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Divided Selves - October 19.docx

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Gary Foster

th Divided Selves October 19 , 2012 PP111 – Divided Selves Midterm Instructions: th  October 26 , 2012 @ 2:00-3:50 in Arts Building 1E1  25% of course mark  Key terms on MLS  All M/C and T/F  Midterms covers up to this lesson Personal Identity: Quick Review  Diotima: “Although we call him the same, every bit of him is different, and every day he is becoming a new man, while the old man is ceasing to exist...” (pg. 34)  John Locke: “As far as this consciousness can be extended backwards... so far reaches the identity of that person.” (pg. 39)  Thomas Reid: “My thoughts, and actions, and feelings, change every moment... but that self, or I, to which they belong is permanent... the identity of a person is a perfect identity.” (pg. 43) o “...the thinking being has a continued existence, and we have an invincible belief that it remains the same when all its thoughts and operations change.” (pg. 44) David Hume (1711-1776)  Of personal identity  Our interaction with the world is mediated through our senses  Hume called the contents of consciousness “perceptions”  Perceptions can be divided into two types: o Impressions: these are our immediate sensations, passions, and emotions; the immediate data of seeing, hearing, touching, desiring, loving, hating, etc.  Product of the immediate contact with the world around us  Key to us getting accurate knowledge about the world  Enter our consciousness with more force and violence o Ideas: these are copies or faint images of impressions, such as we have when thinking about or recalling any of our immediate impressions  Used to make sense of the world  Images of our impressions  Occur when thinking, remembering, imagining  The difference between the two is the greater force and liveliness of impressions  From what impression does an idea come?  If there are no impressions to support the idea then it is unsubstantiated [1] th Divided Selves October 19 , 2012 Of the Ideas of the Memory and Imagination  An impression makes its appearance in the mind as an idea  It does this in one of two ways: o As a memory when the impression is fresh and still retains much of its original vivacity o Secondly, when it loses this vivacity and becomes a pure idea created by the imagination  Ideas of memory are more reliable than ideas of the imagination; the imagination is more likely to corrupt the impression  Hume thinks that our imagination plays a big role in deceiving us into thinking that the self is a „simple‟, „unified‟ entity  Our idea of the self is largely an invention brought about by the functioning of the imagination  Discards Reid‟s theories that make assumptions about what we find in our imagination  Soul – constant, immortal, continuous  A common philosophical idea of the self: o “We feel its existence and its continuance in existence; and are certain ....both of its perfect identity and simplicity.” (pg. 49) o “From what impression [experience] could this idea [of the self] be derived?” (pg. 49) o “When i enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other... I never can catch myself at anytime...” (pg. 50)  Is there an impression that we can identify with the self?  What we call ourselves is a bundle of perceptions  Memory and imagination that turn these impressions into ideas  Identity of the self is a pigment of our imagination  The self as we think of it does not exist; no perfect identity behind our experience  The self is a bundle of experiences, memories, imagination  There is no “self” o “The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance... They are the successive perceptions only that constitute the mind.” (pg. 49) o (i) To be observed, the Self must appear on stage. o (ii) To observe, the Self must be in the audience. o (iii) The Self can never (simultaneously) be both observed and the observer. o (iv) So the Self can never observe itself. o (v) Therefore, we cannot know that the self exists from experience.  The Self observes various impressions [2] th Divided Selves October 19 , 2012  When we watch this theatre, we don‟t experience the “me” and we don‟t
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