# Identity

kennethamy

Sun 1 Nov, 2009 09:05 pm
@Shostakovich phil,
Shostakovich;101129 wrote:
kennethamy;101127 wrote:

Peristence through change is an intelligible concept to me. What we can then say is the identity remains the very same (constant throughout life). if we equate it with that which persists within us. The only thing (if it be a thing) that I can see as persisting, is life. To equate identity with unchanging persistence I would have to then say identity is synonymous with that thing that gives, or that is life. Is this thing that gives life, spirit? Or is it something physical? Whichever it is, it would then be identitical to identity, if we look at identity as being persistent, and unchanging. So we remain the same identity, but our character is not the same.

I suppose then it is a question of semantics or linguistics. What do we really mean by identity? Life? Character?

The subject can become confusing if we jumble our definitions.

But I can agree with the idea of Identity persisting ... remaining the same; and allow for the character that goes with this identity as that which undergoes change. But we still haven't gotten to the root of what Identity is, have we? This is why it always arises as a subject of controversy and debate in philosophy.

Leibniz's law of identity (which is found in logic books) is:

X and Y are identical if and only if every property of Y is a property of X, and every property of X is a property of Y. So, X and Y are identical if and only if they have the same properties.

Shostakovich phil

Sun 1 Nov, 2009 10:18 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101153 wrote:
Shostakovich;101129 wrote:

Leibniz's law of identity (which is found in logic books) is:

X and Y are identical if and only if every property of Y is a property of X, and every property of X is a property of Y. So, X and Y are identical if and only if they have the same properties.

I'll have to do some study into this. Didn't realize he had a law of identity.

Subjectivity9

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 05:17 am
@boagie,
Shostakovich,

It seems to me that if we want to find out what is our identity, (if we hold on to a premise that identity persists at least from birth to death), what we then have to do is eliminate, quite systematically, what in fact seems to change.

Holding on our opinions of what identity is, without investigation into it, is not wisdom; rather it is IMO sheer stubbornness.

The Hindus does this very investagation with a practice called Neti/Neti (AKA Not this/Not this). In other words, with this litmus test (AKA does it come and does it go) they are able to eliminate one by one those things and thoughts that do not fit the criterion of being constant, or not changing, and by this come to see what persists as our actual identity. If identity in fact exists; it probably wouldn’t be some fantasy that we stubbornly refuse to let go of.

However, if identity (as we commonly think of it) remains in constant flux and hold onto nothing at all, there must be something that stands behind it and calls itself "Me."

S9

kennethamy

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 07:35 am
@Shostakovich phil,
Shostakovich;101166 wrote:
kennethamy;101153 wrote:

I'll have to do some study into this. Didn't realize he had a law of identity.

Sure. Google it (or Bing it). There is a good article in SEP.

---------- Post added 11-02-2009 at 08:39 AM ----------

Subjectivity9;101208 wrote:
Shostakovich,

It seems to me that if we want to find out what is our identity, (if we hold on to a premise that identity persists at least from birth to death), what we then have to do is eliminate, quite systematically, what in fact seems to change.

Holding on our opinions of what identity is, without investigation into it, is not wisdom; rather it is IMO sheer stubbornness.

The Hindus does this very investagation with a practice called Neti/Neti (AKA Not this/Not this). In other words, with this litmus test (AKA does it come and does it go) they are able to eliminate one by one those things and thoughts that do not fit the criterion of being constant, or not changing, and by this come to see what persists as our actual identity. If identity in fact exists; it probably wouldn't be some fantasy that we stubbornly refuse to let go of.

However, if identity (as we commonly think of it) remains in constant flux and hold onto nothing at all, there must be something that stands behind it and calls itself "Me."

S9

One famous theory of personal identity was John Locke's. He argued that memory was personal identity. But he never said anything about amnesia. People interested in the issue of personal identity should read up on it. You cannot just make it up. There is a good article in SEP.

Subjectivity9

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 08:36 am
@boagie,
I always have to wonder about people who say that we can’t just “make things up” and should “check the books for what other people have said about anything including identity, before I dare to say what I have found to be to case in my life.”

This just begs the question, doesn’t it? Who did John Lock read, before he dared to open his mouth? This same reading of others going back and back and even further backwards, until sooner or later you are going to come to some brave soul that simply looked for himself and started the whole ball rolling.

Knowledge can be direct knowledge. Knowledge is not just the accumulation of other peoples thoughts either borrowed or stolen.

I personally wouldn’t buy anyone’s definition of identity, not even Locke’s, if I could not look directly at identity and witness personally what he saw for myself.

I can buy that in good part, our ego identity is based upon our memory. So loose your memory and "Poof," there goes your personal story. But even without a lick of memory, most people know that they are their “Me.” So maybe it is the “Me” (feeling?) that persists?

They say that infants are born feeling “Oceanic” or that everything inthe world is their “Me.” We will have to let that little piece of wisdom stand as an unknown, as most of us cannot remember feeling that way. But, I can tell you this, that an amnesiac does not feel “Oceanic.” Neither does someone with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. So what is this “Me” that persists behind our ego identity’s story line?

S9

kennethamy

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 08:49 am
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;101250 wrote:
I always have to wonder about people who say that we can't just "make things up" and should "check the books for what other people have said about anything including identity, before I dare to say what I have found to be to case in my life."

This just begs the question, doesn't it? Who did John Lock read, before he dared to open his mouth? This same reading of others going back and back and even further backwards, until sooner or later you are going to come to some brave soul that simply looked for himself and started the whole ball rolling.

Knowledge can be direct knowledge. Knowledge is not just the accumulation of other peoples thoughts either borrowed or stolen.

I personally wouldn't buy anyone's definition of identity, not even Locke's, if I could not look directly at identity and witness personally what he saw for myself.

I can buy that in good part, our ego identity is based upon our memory. So loose your memory and "Poof," there goes your personal story. But even without a lick of memory, most people know that they are their "Me." So maybe it is the "Me" (feeling?) that persists?

They say that infants are born feeling "Oceanic" or that everything inthe world is their "Me." We will have to let that little piece of wisdom stand as an unknown, as most of us cannot remember feeling that way. But, I can tell you this, that an amnesiac does not feel "Oceanic." Neither does someone with advanced Alzheimer's disease. So what is this "Me" that persists behind our ego identity's story line?

S9

I did not say that you should borrow or steal the thoughts of others. Only that you should read others so that you can make sure that you are not reinventing the wheel, and that you should use the thoughts of others as a springboard for you own. And, of course, it might always be that the thoughts of others turn out to be true. We should not forget that.

Isaac Newton, the great genius said, "If I have seen further than others, t is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants". Standing on the shoulders of giants does not mean either that you are borrowing their thoughts, or stealing them. But you are using them.

fast

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 10:36 am
@boagie,
[QUOTE=boagie;2070]Hi everyone!

Heraclitus once said,"You can never step into the same river twice." He was wrong.What was his error,or my delusion.What might the river have to say about this? If you're thinking within the box,think about how you got there.[/QUOTE]

People say the darndest things, and yes, he most certainly was wrong. His error, however, was not in his recognition that the river is always changing and thus never the same in everyway. Also, his conclusion (and I suspect not merely a statement) makes perfect sense given the error that he does make, so we should not necessarily fault him for the conclusion but rather seek to understand the error that led him to his mistake.

He has done what a lot of philosophers try to do. They look at something and try to find what they think is some underlying profound philosophical truth that they think they have discovered by thinking intensely. Unfortunately, this can often lead to warped conclusions that even they themselves would not believe when not philosophizing. Philosophize alone at your own peril.

It is an issue of identity, and it wouldn't be hard to imagine Heraclitus saying to himself in a somber tone: "What is a river?; What IS a river." In other words, it's quite possible that he aggressively sought to understand what it means to say of something that we call a river. People sometimes try to do the impossible. They try to define things. But, it's a mistake to think such a thing can be done. Words have meaning (hence, words denote meaning)-not objects, so in his attempt to define what a river is (something that can't be done), he neglects the meaning of the word "river." That's a fatal flaw that can very easily lead people to draw some rather bizarre conclusions.

Subjectivity9

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 10:50 am
@boagie,
Ken,

You also said that, I couldn’t just make things up. I believe that you were also saying in your own inimical way that, I had no background on which to found my personal findings. Am I mistaken in this?

I would like to point out that to investigate directly isn’t simply to reinvent the wheel, but rather to see if the wheel previously invented is worth buying in to.

One shouldn’t swallow other people’s words/ideas whole, esp. in a subject that contains so much disagreement.

As I get older, I even find myself re-examining my our words/thoughts to see if they still hold true, given what I have gained since I first concluded.

Not only that, but there is a depth of understanding that continues to grow, hopefully, throughout our lifetime. So it is not only what you know, but how deeply you understand it.

No idea can become foundational, or even actually belong to you, if you do not investigate it personally and thoroughly. It will be, "One man opinion of moonlight." Further, it will be a house of cards if you merely accumulate ideas of others, even if you appear to build an edifice with them.
You will have a bunch of ideas, but no wisdom.

S9

longknowledge

Mon 2 Nov, 2009 11:43 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101252 wrote:
I did not say that you should borrow or steal the thoughts of others. Only that you should read others so that you can make sure that you are not reinventing the wheel, and that you should use the thoughts of others as a springboard for you own. And, of course, it might always be that the thoughts of others turn out to be true. We should not forget that.

Isaac Newton, the great genius said, "If I have seen further than others, t is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants". Standing on the shoulders of giants does not mean either that you are borrowing their thoughts, or stealing them. But you are using them.

The giant I stand on is Jose Ortega y Gasset.

However, the giants aren't doing too well these days!

kennethamy

Tue 3 Nov, 2009 03:10 am
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;101395 wrote:
The giant I stand on is Jose Ortega y Gasset.

However, the giants aren't doing too well these days!

Well, he may not be so tall as you believe he is.

longknowledge

Tue 3 Nov, 2009 08:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101405 wrote:
Well, he may not be so tall as you believe he is.

Have you read any of his works?

kennethamy

Tue 3 Nov, 2009 08:26 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;101661 wrote:
Have you read any of his works?

Long time ago. "Revolt of the Masses". Not my type.

longknowledge

Tue 3 Nov, 2009 08:45 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;101663 wrote:
Long time ago. "Revolt of the Masses". Not my type.

What or who is your type?

Pathfinder

Sun 29 Nov, 2009 11:46 am
@boagie,
I invite anyone interested to peruse my take on the human self at this thread

http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/metaphysics/6793-logical-evaluation-human-self.html#post106882

kennethamy

Sun 29 Nov, 2009 03:58 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;101666 wrote:
What or who is your type?

Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, Wittgenstein.

Pathfinder

Mon 30 Nov, 2009 09:00 pm
@boagie,
Apparently the way I invited people to visit my post above in the new thread was taken as spam. My apologies for not being more clear as to my intention.

The new thread I had started deals directly with self identity which is a continuation of many of the posts I have already made in these threads. And where this thread has been ongoing for some time now I thought it would be helpful to the discussion to carry it over into another thread.

We have done this many times before when threads become long and drawn out. I have taken part in at least these threads on this topic and knew that if I had posted that lengthy evaluation in each of them as a reply that would also be considered spamming. So I thought the best way to continue would be to open a new thread and try to direct anyone interested in continuing the discussion toward it.

longknowledge

Mon 30 Nov, 2009 10:57 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;106918 wrote:
Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, Wittgenstein.

Also read them a long time ago. Not my type. You should read Ortega's Some Lessons in Metaphysics some time. It may change your mind about Ortega. It's like sitting in one of his classes and listening to a master philosopher at work.