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Thread: Request to proof read a speech

  1. #16
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    Agree with that assessment in general. In that explanation, I don't quite get how qualia show that there is a separate self, when all of those criteria are equally true even if there is no separate self. I'm definitely in the "Dennett" camp in terms of being fairly convinced that there is no separate self, just the chemical-electrical processes of our brain and broader body, but I've often pondered the idea that I have absolutely no way of telling whether what I perceive red to be is the same colour as everyone else perceives it to be.
    Qualia supports the idea of a separate self because it is an idea of a 'raw' mental feel. A feel that is completely aphysical in every way and so cannot be reduced to any sort of calculation of the brain. It is not so much whether you percieve red to be the same as others but whether you could explain it to someone who has never experienced colour. If you share a brain who make similar calculations, you should be able to do this, but of course, it is very difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    I thought the Aristotle explanation could use a little clarification as well, but that may well be what the dude said and I'm might be a bad philosophy student so if you think that's right, I'm not going to tell you you're wrong.
    I have stated it as simple but made a meal of explaining it - thanks for bringing that up, I'll look to read up more on Aristotle's essay on the matter and look to simplify it further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lillian Thomson View Post
    What you appear to be saying is "When you stand before the mirror of your soul you stand naked and alone.......on the other hand a bit of what you fancy does you good."
    Could do with a bit more originality.
    I'm not too sure what you're getting at here. I am arguing in favour of physicalist monism, saying that the brain and body is all there is, in terms of thought processes. Although such a conclusion may seem simple, the ramifications in terms of a person being composed of several parts (interests, loves, hates, etc...) and also the idea of changing self (bundle theory) should be emphasised a bit more but I think it is something that people do not tend to appreciate, once they dismiss the idea of no soul.
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  2. #17
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    You should first ask whether philosophy is still a relevant subject, after the invention of the modern scientific method.


    Philosophy of Mind – The Self

    Today, I will tell you things which, hopefully, will appear to be very obvious. It would appear to be a probing philosophical question to ask if the concept of self that each of you have is any different from the body in which you inhabit. Is this inner voice that chats to you, day in day out, prescribing each and every action a non physical force which defines who you are, or is it simply your brain carrying out a number of simple functions in tandem with each other.
    Can I ask who this speech is being delivered to? Students in an undergrad course (which course)? Your opening works for fellow students in a course, but if you're speaking to philosophers, it may not work (in which case you may want to mention food, which starving and unemployed as they will undoubtedly be, will get their interest).

    We must first define the idea of self in order to move forward in an organised manner. The self is a concept which denotes the internal voice that helps explain our actions and contains the forefront of our thoughts as well as the sense of our internal identity; the thought process and the sense of being that consistently reminds you that you, rather than a constantly changing mental component, perpetually exist.
    In a speech, you should break ideas down into very small sentences, so it is easier to process. I said this outloud to myself, and it's a bit verbose. Maybe you can reword it, make it into a couple more sentences, or when you deliver it, make sure to pause often.

    Philosophy of mind originates and attempts to tackle the mind-body Problem. The mind-body problem relates to the explanation of the connection and/or relationship that relates to the mind (mental processes and thoughts) and the body (physical processes and actions). It is difficult for many people to accept that their thoughts and feelings are a result of the brain. These people would think that their consciousness is a being, in its own right, separate but yet, working in tandem with the brain. These people may agree with the idea of a ‘soul’ but others may scoff at this idea as being over religious; although heaven forbid that someone accuse me of being religious.
    'Over' religious? As opposed to normal religious?

    Most people would agree that Mary still has something to gain from seeing the colour red and so this supports the idea of ‘qualia’, in this case, the feeling of having seen the colour red.
    Does qualia mean the feeling itself when you see the color red, or is it something intrinsic in the color itself? Because if it is the feeling, then it would obviously be different from person to person, and irrelevant to the definition itself. I can psychologically damage a child so he hates the color red (relatively easy to do) while making another toddler love it. What does that imply - if anything - about the color red? Basically, since this sounds like a two sided exploration of the topic, you should mention why "some" people would dispute the idea that Mary would necessarily gain something objectively important by 'seeing' the color red.
    Many eastern philosophers believe that the human being as an individual is an illusion in terms of separateness from other aspects of creation. Eastern thinking, which has often been associated with meditative schools of thought, posited that the mind believes that it is individual from the world (or a mere inhabitant) but is mistaken in such a thought. The explanation for this illusion of the mind is that the sense of active participation (doing stuff) is a mechanism for ensuring the continuation of one’s life.
    Eastern philosophy is a pretty vague term. There is just as much debate between Eastern philosophers as there is in the west You should name specific individuals, movements, or belief systems.

    There is some credence in this theory, in that if you stopped thinking, you would think that you have ceased to exist. As the Indian philosopher, Rene Descartes put it, “I think therefore I am” – Eastern philosophers concluded from such a notion (several centuries earlier) that the mind and notion of individual self exists to prevent you from not existing, a most troubling thought. Evolution, heralded to the public domain by the great north Indian naturalist, Charles Darwin has enforced this idea through showing how humans (as with all animals) have an intrinsic need to stay alive in order to propagate the species.
    I know you're doing this purposefully, but I don't get it.

    I like the conclusion. Overall, I like the speech. It's very short, but it's a good one. Good luck with it.
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  3. #18
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Also, if you are trying to make a specific point rather than a lecture on the various hypothesis, you need more evidence and more detail on that. I couldn't tell if you picked a side or not.

  4. #19
    Eternal Optimist / Cricket Web Staff Member GIMH's Avatar
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    When I saw SS had the last post in the thread, I made a little bet with myself as to whether the first line of his post would somehow mention how science is a better subject, or something similar. I won.
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  5. #20
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    I saw that the last reply was from GIMH and then read SS's long reply thinking it was from GIMH, I was most confused.

    I've just finished entertaining guests at a family bbq (as well as toothpicking corn out of my braces), so I am quite tired so won't reply point by point to your long post until tomorrow. However, I thank you now for your help.

  6. #21
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    Qualia supports the idea of a separate self because it is an idea of a 'raw' mental feel. A feel that is completely aphysical in every way and so cannot be reduced to any sort of calculation of the brain. It is not so much whether you percieve red to be the same as others but whether you could explain it to someone who has never experienced colour. If you share a brain who make similar calculations, you should be able to do this, but of course, it is very difficult.
    hmmm, that's an interesting idea, but I would have said that whatever indescribable, non-verifiable perception you are talking about represents rather a function of an individuals physiology (you see red as however you see it because of the mechanics of your eyes and brain), the sum of your memories to inform the interpretation of your sensory input, and finally the limitations of human language/comprehension. The fact that most linguistic symbols/concepts require some point of reference for correct interpretation doesn't necessarily go us having a soul.

    The accretion of memories and of biochemical predispositions in the brain could I suppose be summarized as the 'self' as they are for all intents what makes an individual, but again I'd say they come from the brain as part of the body.

    It's an interesting philosophical point. Which is the point I guess.
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  7. #22
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    When I saw SS had the last post in the thread, I made a little bet with myself as to whether the first line of his post would somehow mention how science is a better subject, or something similar. I won.
    Well yea...odds of me doing that in any thread are about 85%, and in a thread which makes it easy like this, it's pretty close to 100%.

  8. #23
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    You should first ask whether philosophy is still a relevant subject, after the invention of the modern scientific method.
    I hate to admit ignorance, but I'm not sure I could answer such a question coherently, atm. Will work on an answer though because it might come up in the Q and A.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Can I ask who this speech is being delivered to? Students in an undergrad course (which course)? Your opening works for fellow students in a course, but if you're speaking to philosophers, it may not work (in which case you may want to mention food, which starving and unemployed as they will undoubtedly be, will get their interest).
    It is for fellow studnets at a school, a school in which people study all different subjects.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    In a speech, you should break ideas down into very small sentences, so it is easier to process. I said this outloud to myself, and it's a bit verbose. Maybe you can reword it, make it into a couple more sentences, or when you deliver it, make sure to pause often.
    Thanks. Too long sentences has become a problem in the past, will work on it here.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    'Over' religious? As opposed to normal religious?
    Removed. The 'no one can accuse me of being religious' is an in-joke because I wear a turban but anyone who knows me knows that I am an atheist.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Does qualia mean the feeling itself when you see the color red, or is it something intrinsic in the color itself? Because if it is the feeling, then it would obviously be different from person to person, and irrelevant to the definition itself. I can psychologically damage a child so he hates the color red (relatively easy to do) while making another toddler love it. What does that imply - if anything - about the color red? Basically, since this sounds like a two sided exploration of the topic, you should mention why "some" people would dispute the idea that Mary would necessarily gain something objectively important by 'seeing' the color red.
    It is tremendously difficult for even the most intelligent to define. However, I believe it is the feeling that you get when you see the colour to know that it is the colour. I will explain the analogy more though, in future drafts.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Eastern philosophy is a pretty vague term. There is just as much debate between Eastern philosophers as there is in the west You should name specific individuals, movements, or belief systems.
    I will try to get more specifics here. I only knew about such thought in a chat with my uncle, who is knowledgable on the topic, most of my studying has been western philosophy, hence my relative ignorance on the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    I know you're doing this purposefully, but I don't get it.
    'Goodness Gracious Me' (which is a TV show), watch it!

    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    I like the conclusion. Overall, I like the speech. It's very short, but it's a good one. Good luck with it.
    Very short? The final draft is supposed to last 10 minutes and I thought that this first draft would be around 5-7 minutes long, atm.

    Thanks for the complements, it is good to have the approval of a serious academic like yourself.

    EDIT: Knew you'd like the bit in the conclusion about the hoop. Well, either like it or discard it as 'wrong' physics.
    Last edited by Manee; 01-09-2009 at 03:37 AM.

  9. #24
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    hmmm, that's an interesting idea, but I would have said that whatever indescribable, non-verifiable perception you are talking about represents rather a function of an individuals physiology (you see red as however you see it because of the mechanics of your eyes and brain), the sum of your memories to inform the interpretation of your sensory input, and finally the limitations of human language/comprehension. The fact that most linguistic symbols/concepts require some point of reference for correct interpretation doesn't necessarily go us having a soul.
    The idea of it as a linguistic limitation is an interesting one but I don't think you could point to a specific limitation. It is not like a door being both open and closed, this is something that is plain impossible to convey. If it were a simple function of the eye and the brain, wouldn't noting of wavelengths or similar facets of the colour be able to conjour an image? (I am not arguing in favour of qualia, but just showing you where they are coming from). I don't like the term 'soul' as the strict conclusion. Soul is a religious term, I prefer 'mind' or "and so it posits dualism".

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    The accretion of memories and of biochemical predispositions in the brain could I suppose be summarized as the 'self' as they are for all intents what makes an individual, but again I'd say they come from the brain as part of the body.

    It's an interesting philosophical point. Which is the point I guess.
    It is a good point. I never considered Qualia to be anything but in favour of Cartesian Dualism. However, you have opened my eyes to the alternative point of view held by Dennett in which he uses the idea of Qualia against itself, so to speak.

  10. #25
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    The idea of it as a linguistic limitation is an interesting one but I don't think you could point to a specific limitation. It is not like a door being both open and closed, this is something that is plain impossible to convey. If it were a simple function of the eye and the brain, wouldn't noting of wavelengths or similar facets of the colour be able to conjour an image?
    Because most people don't grasp wavelengths on that level. If you were to describe a desk to me in sufficient detail, I am sure I can have a mental picture of it which would be pretty close to what you described.

  11. #26
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    It is tremendously difficult for even the most intelligent to define. However, I believe it is the feeling that you get when you see the colour to know that it is the colour
    I don't quite understand this. So it is the feeling that defines the term? If I've never seen a particular species of snake before, my feeling might be fear, while a local friend who knows about it would be quite neutral if he knows the snake is completely harmless. Does that change the
    'definition' of the snake? Is my feeling toward it relevant to its description? Meaning, would the description be incomplete if I described the snake without my feeling, or my friend's feeling?

  12. #27
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Or does the definition of the snake change if no-one at all is there to see it? :zen:

  13. #28
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Here is my second draft.

    Philosophy of Mind – The Self

    Introduction

    Hello. Today, I am going to discount Descartes’ and Hume’s theory of self, note the fallacy involved in continuity of self and then come to a natural conclusion. From merely looking at you, I know what you are all thinking. You think “ah, but Manraj, isn’t it a bit bold to look to discount Cartesian Dualism and yet, say that identity exists whilst the self is non continual?”

    And on that note, allow me to begin…

    It would appear to be a probing philosophical question to ask if the concept of self that each of you have is any different from the body in which you inhabit. Is this inner voice that chats to you, day in day out, prescribing each and every action a non physical force which defines who you are, or is it simply your brain carrying out a number of simple functions in tandem with each other.

    We must first define the idea of self in order to move forward in an organised manner. The self is a concept which denotes the internal voice that helps explain our actions and contains the forefront of our thoughts as well as the sense of our internal identity; the thought process and the sense of being that consistently reminds you that you, rather than a constantly changing mental component, perpetually exist. While exploring, philosophy regarding the self, I hope to note down enough philosophical insight from people only marginally less intelligent than me, which can forms my personal viewpoint of the self. Although certain points of view from different philosophers may seem to contradict or may be intended to contradict, I feel they can work together. Any form of contradiction can be raised in the question-and-answer session.

    Mind Body Problem

    Philosophy of mind originates and attempts to tackle the mind-body problem. The mind-body problem relates to the explanation of the connection and/or relationship that relates to the mind (mental processes and thoughts) and the body (physical processes and actions). It is difficult for many people to accept that their thoughts and feelings are a result of the brain. These people would think that their consciousness is a being, in its own right, separate but yet, working in tandem with the brain. These people may agree with the idea of a ‘soul’ but others may scoff at this idea as being religious; although heaven forbid that someone accuse me of being religious.

    Cartesian Dualism

    As you all know, I could not begin to do a talk about philosophy of mind without mentioning Descartes. Descartes felt that there were very few things of which he could be certain but that "as a general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true."

    Descartes attempted to discount everything that he could from existing. This is the rejection of any ideas as certain, if they can be doubted. He imagined that there was no Earth, no sky, no body; he could succeed in these and therefore these are not certain. However, he could not doubt his own existence; after all, he is the one doing the doubting. It is impossible, by logic, to doubt that thought exists. Therefore, he is certain that thought exists and that he exists to think – therefore “I think therefore I am”, Descartes’ catchphrase.

    As mentioned earlier, Descartes could doubt that he had a body; he could be dreaming, or it could be an illusion formed by an evil demon. It is from here, that he made the distinction between the mind and the body. The body is a material substance which could be an illusion or a dream whereas the mind was res cogitans (“thinking thing”) - an immaterial substance. The mind was what he established as himself.

    He had a clear idea of himself as a thinking, non extended thing and his body as a non thinking, extended thing. The fact that he can clearly concieve the mind as different from the brain, Descartes argued that God could create it. Therefore, he concluded that the mind and the body could be viewed as separate – therefore Cartesian Dualism, dual meaning the two – mind and body.

    Descartes viewed the brain as responsible for our mechanical functions, those that could be theoretically emulated by a machine. However, Descartes noted that our reason/rationality and our deeper thoughts compose our soul or mind.

    What does this mean?

    Quite simply put, we cannot be sure that we are here. As Master Chaung put it, are we the Emperor dreaming we are the butterfly, or the butterfly dreaming we are an Emperor – we just don’t know. Now, I’m not suggesting that you all attempt to form cocoons and then several days later, attempt to fly away, but I am suggesting that Descartes noted the doubt that perseveres throughout every aspect of life other than the fact that we are thinking.

    The consequences of a belief in Cartesian Dualism are worryingly paranormal. The doubting of the body as any more than a vessel or an illusion would entertain fans of “The Matrix”. If you cannot be certain that you have a body, so it follows that you cannot be certain of the physical world around you. If everything physical is to be doubted, we could all be living in a game. Indeed, if we are in a game and our thoughts are powered by battery, make no mistake that the thoughts are real, but when the battery runs out and our thoughts cease - going by the infamous saying, as would our existence.

    A secondary consequence lies in religion. The mind, an immaterial substance would naturally be immortal, if something is immaterial than it could exist for ever, only temporarily residing in a mortal body. This is not dissimilar to the immortal soul idea suggested by the Abrahamic Religions, among others. The idea of an immortal soul would support notions of the afterlife, heaven and hell, etc…

    Criticisms of Descartes

    Cartesian Dualism arises because Descartes simply could not explain many mental phenomena in terms of the brain. Due to the limited amount of neuroscience in Descartes’ day, he was forced to sometimes ‘make up stuff’ to fill the gaps such as the Pineal Gland, a tear shaped gland in the brain which connected the mind and body – he’d never seen it nor seen evidence of it, he just, made it up – such is the danger with clinging to Cartesian Dualism and similar theories in order to support beliefs of the afterlife.

    As interesting as the consequences of Descartes are, they are formed of the false logic that the mind and the body are opposites or totally different in some kind. Ryle in The Concept of Mind used the phrase “Ghost in the Machine” to truly mock Descartes Dualism – in essence, Descartes was suggesting a ghostly occupant (the soul) residing in the mechanical work of the body. Descartes attributes certain things to the mind and others to the body, why can it not be both. The example used is one of a University – a student on tour to a University, has seen the sports arena, the library, the science labs may ask “but where is the University?” The student is not realising that library and University belong to the same category, just as the mind and body relate to the same category. Moreover, just as the labs, arena and library compose the University; the skin, blood and organs (most crucially but not entirely, the brain) make up the self.

    Qualia

    A main modern argument in favour of dualism is the idea of ‘qualia’. Qualia are raw mental feels; raw in that they cannot be explained as a product of the brain. This will aim to tackle the above criticism as qualia are a type of thought which are not at all physical.

    Daniel Dennett identified four properties commonly attributed to qualia which, simply put, note that they cannot be communicated, they do not change depending on a situation, they cannot be compared from person to person and they are connected to one’s consciousness.

    Experience of the colour red, as an example of qualia, works through the criteria, systematically. It would be impossible to communicate the colour red to someone who has never experienced colour. Although analogies involving love or heat would be possible, they would serve to create a most incomplete definition. Similarly, a scientific definition of 700mm wavelength would merely describe the property of red and not the critically important mental experience of such a colour. Mary’s Room is a commonly used example to portray such an idea. Mary knows everything there is to know about the colour red without seeing it, having been brought up and born in an entirely black and white environment. Most people would agree that Mary still has something to gain from seeing the colour red and so this supports the idea of ‘qualia’, in this case, the feeling of having seen the colour red. If you believe that the mind and body are separate, as a dualist would, then there quite simply is a definite notion of self. The self, for you is the mind that manifests as the inner voice inside your head; that creates a specific, indefinable quality when you see a colour; that separates your mental capacity and consciousness from the brain that is given unfair credit for such.

    I’d disagree with the idea of Qualia. Although it is difficult to discount such a complex idea, it is essential to note Dennett’s criticism of the idea, since he formed the above definition, known as alternative neurosurgery. After an operation, you awake to find that your qualia have been inverted. Grass seems red; the sky seems a glowing orange colour, and so on. Since qualia are ‘raw’ mental feels which are immediately recognisable, you’d be sure that they have indeed been inverted…wouldn’t you? How about your memories have been inverted; how would you know that your brain surgery has tampered with your memories and that the grass had always been red and that the sky has always been glowing orange.

    Consequences

    In the modern age, we now know that the brain is far more powerful than previously thought. Moreover, philosophically, there are numerous explanations for phenomena involving the self that means that Dualism is not necessary.

    So, how about the idea that there is no identity whatsoever…

    Eastern Philosophy

    Many eastern schools of philosophical thought believe that the human being as an individual is an illusion in terms of separateness from other aspects of creation. Eastern thinking, which has often been associated with meditative schools of thought, posited that the mind believes that it is individual from the world (or a mere inhabitant) but is mistaken in such a thought. The explanation for this illusion of the mind is that the sense of active participation (doing stuff) is a mechanism for ensuring the continuation of one’s life. There is some credence in this theory, in that if you stopped thinking, you would think that you have ceased to exist. As Rene Descartes put it, “I think therefore I am” – Eastern philosophers concluded from such a notion (several centuries earlier) that the mind and notion of individual self exists to prevent you from not existing, a most troubling thought. Interestingly though, to attain oneness with creation and eliminate the illusion of self in Buddhism is the ultimate goal, known as nirvana.

    Bundle Theory

    David Hume made a substantial leap in philosophy of mind in discounting the idea of identity, altogether.. Hume was an empiricist; he thinks that all knowledge can be derived from the five senses. He notes that because him cannot see, hear, smell, taste or heaven forbid, touch himself, as a unique identity, then the concept of him does not exist. Hume noted that objects do not exist in, and of, themselves, they are merely a bundle of their properties. Similarly, identities are only bundles of experiences. As a person, what makes you, you, is simply the fact that you have lived the life that you have and it is merely a coping mechanism to assume that it is anything more than that. The driver (the mind) doesn’t exist to drive the car (the body) but rather the driver exists to ensure the driver doesn’t crash.

    However, just as with Cartesian Dualism, I don’t believe that there is no identity either; simply because you cannot experience identity through the senses, does not mean that you must deny the idea altogether. The fact that there are bundle of experiences doesn’t actually advance philosophical thought – we all know that we have a bundle of experiences stored as memories and so one may say that Hume has dodged the issue by stating the obvious.

    Moreover, what makes the bundle of experiences a bundle rather than a collection of separate events; what collects them together?

    Aristotle

    Aristotle posited a highly convincing definition of self and one which I think may convince many of you. A bit of background is necessary in order to help explain this viewpoint. Aristotle believes that everything consists of four ‘causes’ which cause any object to exist, as it currently does. These are the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient cause and crucially, the final cause, which is the purpose for something existing; for a pen, it would be the process of writing. You cannot separate the writing from the pen, Aristotle argued, nor can you separate the soul from the human (until you run out of ink). The soul is not as much a ghostly occupant as an inseparable aspect of the person. The soul is a person’s highly complex essence just as the essence of a pen is to write. Aristotle argued this through the fact that there is no aspect of human life that impacts the soul but not the body; even emotions are defined by their bodily impact; anger without facial tension, raised blood pressure, clenching of the fists or a combination of such (or similar bodily functions) does not exist, for example.

    “Hence a physicist would define an affection of soul differently from a dialectician; the latter would define e.g. anger as the appetite for returning pain for pain, or something like that, while the former would define it as a boiling of the blood or warm substance surround the heart. The latter assigns the material conditions, the former the form or formulable essence; for what he states is the formulable essence of the fact, though for its actual existence there must be embodiment of it in a material such as is described by the other.”

    Daniel Dennett

    Daniel Dennett believes that the self is merely a narrative character, a ‘convenient fiction’ to make things make sense; “the story you tell about who you really are”. This is an attractive viewpoint for people who wish to deny the existence of a non physical aspect of the human being. The inner consciousness that is regarded as the self works similarly to the narrative and serves little more than to narrate one’s actions, thought processes and to, as mentioned above, continue one’s existence. Dennett compares it to the ‘centre of gravity’ in a hoop; the centre of gravity in a hoop is, of course, thin air, an arbitrary point and yet necessary, lest the hoop float away.

    Thank you for listening, I think, therefore I am Manraj Bahra, but to be more accurate, I am both, my biology and my inner consciousness, which is an expression of nature and nurture, everything which I have experienced or which is a physical part of me…indeed, I am who I want to be, who I tell myself I am…

    If you want to be a good person, tell yourself that you are a good person and act in such a manner, then I hope you will be so kind to complete the most complex and physically demanding part of my talk. You can start when you understand what I am getting at…

    What I want you to do is relax the muscles in your hand and then rapidly bang the front of them together. Not just ordinarily hard, but so hard that the vibrations reverberate throughout the air. 15 to 20 seconds will do…

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Manee; 08-09-2009 at 01:56 PM.

  14. #29
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    or is it simply your brain carrying out a number of simple functions in tandem with each other.
    Don't say simple and simply in the same sentence, and very few things in the brain are simple, unfortunately.

    The self is a concept which denotes the internal voice that helps explain our actions and contains the forefront of our thoughts as well as the sense of our internal identity; the thought process and the sense of being that consistently reminds you that you, rather than a constantly changing mental component, perpetually exist.
    Sentence too big for a speech....Break it up into three sentences instead of using a semi colon. It won't make a big difference if you pause appropriately but it helps in speech to use short, powerful statements.

    Philosophy of mind originates and attempts to tackle the mind-body problem. The mind-body problem relates to the explanation of the connection and/or relationship that relates to the mind (mental processes and thoughts) and the body (physical processes and actions). It is difficult for many people to accept that their thoughts and feelings are a result of the brain. These people would think that their consciousness is a being, in its own right, separate but yet, working in tandem with the brain. These people may agree with the idea of a ‘soul’ but others may scoff at this idea as being religious; although heaven forbid that someone accuse me of being religious.
    Are you saying you agree with that consciousness is a being separate from your brain? If you do, then you should say it plainly, otherwise the joke does not make sense.

    Cartesian Dualism arises because Descartes simply could not explain many mental phenomena in terms of the brain. Due to the limited amount of neuroscience in Descartes’ day, he was forced to sometimes ‘make up stuff’ to fill the gaps such as the Pineal Gland, a tear shaped gland in the brain which connected the mind and body – he’d never seen it nor seen evidence of it, he just, made it up – such is the danger with clinging to Cartesian Dualism and similar theories in order to support beliefs of the afterlife.
    Well, the pineal gland does exist - it just doesn't do what he thought it did (you should clarify that). He also thought that the body worked by a system of hydraulics, so the fluid in the brain (what we now know to be cerebrospinal fluid) would be pushed out into the muscles through the nerves, which would cause you to move your arm for example. I'm not sure that is relevant, but just to further show how he was simply putting out conjectures.




    However, just as with Cartesian Dualism, I don’t believe that there is no identity either; simply because you cannot experience identity through the senses, does not mean that you must deny the idea altogether. The fact that there are bundle of experiences doesn’t actually advance philosophical thought – we all know that we have a bundle of experiences stored as memories and so one may say that Hume has dodged the issue by stating the obvious.

    Moreover, what makes the bundle of experiences a bundle rather than a collection of separate events; what collects them together?
    Perhaps the idea does not deserve to be advanced. The fact that they are housed in, and interpreted by a single entity( your brain)? There are certainly counterarguments, but don't dismiss it too easily.

    As you mention later:
    self is merely a narrative character, a ‘convenient fiction’ to make things make sense; “the story you tell about who you really are”.

    Good speech overall. I feel you've presented the topic in sufficient detail in the time you have available, and covered all the sides. I enjoyed it.

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