?

Realness is inescapable.
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