Sunday, 2 April 2017

Who am I?

Worth watching for those who know nothing about philosophy.

What is it that makes me me throughout my life? We might say the self, but what is the self? My body changes throughout my life. My interests, intelligence, pre-occupations and so on change throughout my life.  So shouldn't my self too literally change throughout my life?

In order for the self not to literally change and avoid the conclusion I am literally a different person at time A than at time B, then the self has to be something distinct from all these things. I suggest the self is the author, or the experiencer, of one's thoughts, interests, and more generally of one's experiences. That is to say that in addition to experiences, there is an experiencer that has them.  Experiences don't just exist without an experiencer, or self, to experience them. It is this author/experiencer/self that we can hypothesize remains unchanged.

Note that materialists can not believe in such an
author/experiencer/self.  This is because the materialist would have to identify any such self with some physical thing or processes.  But physical things and processes are in a constant state of change, and certainly our bodies are.  Hence, there is nothing unchanging which they can call a self.

They can of course believe in a sense of self.  But the sense of a self differs from the actual self in a similar way to which a sense of a table differs from the actual table.

See the following blog entries by me:

Is a "life after death" conceivable?   Part 3: What is the Self

Does the self as opposed to a mere "sense of self" exist?
The self and its experiences


  1. I guess the ship of theseus must have a self too since its parts are in constant flux but it stays the same ship.

    Who is the experiencer in the ship of theseus? In addition to the planks theres a ship after all. The ship is what remains unchanged. Of course for materialists there is nothing unchanging they can call a ship.

  2. The video is just to get people thinking. Whether we call it the same ship or not is just a question of convention. There is no self to the ship, it's purely a physical object. We would have no selves either should we be purely physical objects.

    I would have thought this blog entry was easy enough to understand!


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