Sunday, October 11, 2009

Who Am I?

Supposedly there are three answers. You are either your thoughts, your body, or a soul. These are more formally known as psychological criterion, body criterion, or single soul hypothesis. The issue arises in one occurrence. The Ship of Theseus is a wooden boat each day gets a plank replaced, but after all its planks are replaced is it still the same ship? Another example arises in teleportation. Your body is disintegrated inside a teleporter after its information is saved and sent and then the information is almost instantly sent to somewhere else to rebuild you exactly as you were. Yet the question is did you die, is a twin created, will it remember your/its past, and will that be you?

I don't get why they arise as such opposite answers. I feel confident to say I am body, its thoughts, and a soul somehow attached. The soul is unique idea because it lives through death. And according to the bodily criterion even if there was a soul that wouldn't be me. And I think of my psychological states as part of my body. But the atoms of my body don't know about me or the thoughts I have. Yet if I rebuilt my exact brain and memory into a new body "I" would have two bodies according to psychological criterion. They aren't so different. And I can only say I am all three if I hope and believe my soul is something physical. I hope and believe my soul is physical but not made of matter but of energy. Since matter can take the form of life then I don't see why energy can't, since matter is technically a form of energy as said by Einstein. And I hope and believe this unique undiscovered energy exists with the body and remains after it dies and goes on to fulfill other roles in the universe, possibly eventually to work its way to other become new bodies for new things. Perhaps human bodies are merely USB ports for these souls.

Who Am I? I am my body, thoughts, and soul all at once!

Physical vs Mystical

One thing that I kept noticing in class was that there were always usually two answer to the deeper issues. There is the view describing what is in question in terms of the natural world according to its rules and physical properties. Particles build atoms, atoms build molecules, molecules build protein, protein builds dna, dna builds cells, cells build tissue, tissues build organs, organs build organisms, organism build families, families build communities, communities build cities, cities build states, states build nations, nations build empires, and empires spread through the planet, planets spread through the star systems, star systems spread through the galaxies, the galaxies spread through the universe. All the answers we need are here and obvious, measurable and provable, the evidence is everywhere and able to explain anything.

Then the there is the mystic view. God looks over us. We can't explain everything. We want to appreciate. The afterlife and eternity await after this world. What we don't know will always overpower what we don't know. Thing's we can't see roam this world. We could be anything in reality. We can't prove it or disprove it. The full extent of the universe is up for imagination. We are souls, we are animals, we are tricked by aliens. Someone was looking out for you when you had that good luck. Kharma can punish you. Somethings should be left to left to mystery. It's all a dream. Anything can happen.

It surprises me how these two views are often put against each other. When really they are describing the same thing, just as different pieces of the same coin. Some of things that happen scientifically are more wondrous than the greatest of legends. Statistically it's actually possible for anything to happen. Science revolutionizes what we believe as we make discoveries that change everything. We are into how to make cells keep us from aging, how to build energy force fields, how travel through space fast, how to make clones, how to makes pills that will do the same thing as exercise. The physical things and discoveries we aim for a thousand years ago would have been sought ridiculous and things of impossible magic. That just prove the mystery that exists what we can find out and do with the natural world. The concepts of fate and judgment from mystics are even sound possibilities for physicalists. This argument is that because all things are bound by natural rules and programmed by their surrounding which determines the path of their existence since before they existed. Everything happens for a reason. This an order to the universe. It may God it may it may not.

The things that lay beyond and in Earth are the most mysterious. The physical universe is mysterious. In order to find all the answers I think it will take the mindset of both tracks of thought, mystic and physicalist. I think that's why philosophy exists maybe to find some medium between them, and bring peace to what we know about the universe.

How do you know?

The Classical Skeptical Argument is something that Descartes takes as a threat. It goes like this: If I know p, and p logically entails q, then I know q. But if I don't know p then I don't know q. This basically says that if you don't know one thing then everything attached to it you also don't know, which nevertheless seems obvious. What makes it such a striking argument is the first part of the second sentence, "but if I don't know p". If reality becomes something that we all agree on, but still each see it from our perspective, then it is still subjective and not objective. It is not certain. The fact remains that we cannot look at the world outside our own minds, senses, and perceptions, and that makes we can't find out if what we experience and live isn't a dream, an illusion, or a deception. We could be a brain in a vat. We could be a ghost. We could be nothing. We could be part of one nonphysical conglomeration thoughts that all split up and unite as in our perception people live and die. We could have past life. We could be reincarnates. We could be programs in a machine.

There are infinite things to speculate on. Descartes tries to oppose it, he says if nothing there exists a thinking form of us which see the reality we call existence. I don't think this is adequate because supposed our thoughts just happen in the brain, yet if the brain doesn't exist then neither do the thoughts and the cogito fails. Yet there is knowledge at least in what we think we perceive. Natural rules, obvious sensual perceptions, and social conformism. These are what I call knowledge because we have to abide by them in order to be independent, capable, and free as we experience what our senses tell us is existence. There will always be doubt but I think we should overlook it so we can figure out this familiar but questionable world.