Monday, September 24, 2007

Our mind is not only in our head

Our mind is not only in our head. Many philosophers defend this idea. It is supported by the discoveries of palaeontology and archaeology. Most animals are constructed that way that they have a direct relation with the surrounding nature for their survival. They just look for what they need and they take it. However, man has an instrumental relation to nature. Of course, if a man walks through the woods and fields, he or she can pick berries or mushrooms and eat them. But what man usually does is not directly taking what he or she needs, but man looks for instruments for taking, making and producing what he or she needs and with these instruments man takes, makes and produces the things needed. Agriculture, building houses, industry, searching for amusement, it all happens in this way. What palaeontology and archaeology have shown is that the development of man is the development of this intellectual capacity in relation to the possibility to make gradually more complicated instruments. Brain and mind developed together with the capacity to make more complicated celts and the capacity to make more complicated other instruments. As a result, the capacity of man is partly the capacity invested by men in such instruments. On the other hand, the capacity to build and use instruments as an extension of the body has become part of the genetic equipment of men. In this way, man has become dependent on instruments and the essence of man has become fundamentally related to what is in the man made instruments. That is what the sciences of human development have shown and that is why we can say that the mind of man is also in the instrumental world around him or her. The clearest example of this is texts, especially books, and the capacity of writing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

About ethical standards

Ethical standards need sometimes to be breached in order not to lose their meaning. A standard that is never breached is not a standard but a way of life. An ethical standard is a norm that one wants to follow. A way of life is something one does and which is natural for the person that lives that way of life. It is the personal stream on which life floats from birth until death. Of course, this does not mean that one cannot change his or her way of life. A ship that follows a stream can be steered into another direction. Nor does it mean that the ethical standard needs to be breached now and then by the person who wants to live by it. It can also be maintained as a standard because another person breaches it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Something new ?

Really new things are seldom made. Almost everything one does is repetition and rearrangement of the past, or of things that have already been said or done by other people. I have written this in 1976. What has changed? Of course, much has changed, but does it really matter? Doesn’t the world turn around in a circle, the past coming back again and again in a certain way?
Read for example Camus’ L’homme révolté, and you’ll see that nothing has changed in terrorism. Only the names and words have changed, not the motivation and arguments, not the contents, not the methods.
But I just said "Almost everything one does is repetition". Does this mean that there are exceptions? Maybe the world is moving in a upward spiral, but one often does not have the impression that this is really so.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Personal identity (17)

If the psychological continuity criterion is right, what sense does it have then to have passport control at national borders? What sense does it have then to take an identity card with you? For such a document identifies the body but not the person. What is then the sense of taking finger prints? Maybe they can prove that the body did the murder but not that the person in the body did. If a person wants to enter a country illegally, rather than passing the border with a false passport it is safer for him or her to pass the border in another body with the passport belonging to this body.