Have you existed before?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by birch, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    In context of the identity of people, I like this definition from Webster;
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,555
    I think {a} might be more our subjective view of another. But it begs a question about our personal identity in relation to our outer personality.
    {b} also seems to suggest an outward appearance rather than an individual's personal identity.

    Correct me if I'm wrong
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    There are several more definitions such as the identity of a (bowed) string instrument, like;
    violin, viola, cello, basso They are related but identified by their size and range of sound.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,555
    So an individual's identity is their what? I'm still a little lost on this one.
     
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    Their identity are the specific features or traits that sets something apart from other similar somethings.

    Being "identical" in all respects would indicate an exact copy, but in reality I doubt if anything can be purely identical, and then word would be used as a generality indicating that there are no identifiable differences.

    For example even identical twins still would still have unique finger prints.
    Even clones might be identical in physical features but would still have or develop behavioral differences depending on the environment.

    In the abstract it is possible to have identical mathematical features such as Pi in circles. but even then there are big circles and small circles, which have an identical mathematical code in common, though I believe that large circles allow for a more precise mathematical expression of Pi than smaller circles. A mathematician could probably answer that question better than me (I?).
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  9. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,555
    Okay, no two people are exactly alike. I get that. Yet the individual identity seems more an idea of ones self, if you get my drift. We attach ourselves to ideas which we use to define who we are.
     
    Write4U likes this.
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    Yes, that would self-identification, which still would differ from other's self-identification.
    I believe there are as many different self-identification with the concept of god as there are theists.

    I guess the closest we can identify with another is through empathy, a fleeting moment of experiencing the same emotional or physical response as experienced by another.

    The breath and scope of the term is large, but still relative in meaning. IMO
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  11. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,555
    But it is with those common labels that people find unity: Christian, Atheist; Republican, Democrat; American, Chinese; Black, Hispanic; Married, Single; Rich, Poor; etc...

    There are also the darker personal concepts that people hold.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    Right but that would be a generalized use of the term.
    As I said the scope of the term is very large and often used to generalize a common trait or belief. But within those generalizations each individual still has his/her own unique identity.
     
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,486
    From my point of view, the only thing important about my identity is my mind.
    If everything else went, I'd still be me. OTOH, if I lost nothing except my mind, I would cease to be me.
    So, my mind is what idenitfies me as me.
     
    Write4U likes this.
  14. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,555
    The thoughts contained therein are your identity. Would it be possible to lose your thoughts and still be you? Excuse me for my indulgence, from my point of view the "mind" is nothing more than a bundle of thoughts. We all have emotions, so those are not unique to any one individual.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,486
    And memories. Memories are the fermament upon which thoughts walk.

    I would argue no.

    But it's a nebulous thing. I think there will be no such thing as a single definition of identity. Others might well consider what others knew of them to be part of their identity. eg. a great philanthropist and humanitarian might consider his deeds to be part of who he is.

    Not sure about "nothing more than".

    Our thoughts are rooted in our memories and our experiences. They are in turn, rooted in our relationships.

    That's like saying "we all have thoughts".

    Sure, emotions as a general thing are common to us all, but my emotions are not your emotions any more than my thoughts are your thoughts. Your reaction to a cooing baby is as nuanced as my reaction to a monkey dressed in leiderhosen.
     
  16. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,555
    But memories are thoughts too, are they not?

    Again, I think a memory is nothing more than a thought, but I understand your point.
     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,486
    I do not think so.

    Memories exist independently of my thinking about them. Yet they are there, when something triggers them.
    Heck, they exist even when I am not conscious (such as under anaesthesia). Otherwise they would not be there waiting for me when I woke up.
    I certainly have memories right now that I am not accessing. But I know I could, if asked the right questions.

    But it may also be bifurcating bunnies. You could roll them into one thing called 'a working mind'.
     
  18. Andrew256 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    100
    (Quoted just for notification)

    Let's change the past a little for another thought experiment. Imagine if your parents never met each other, more specifically imagine that one of your parents stays the same and one of them was different, and they have a child. Would this child still be you?
    Your genetic makeup would be different, resulting in different physical and mental traits, which in turn might result in you making another decisions in life and having completely different memories at this point.

    But would this human be you?

    Now forgive me for going on ahead, but:

    If you answer no - then do you think that changing only part of your genetic makeup in the past (in the form of another parent) would prevent You from appearing in this world completely? If not, then how much do you need to change to still be able to say that this human will be you (the last question is rhetorical, been asked in previous examples, just from a different angle). Certainly, you'll agree that You can still be You if you only had different eye color or hair density.

    If you answer yes - then how is it different from any other human born? They all have a different genetic makeup, 50% different, 80% different, 100% different (I'm not including the part of DNA that we all share) it doesn't matter how much.
     
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    IMO, You can only be You if all things are exactly the same from beginning to end.
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,486
    All what things? You mean, my experiences?

    So, if I caught the last ep of Ladies & Gents of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of missing it, I'm not me?
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    If you were a fan of that show and somehow missed it, You'd feel a loss and an emptiness, which you would not have if you had seen it.

    It is you, but not you as you would have been had you watched that episode.
    You are the sum of Your experiences. In the strictest sense, it all counts. Only if you were not aware that the episode was played and is no longer available would You remain You, except you'd still be looking forward to seeing it, and be disappointed when you learned you missed it. The experiencing of an experience shapes the You which exists today.

    OTOH, if you were omniscient and knew everything, you'd probably be bored, blase about it all. You would lose your curiosity, your sense of wonder, your sense of discovery. i.e. "your enquiring mind wants to know'

    Why do people go mad when locked up in total mental deprivation, or even if not allowed to sleep for days?
    You'd become someone else, no? Consider the Stockholm syndrome. One can make the argument that that's who you have become, but in reality in is an artificially created You.

    This is due to the adaptive flexibility of the mind.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,900
    Deleted for duplication
     
  23. Andrew256 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    100
    It seems, after all, we are really putting different meanings into the words "You" or "Sense of self". I want to find arguments against this statement, but I realize it all boils down to individual understanding of Self, and I can't say with 100% certainty that one understanding is more correct than another...

    It's a shame that words put such a limit on the expression of ideas.

    I cannot agree. You would act differently, yes. Your personality would change, yes. But you would still be you because your sense of cohesion and continuity is preserved.
     

Share This Page