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 Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity

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Taxer666
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PostSubject: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:27 pm

As much as I enjoy trolling, there are times where I am serious. Philosophy is one of the subjects that I find quite interesting and I enjoy discussing with others to either find out what they believe, or to figure out my own beliefs.

Today's topic of discussion is identity. What makes this thing its own and distinct "this." Do you believe that things have persisting identity over time, or do you believe that at each individual moment there is a different "this?"
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:08 pm

I think we define our own identities from within our setting by rising above it in a physical and psychological sense. We are defined by the way we interpret our experiences and the decisions we make. Over time, this identity takes on continuity. That's where you get the phrase, "Can't teach an old dog new tricks".
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:19 pm

I feel like you're arguing over perception. Your outlook is completely dependent on your identity

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:57 am

Guys, I wrote an essay on this shit the other week. I'm sorted.

Anyway, I don't think there are many aspects to identity that are definite unchanging facts. It's all down to perception and is very malleable depending on how the person presents themselves. Cross dressing/transvestism is a good example for what I'm talking about. Those are people who construct their own identity regardless of the conventions of gender, which is seen as an essential factor of identity. An interesting case I looked into recently is that of Billy Tipton; this jazz pianist who had 5 wives, children and lived his entire life as a man before being revealed only upon his death to be biologically female, which even his ex-wives and kids didn't know about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Tipton
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:06 am

I should have worded it differently, as I did not mean personal identity. Personal identity changes all the time. What I meant was philosophical or temporal identity.

Are you the same person that you were 5 years ago? And by same person, again, I do not mean the same self-identification. Rather I mean the same physical entity that occupies space. Is there a continuity, or is there something different at each instance? Is there a "this"?

Here's a thought experiment to show you what I mean.

Suppose you have a ship comprised of 20 parts. Each year, you must replace one different part of the boat. So year one you replace the original wheel, year two you replace the original mast, etc. This goes on for 20 years up until you have replaced all of the original parts of the ship. Is this ship the same ship you started out with or is it a different ship?

Which ever stance you take, then there are somewhat puzzling implications.

If you say that the boat is not the same, then at which point does it cease being the same? 19? 18? 17? 5? Either you have to arbitrarily choose one point at which the boat ceases to be the same, or you have to say that at change 1 it is no longer the same boat.

If you say that it is the same boat, then we have the problem of you calling two respectively different boats, the same thing.

Then if you put this into terms of people, things get really interesting.

If I assume that I am the same person, that is that there is a continuity of "self" over time, then I take the stance of persisting identity. However, if there is a point in the future where I can replace all of my parts with mechanical parts, even my brain, then this completely inorganic machine will identify as being me (Raul), when it seems that I and the machine are two different things? Is the machine incorrectly identifying itself as me or am I and the machine the same?

However, if I take the stance of changing identity, then there is the rather unintuitive idea that at every given moment, you are a different being. The "you" identifying itself as "you" is a different being than the one identifying itself as "you" at the end of this sentence.
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:28 pm

You guys suck.
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:05 pm

We definitely change. Elements of us do stay the same- but that'll probably change too. I know I was way more compassionate in high school than I am now. My biggest need at the time was to have friends. Now it is to find a job and to get money and experience for self-actualization. I'm assuming money will mean less over time for me. I'll still love it, but I'll value myself in the industry much more.

Am I the same person as I was a few years ago? Interests are way different. Do my interests base identity? Definitely. How about personality? Different- but not as radically as my interests in the past 5 years. Will this change? Hopefully it'll improve

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:35 pm

Right, but do you feel as if at every moment you are a completely different being?
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:41 pm

Sometimes. It all depends on my mood. At times I feel like I am best friends with everyone in the room and others I feel like nobody likes me. It's easier to get motivation to be happy when you have high energy. High energy comes from good sleep. Don't always choose to get good sleep but I want to be happy. Day by day I'm probably pretty inconsistent. Hard to tell if I feel different. Just as I can't tell when I start looking different with age. Need outside opinion

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:12 pm

I don't think identity becomes static until a little later in life, like maybe sometime right after the college years. Until then, it's all about learning and forming new opinions with new information. Every year I grow in some way, and change my views and opinions. And I don't feel identity has anything to do with a physical body. In a non-religious way, I think the person is the culmination of their choices, beliefs, etc. If that were to happen to you Taxer, and that machine retain your memories and consciousness, then that machine would undoubtedly be "you."

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:48 pm

i havent really thought about this much, but i think identity doesn't really change, we just add to it throughout life (if that makes any sense...so yeah it does kinda change). I perceive the world differently now than how i did back when i was 5, and not because of how i think and whatnot, theres a different "vibe" or emotional thing i feel than before. I sometimes remember how i might have felt years ago, but those "Feelings" are fleeting. its fucking strange, i dont think i can accurately describe what im trying to talk about it. like, if i visit lake george (which was a big part of my childhood i think), the feelings i feel now are different than what i felt back then. i only remember how i felt then through nostalgia type moments. Im not sure if this is an identity thing or some kind of mental disorder. lol But sometimes i do believe that i am a completely different person than i was. if we are talking about personal identity, then...kinda the samething. It changes, but its more like im just adding to it instead of completing changing it. Opinions change and whatnot.

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:28 pm

Idgaf about personal identity, what I am talking about is what separates thing 1 from thing 2.
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:05 am

so besides accumulation of life-experiences and genetics, then idk. the soul? if you believe it exists. im thinking the things that seperate thing 1 from thing 2 are the same things that develop someone's personal identity. why can't personal identity be a thing that separates thing 1 from thing 2?

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:13 am

Because X and Y are inanimate objects?
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:43 pm

then i would say its genetics or chemical composition. there's a study or article or something i read that consciousness may actually go down to the atomic level- if so, then everything is completely different just because they are made up of different atoms, even if they are the same element.

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:39 pm

I'm probably stupid but I don't see a difference. You asked that if I were to replace your body with mechanical parts would you be the same person. Of course you wouldn't be the same physical entity, but you would be the same "person." But I think to say that we are becoming a different entity all the time is a bit absurd. Sure, we are constantly losing cells and gaining new ones, but it's all a part of the life cycle of the human entity.

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:55 pm

LOR -- Consciousness is not at the atomic level. Nor does it play much a role in this discussion.

Axe -- Unless you believe in a soul (I don't), then it follows that you have to be the same physical entity in order to be the same person.

As I brought up, that is the philosophical implication that one has to accept if they believe that there isn't a persisting identity. Unless one can figure out a non-arbitrary way of showing when one thing ceases to be the same thing, then that is the route that one has to accept. That is of course unless you're willing to accept that thing X and thing Y are the same thing regardless of their mechanical composition.
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:38 pm

Taxer666 wrote:
LOR -- Consciousness is not at the atomic level. Nor does it play much a role in this discussion.

Axe -- Unless you believe in a soul (I don't), then it follows that you have to be the same physical entity in order to be the same person.

As I brought up, that is the philosophical implication that one has to accept if they believe that there isn't a persisting identity. Unless one can figure out a non-arbitrary way of showing when one thing ceases to be the same thing, then that is the route that one has to accept. That is of course unless you're willing to accept that thing X and thing Y are the same thing regardless of their mechanical composition.

http://integrallife.com/integral-post/yes-virginia-consciousness-does-go-all-way-down

lets forget you just ignored the possibility of atomic consciousness for whatever reason. it can have a part in the discussion, because atoms can also have identities as they are things, you have not given any definition of what a thing is and so everything is fair game. if material make-up counts, then you could say we are different even if we are made up of different atoms of the same type, cuz each individual atom could have a seperate identity. and realistically there will never be a non-arbitrary way to define anything until we learn everything there is to know about everything. you have to give us a definition of what identity means in the context of the conversation in order for anyone to try and figure out how it would be viewed, otherwise we are literally just saying how it could potentially be this or that- and then you saying we're wrong because we cant figure out what your getting at. are we talking about it being physical? spiritual (i know u scratched that already-listing it for the sake of the list)? mental? identity can independently exist on all these levels. if you do not agree with this definition, you need to give us what your definition is in order for us to participate better. i think everything depends on the level on which you want to examine things. if you are just talking about physical, we will be completely different people continuously because we are gaining and losing atoms just even as we breath. persisting identity can exist i think, but it has to be mental or spiritual if you believe in the soul or whatever. a persisting physical identity i dont think can be maintained

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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:11 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_%28philosophy%29
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PostSubject: Re: Taxer's Philosophical Inquiry 1: Identity   Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:43 am

ok. now im wondering about whether you could consider the entire existence (an objects past, present and future states) of a thing as its identity. that wikipedia page used the ship of theseus as an example (and now that im looking back at your posts, i see u did as well-my bad), parts being completely replaced and whatnot physically it could be entirely different, but maybe you can still refer to it as the same ship, because it was "itself" over the course of it being worked into something else, even though it was constantly changing. if you took out the process of transformation and held the before and after pics of the ship next to eachother, you could call them different ships, but the fact that it was one ship undergoing a transformation into the other connects them, therefore possibly still making it the same thing- which i think u also disagree with though. i wonder if that makes sense. i hope im getting closer to thinking on the right track, though i realize i might have completely ignored the law of identity from the page....though maybe not. because if you take the past present and future of an object and treat the whole thing as one thing, then it is always itself. fucking weird though, the trans-world thing is interesting too. if something existed in multiple worlds, then in order for it be itself, it would have to undergo the exact same things in both worlds, which probably mean that the world would aso have to be exactly the same as the other one.

i also realize that it doesn't make complete sense because in order to know the past present and future of a thing, you have to define what the thing is which is what the thread is about...cant seem to explain...you get what i was trying to say? IM GONNA GO WATCH CARTOONS

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