Monday, July 30, 2007

Personal identity (14)

Why shouldn’t we speak of continuity in case an entity has been split? Does continuity stops when a thing splits? Suppose a country is split into two separate countries (like the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Looking from the present to the past there is continuity back till the time that the original country was founded or came into being. So, looking backwards there is a continuity from the Czech Republic in 2007 back to the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. But can we say that there is a continuity from Czechoslovakia to the Czech Republic? If we say no, how about Spain, if the Bask country would separate and would become an independent country? Then we should still say that there is a continuity of Spain from the times far back in history before the date of independence of the Bask state. If we say yes, how about my body and my toe? Is it important that my toe is only a little part of my body that we say that there is a physical continuity of my body from my birth on (at least)? But how big (in percentage of the combined mass of body and toe) must my toe be that we deny that there is a physical continuity of my body?
Etc. It looks like the problem of the
ship of Theseus.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Personal identity (13)

How can it be that we have pain in a toe that we do not have any longer? I mean phantom pain. Does that show that the psychological continuity criterion of meaning is correct and that it is not true that psychological identity has both psychological aspects and physical aspects (see my "Can a person break a world record?")? For despite the discontinuity of my body (or a part of it), my psyche continues as before. My body has split but my psyche shows a historical continuity.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

“Live as if each day can be the last day of your life”

Live as if each day can be the last day of your life, Nietzsche says. Well, I like running a lot, in that way that I like to train each day and that I do train each day. I like especially to train as hard as possible. Therefore, if today would be the last day of my life, I would train as hard as possible. However, my experience says that it is quite possible that after today there will be another day. From experience I also know that if I train really as hard as possible today, I cannot train tomorrow. When I was young, I could train a bit then at least, but now I am older I cannot do it any longer. If I would train as hard as I could, I could not do one step tomorrow. But okay, Nietzsche was a wise man and on the last day of your life the best you can do is follow the advice of a wise man. Therefore, this day, now that I have read his advice, I train as hard as possible.
Now it is tomorrow, because I survived yesterday. Today I want to live again as if it would be the last day of my life. On the last day of my life, I want to train as hard as possible. But I cannot train at all! How stupid Nietzsche’s advice is in the light of my experiences.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Personal identity (12)

Pain in a toe might be like a red traffic light. The traffic light does not know that it is red, but we give a meaning to its being red. It is a state that has a meaning for our brain but not for the traffic light. Does that mean that we are the brain? If so, how about the toe? If it does not belong to us, to whom does it belong then? If it does belong to us, why does it not know then that it has pain? Does the toe belong to somebody?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The actuality of Michel de Montaigne

Si me semble-il, à le dire franchement, qu’il y a grand amour de soy et presomption, d’estimer ses opinions jusque-là que, pour les establir, il faille renverser une paix publique, et introduire tant de maux inevitables et une si horrible corruption de meurs que les guerres civiles apportent, et les mutations d'estat, en chose de tel pois; et les introduire en son pays propre.

Michel de Montaigne, dans De la Coustume et de ne Changer Aisément une Loy Receue

Monday, July 02, 2007

Violent video games

The idea: to shoot a man and it is just a game. No wonder that a society that tolerates this is so violent. And for those who do not believe how dangerous violent video games are, see for example the research by Brad J.Bushman and other investigators.