Identity philosophy

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Identity philosophy

Post by aferrar2 on Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:45 pm

Ok so I think we got tons out of the last discussion, but I wanted to change gears. And try ( very hard ) to talk about what makes our identity.

First memory theory I think its interesting. Some people argue that you are only you because you have the memories and experiences that you have gone through in the past. You can remember what happened yesterday the day before all the way back. You can also remember the feelings you had during that time. Using this logic if someone has lost there memory you can argue they are no longer that person they are a new person. Because from there on they don't rely on experiences in the past to shape decisions. Of course having muscle memory and other facts are stored, but the memories of the past that shaped them are gone.

So taking this I though of an interesting hypothetical situation.....

Lets assume when you go to heaven you make it there and you also get your memories to travel with you. But when you get there god duplicates you and makes 2 tonys and they have the exact same memory using this theory would lead to this conclusion:

1.) If X has real memories of Y’s experiences, then X = Y --- that is, X and Y are one and the same single person [The Memory Theory]
2.) Heavenly Tony 1 has real memories of Earth Tony’s experiences.
3.) Thus, Heavenly Tony 1 = Earthly Tony [from 1+2]
4.) Heavenly Tony 2 has real memories of Earthly Tony’s experiences.
5.) Thus, Heavenly Tony2 = Earthly Tony [from 1+4]
6.) If X=Y, and Y=Z, then X=Z [Transitivity of Identity]
7.) Thus, if Heavenly Tony1=Earthly Tony, and Earthly Tony = Heavenly Tony 2, then HT1=HT2 [from 6]
8.) Therefore, HT1 = HT2 – that is, HT1 and HT2 are one and the same single person [from 3+5+7]

But in fact HT1 and HT2 are two separate people (they are living two separate lives in two separate locations within heaven). So conclusion 8 is false. But if the conclusion is false, one of the premises must be false. It must be premise 1, the Memory Theory, says the challenger.

Best option for reply = The Copies-are-Fakes Reply. This reply denies premises 2 and 4, according to which HT1 and HT2 have real memories of EG’s experiences. No, they are just duplicates. A duplicated Picasso is a fake Picasso. Same with memory.


Ok so if this makes no sense and is not useful then its cool haha


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Re: Identity philosophy

Post by Mattb on Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:58 pm

I like this post. I remember we had a discussion on this subject a while back.

Anyways, there is a lot of ways I could tackle this reply and I'm not sure how I feel like it, though I know I do, so I'll pick one:

"Two separate entities are not one in the same, if you define them as separate to begin with."

I've always been one to believe that some of the lessons I have learned in life would not be affected by amnesia because they are not necessarily determined by whether or not my brain can access information. That, or what led me to learn them the first time would ultimately lead me to learn them again, because of "who I am." Without memories we would still be alive, so something exists. It's just a matter of determining what it is. I think even amnesia on some level could be a decision. Learning things once and learning things again are in a sense, new experiences. What leads us to pursue the things we do that creates those memories to begin with? Even earlier memories? I don't think necessarily. That would then lead us to the same question as existence does. "Where does it begin." However, I think that is something that at least can be defined as having a beginning, which would in a sense make memory dependent on something else. I believe that we still have a perception that memories run through, before we remember anything. These memories can absolutely shape our perception and what amounts to any further memories, but I believe perception comes first. We can also make a choice about how to interest both the past, and the present/future. That decision could technically also be based on our memories, but eventually I believe is regardless to them. A person, in many ways is changed if/when they lose their memories, but I believe that the core of who they are is still there. This isn't how I am tackling this question though.

I think that everything I said above, does really depend what you consider to be the core of yourself, but you're still different than someone with the same memories if you define yourself as different. That's my only real point here. I think that we eventually are all the same. I think that really we all originate...whether the universe is a result of itself in some perpetual spiral that expands as it contracts or any various theory...from one thing. Whatever is matter smaller than matter, whatever makes up molecules and whatever makes up that...I think our assumption of differences to begin with, are what make as different. We could exist in the same space as a table or as another person, I think...if we didn't see them as different. To truly see everything as the same, and not just say it, would again basically be to not be alive anymore.

The reason I say that here is that I think the separation between us, the lack of the truest form of equality, or at least the truest (whatever or however that is) of understandings of it, is something maybe we could go to and come back from but, ultimately something that is "other than" existing as a human being. So I think in a sense a cloned being that is outside of the person, is as different as any human beings are, unless you take into account that we're all some kind of nameless, unidentifiable (for now at least) matter. "Matter" isn't even the "correct," all-encompassing term for this but, since I'm not sure that there is one, I'm leaving it at that. If I'm mistaken, then I'm sure you'll know what I mean.

I think whatever existence "is" would allow us to exist through differences that ultimately we define as opposed to just being "part of the universe" in the way that we kind of just are. I don't think memories alter that in either direction. So that being said, I think difference is identity and I don't see the difference between memories or a lack thereof, in that sense. There both a combination of a lot of things being accumulated and being there, or an accumulation of things not being there. If we lose those things, they may change us to a degree, but we would still exist as the differences between other things, that we did before.

Does that make ANY sense?

Great post though by the way Tony. At first I was kind like "hmmm not sure if the equation format was needed there" but, at reading it through it really helped differentiate and distinguish the points and how they relate to one another or not.

So yeah!

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Re: Identity philosophy

Post by aferrar2 on Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:33 am

Yeah!!!!

I think you nailed this one. (Of course no right or wrong answer) but there is better answers comparatively. I think the what you are touching on when you say

Mattb wrote: A person, in many ways is changed if/when they lose their memories, but I believe that the core of who they are is still there.


I think this to me is the argument to a soul. And although this isn't the direction you went I think this is good to note. Because this is the common response for people who argue memory theory. I would also like to go with something like this in saying that the essence of someone is maybe like the seed that is planted when you are born. After that you may have more sun or more rain then someone else, and you may grow to be a little different than another, but ultimately you are the product of that seed, or the "soul" that you are.

I do really like the idea you said here.

Mattb wrote:Whatever is matter smaller than matter, whatever makes up molecules and whatever makes up that...I think our assumption of differences to begin with, are what make as different. We could exist in the same space as a table or as another person, I think...if we didn't see them as different. To truly see everything as the same, and not just say it, would again basically be to not be alive anymore.

I think this argument is great really it's almost a plea that if we were to accept that two people heavenly tony1 and heavenly tony2 were the same then this would break our entire existence apart. I like it because it also makes points at a cosmic level and makes for an ultimate look at humans from a very wide lens.

So now I want to talk about what I concluded before. So basically I concluded that memory theory has holes in it. I showed that a paradox in memory theory. I say that if you believe in memory theory then how can you have 2 totally different people in different parts of the world be one and the same. As a memory theorist the only good rebut would be to give the Picasso argument.

aferrar2 wrote:A duplicated Picasso is a fake Picasso. Same with memory.

But I do believe that these memory theorist are banking on this theory because of a very weak counter argument. They are saying that A.) god can't perfectly copy you memory B.) Souls don't exist or can't be split

I think that memory theory doesn't quite capture identity as a whole, but I think it gives some useful insight to just how complex a persons identity can be.


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Re: Identity philosophy

Post by Lunanova on Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:59 am

aferrar2 wrote: Some people argue that you are only you because you have the memories and experiences that you have gone through in the past.

Well I know this might be a waaay different turn on this train of thought we have going...
but I'd also like to point out that not just memories shape us (to a degree) but us as a collective and a society. Like, we set up for ourselves standards and norms that do shape us for better or for worse.

If that makes any sense ._.
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Re: Identity philosophy

Post by aferrar2 on Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:44 am

Yes you are right these things to shape us. But a memory theorist would argue that these factors are all the contributions to your memory. So the way society shapes and makes you do the things you do you reflect back with your memory of why you did that. Memories are just like what happened. Memories are also complex thoughts or emotions that you feel. After I type this it becomes a memory. I'm not saying that I think that memories shape people entirely, but the society and other factors do affect us greatly, but ultimately I guess I would say that information is stored away in a memory of feelings.

But liked the post Razz

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Re: Identity philosophy

Post by Lunanova on Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:23 pm

Yesh! It's like my part is a subsection in the whole big picture! Sometimes I wish, however, that these weren't theories...
but conclusions because all of this can be a mind-boggler. Although half of the fun is theorizing!
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