Just a quick survey regarding what you think your Ontological/essential nature is from the various accounts on Identity/Perosnal Identity.

Who thinks they are an organism/Homo Sapiens, a brain, a Person/mind/ego or a Person constituted by a body/organism/Homo Sapiens. If I have left any out pls add them.


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I'll just put a reply here instead.

I agree that morality resulted from evolution and probably originally dealt only with things that were to the benefit of the survival of one's genes (the offspring in addition to the individual). This probably also extended to the tribe (or troop if we're dealing with proto-humans), but then extended to larger and larger groups as our security became dependent upon our relationships in larger and larger groups. In this regard, politics still haven't caught up because there's very little in the way of international law. I don't think that my country (I'm an American- are you Australian?) is even a signatory to the international war crimes treaty.

Anyway, I also agree that we advanced to the point where our ethical rules ought to stand up to rational analysis (even though from a memetic point of view, there's no guarantee that the more rational ethical principles will be adopted- just look at all the utilitarians running around [ha! j/k - mostly]), and that we now value fairness above mere efficacy. Do you know John Rawls? He's a personal hero of mine, although I don't agree with him 100%.

He is a huge influence on me and my contractarian approach to the basis for rights and morality generally. In 'justice as fairness' and 'a theory of justice' he advocated determining the principles for a just society by hypothesizing that one started from an "original position" where one did not know which member of society one would become because you were operating behind a "veil of ignorance" concerning your fate and circumstances.
Yes I've only listened to a podcast about Rawls but I did like what I heard.
Actually there is much to be said for substance dualism, especially since it no one to my knowledge has come up with a substantive account how information gives rise to phenomenological POV or qualia in the first place.

From the stance of personal identity I think there could be a good case that this could be equated with the mind/ego, though as it seems to be a minority view I'll have to look at it again.

Certainly those accounts that see us as a brain or even a person constituted by a brain/organism have to overcome the problem that in principle we could be digitized and uploaded.

But back to the view of us as a mind, an associate has argued that persons or minds in your case cannot break world records because -I came up with have sex or babies- /persons/brains/minds don't have bodies or a penis.

So I think dualism could have a comeback, that is if you accept that it must be supervened on a physical substrate.
Yes, the digitization (or any perfect copy) of mind is an interesting result of mind as information or abstraction. As I said, this isn't a topic I've spent a lot of time on, so I'm just working from intuition here. I like using words for analogies dealing with information. If my mind is analogous to the words in a book, and my brain is analogous to the book, then what do I do about a copy. If it were digitized, then I could say that they're two tokens of the same type (eg, 1 and one). I could get picky and say that they aren't exactly the same information if I were so inclined, I suppose. OTOH, if there were two perfect copies (both 'encoded via the same method' like a Star Trek style transporter accident) - as with two downloaded books, then they'd be the same mind. Then, of course, as soon as either mind became active and had nonidentical experience, they'd be nonidentical. Even if the sensory inputs were made identical (like a brain in a vat or a Matrix sort of thing), then there's the likelihood of some quantum indeterminacy yielding different thoughts.

I agree that minds cannot break world records, only bodies can, and I identify as my mind. (After all, I cannot establish with indubitable certainty that my body exists in the form I perceive much less that the actions I believe I take are anything other than mental.) I've taken medication before that caused involuntary spasms of my hands. There's a sense in which "I" didn't do that. It makes sense to me that in a very technical sense I am not capable of breaking a world record, although I am capable of causing it to be broken. Talking that way in conversation would be awkward. I don't believe in the reality of free will, but I still converse with people normally- it'd be too weird no to.

I don't know if I'd use the word supervene. Isn't that supposed to apply to sets or properties (rather than to sets and objects or properties and that which possess them)? From a nominalist point of view, physical objects exist, but the properties or abstractions or information are only ways of naming sets of physical objects. In other words "yellow" is meaningful only in that it designates a set of objects- the set of yellow objects. That means that there is still only one sort of substance because the properties/information/abstractions are only linguistic devices for picking out sets of objects. Nominalism after all being the theory of universals equating them with names (as opposed to realism or conceptualism) and 'nomen' being latin for name.
I'm going to vote for 'mind' with the proviso that it is an emergent property instantiated by my body. In other words, 'I' refers to an aspect of my body, but since I am a nominalist, that aspect does not "exist". (It is instantiatied by something else which does exist, or sometimes it can be said to 'subsist' or exist 'post res'.) I think, ergo, 'I' refers to something, but not something that exists :)
Ok so something along Baker's Constitutive Account.

So if I were to get a picture of 'you' as a neonate/baby it is a picture of your body or organism but not you. So who if anything is in the picture and why does it have your name? Is it just a social convention?

Olson hs some other objections but I'd have to re-read to summarize.
Ps humour
If you don't exist who wrote the above post? :)

My body wrote the post of course!

Don't forget- the "post" doesn't exist either.
If the post is a combination of letters and punctuation, then it is merely an abstraction.

I think therefore I don't exist. :)
Exactly! :)
Well, if you go back far enough, my body existed before "I" did (given that we are using "I" in this context to refer to the mind). I don't know enough about the development of the brain and nervous system (and am not sure that experts know enough) to determine when a consciousness begins to emerge. (If that was what Obama meant at the Saddleback forum, then he stated it pretty poorly.) Regardless, my position is that the body which instantiates "me" was formed at conception. From that moment on, my body existed. "I" didn't exist until some later point.
As far as the Saddleback reference goes- the question was about when human "life" begins, not when a consciousness forms. I found it striking that although Obama is more cerebral and contemplative, his answer to the question as stated was an awful mess, whereas McCain's was the same that I'd have given. (I'd have added some explication, but it was the same answer.)




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