What are you, really? To the rest of the world you appear as a particular human being, a publicly observable organism with a complex biological and social history and a name. But to yourself, more intimately, you appear as ‘I’, the mental subject of your experiences, thoughts, feelings, memories and emotions. This inner self is only indirectly observable by others, though they ordinarily have no doubt about its existence, as you have no doubt about their inner lives.
One of the enduring questions of philosophy is whether there really is such a thing as the self, and if so, what it is.
I have not read any poll data about the number of people who at some point in their lives, stop and wonder, who am I. When I have done it, more in the past, late teens through early twenties, even then I felt a little silly. I would touch my face in the mirror, I must be me, or that thing in the mirror, the fleshy container of those thoughts, experiences and memories. Throw in some genetic predisposition some intricately woven proteins as well. Since I have read novels, non-fiction and watched movies and sit-coms that deal with the subject I have a perception bias that most people have similar thoughts, if only fleeting or dismissive – too much navel gazing for some. Yet there is a school of thought altogether different,
Others have argued that this idea of the self is an illusion, due to a misunderstanding of how the word ‘I’ functions: in fact it refers to the human being who utters it, and it is you the publicly observable human being, and not anything else, that is the subject of all your experiences, thoughts and feelings.
Galen Strawson’s book Selves, a work of shameless metaphysics, argues that selves exist and that they are not human beings. However, Strawson is a materialist and does not think that your self could exist apart from your central nervous system. He holds that your experiences are events in your brain, and that if there is a self which is their subject it too must be in the brain. But he is a materialist of an unusual kind: a realist about experience and an anti-reductionist. Strawson believes that although experiences are events in the brain, experience cannot be analysed in terms of the physical properties of the material world, so the material world is much more than the world described by physics – at least in the case of brains, and perhaps quite generally.[*] This means that the conscious brain has a mental character that is not revealed by the physical sciences, including neurophysiology.
I cannot bring myself to be completely dismissive of metaphysics, but this is one of the reasons i find it an almost embarrassing subject to discuss seriously. Practitioners will take what is a kind of mysticism and wrap in up in something that looks a little like rationalism and say see, this is all very logical ( logic in the traditional philosophic sense).
Paloma Faith – Black & Blue (Acoustic Session)
Notes: I deleted the post on my storage issues with WP, but those who are having similar issues can see the forum thread here. They have found out why they put hot-linked thumbnail images from where you are storing pictures elsewhere into your WP media library( a semi-sacred place) – in order to save WP page loading times. That said they have not really solved the problem as much as acknowledge that some WP bloggers might be getting less than their fair share of storage on WP because of this programming quirk. So they worked around it by increasing my storage a little bit. So for that at least, a big thank you to staffer zandyring and member notawoodpecker( who appears to have some programming knowledge).