19
   

Where is the self? How can dualism stand if it's just a fiction?

 
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 06:07 pm
@MattDavis,
ah ok, i must have mis-read/missed something.

well....to be fair, probably quite a lot Razz
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 06:18 pm
@igm,
Should we keep in mind that "dualism" refers to two modes of thought or perception? (1) the Cartesian notion that there is an "internal" agent of thought, a thinker who by his very operations proves his existence, and his existence is the counterpoint to all else, the "other" and (2) the general notion that the world consists essentially of opposites, e.g., up implies down, hot-cold, right- left, male-female, beginning,- end, true-false, hard-soft, rich-poor, etc. etc.. I think the Buddha rejected both forms of duality.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 06:30 pm
@igm,
I'm a "buddhist" who doesn't literally "believe" the Buddha regarding the ontology of self. I did when I began looking for my self (as something more empirical than just the subjective feeling of an homunculus looking out at the world from behind my eyes) more than 35 years ago. My failure to find a solid referent for the words, self, I, me, ego, has led me to consider it a fiction, albeit a useful one.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 07:00 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
Quote:
Re: Frank Apisa (Post 5249323)
Frank Apisa wrote:

Matt,
I'm trying to follow this thing...and you just agreed to something I am not sure about. Perhaps you can fill me in:
When igm said:
Quote:
…where we can actually start looking for the 'self' based on its agreed characteristics...

Quote:
who are we saying is going the “agreeing?”
I'd ask him, but he seems to be ignoring my comments and I think it would be rude on my part to be pushy.


My understanding is that igm wants to explore the implications of the concept of 'self', by hypothetically granting its truth and then exploring those implications.
The recent back and forth was regarding what seems to me a very "fluid" notion of permanence.
I asked for a distinction between continuous phenomena and permanent phenomena to be made explicit. By using separate words for each (not to use the term "permanent" to describe both.
I think what is agreed to are the conventions that the quality of something persisting (perhaps only over a finite interval) will be referred to as continuous, and that the quality of something persisting throughout all time will be referred to as permanent.


Thanks, Matt. That was such a good answer, I almost wish I had asked the question it answered.

If you have time, though, would you consider the question I did ask:

igm said: " …where we can actually start looking for the 'self' based on its agreed characteristics..."

In order to have "agreed characteristics"...there has to be agreement.

Agreement between.....?????


MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 09:12 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
Agreement between.....?????

Agreement between the participants of a conversation.

If this is still not what you are asking, maybe it will be answered in my upcoming response to igm's question...
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  2  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 10:37 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:
Can you put together something which shows that the existence of a 'truly existent self' is untenable based on our agreed list of characteristics that a truly existent self would need to be such a thing?

I can try.....


Model of Self that Meets the Discussed Criteria
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I make the ASSUMPTION that consciousness requires self-reference.

Consciousness is a manifestation of certain types of interactions within a complex but structured system. Certain complex structured system (like brains) exhibit behaviors that can be labeled as being conscious behaviors. One of the requirements of such systems is an ability to "represent the system within the system". Systems can be conscious, but they do do not have consciousness as in the sense that, consciousness exists somewhere (some physical place).
Consciousness should be treated semantically as we would treat other classifications of behaviors in systems. If a system exhibits cyclical behavior, you will not get a meaningful response by asking "where is the cyclicalness in the system?" The cyclical is a characteristic of the behavior of a system.
Because consciousness is simply the characteristic of something, it follows that it has no defined physical location. To suggest that it does have a physical location would be like asking where is the roundness in a circle.

Non-physicality of Self:
Self (with a capital S) is the label that occurs in conscious behaviors of systems and is used to point references back to the system.
It is the representation of the system, by the system.
It is the tool needed for 'self-reference.'
Self (capital S) is also not properly treated as a 'thing' (having physical location). It is a label that exists only as encoded in the consciousness behavior of the system.
From this view all concepts should not be treated as 'physical things' because concepts are labels encoded within a behavior.

Autonomous-ness of Self:
Autonomous simply means self-directed.
The behaviors of a system originate from within that system.
The cylical behavior of a solar system originates from within the solar system.
Systems that exhibit conscious behavior have a 'self' label and the representation that creates is Self (capital S) within the system, so it should interpret its own system behaviors as autonomous (that is, as Self directed behavior).

Continuous-ness of Self:
The label encoded within the conscious behaviors of a system should remain relatively unchanged, or if it does change, it must change in small enough increments so as that it can still be recognized for what it refers to by the system. (Since this was presupposed as a criteria of conscious behavior.)
Regardless of whether a label does or does not change, since conscious behavior ALWAYS requires self-reference the label must always be able to be correctly interpreted within the system. For as long as the system is exhibiting conscious behaviors, there must persist a representation within the system that is Self (capital S).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think that this basically includes the discussed features, while staying inside the material world
and outside of metaphysics.

IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 09:05 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I'm a "buddhist" who doesn't literally "believe" the Buddha regarding the ontology of self. I did when I began looking for my self (as something more empirical than just the subjective feeling of an homunculus looking out at the world from behind my eyes) more than 35 years ago. My failure to find a solid referent for the words, self, I, me, ego, has led me to consider it a fiction, albeit a useful one.


I would agree. I don't find this analysis of dualism especially useful. I do understand the concept of conscious, sub-conscious, ego and find it useful to understand my own levels of thought and motivation, and the attempted re-training of such through meditation. All this analysis seems like samsara activity to me. I don't think the Buddha would find it of much use.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 09:17 am
@IRFRANK,
Quote:
Quote:
@JLNobody,

Quote:
I'm a "buddhist" who doesn't literally "believe" the Buddha regarding the ontology of self. I did when I began looking for my self (as something more empirical than just the subjective feeling of an homunculus looking out at the world from behind my eyes) more than 35 years ago. My failure to find a solid referent for the words, self, I, me, ego, has led me to consider it a fiction, albeit a useful one.


I would agree. I don't find this analysis of dualism especially useful. I do understand the concept of conscious, sub-conscious, ego and find it useful to understand my own levels of thought and motivation, and the attempted re-training of such through meditation. All this analysis seems like samsara activity to me. I don't think the Buddha would find it of much use.

There seems to be an awful lot of “lack of evidence equals evidence of lack” thinking in both JL’s post and your agreement, Frank.

Frankly, Frank, I (Frank) do not have as much trouble as you both do seeing what could easily be the "me" in me. I can easily see the possibility of a non-duality...but I have to strain to see the non-dualistic argument as being stronger than that of the dualist. (Obviously, I am saying I have no idea if the REALITY is one of duality or non-duality...and I am perplexed that intelligent people can so easily be persuaded that it one and not the other...or "more likely" one and not the other.)

Considering the otherwise solid arguments you both make, I wonder if that is indicative of a desire to arrive at a particular point regardless of where the “evidence” actually take you.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 10:18 am
@Berty McJock,
Thanks for your input Berty (I'm sure you have but...) please read Matt's post above and maybe our posts to each other i.e. the posts concerned with the subject in your latest post.
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 10:22 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Should we keep in mind that "dualism" refers to two modes of thought or perception? (1) the Cartesian notion that there is an "internal" agent of thought, a thinker who by his very operations proves his existence, and his existence is the counterpoint to all else, the "other" and (2) the general notion that the world consists essentially of opposites, e.g., up implies down, hot-cold, right- left, male-female, beginning,- end, true-false, hard-soft, rich-poor, etc. etc.. I think the Buddha rejected both forms of duality.

JLN, Thanks for your valuable contribution; I always welcome them. I will of course ponder the points you have made.
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 10:24 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

I'm a "buddhist" who doesn't literally "believe" the Buddha regarding the ontology of self.

JLN, can you say more about this it sounds interesting?
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 10:31 am
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

igm wrote:
Can you put together something which shows that the existence of a 'truly existent self' is untenable based on our agreed list of characteristics that a truly existent self would need to be such a thing?

I can try.....


Model of Self that Meets the Discussed Criteria
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I make the ASSUMPTION that consciousness requires self-reference.

Consciousness is a manifestation of certain types of interactions within a complex but structured system. Certain complex structured system (like brains) exhibit behaviors that can be labeled as being conscious behaviors. One of the requirements of such systems is an ability to "represent the system within the system". Systems can be conscious, but they do do not have consciousness as in the sense that, consciousness exists somewhere (some physical place).
Consciousness should be treated semantically as we would treat other classifications of behaviors in systems. If a system exhibits cyclical behavior, you will not get a meaningful response by asking "where is the cyclicalness in the system?" The cyclical is a characteristic of the behavior of a system.
Because consciousness is simply the characteristic of something, it follows that it has no defined physical location. To suggest that it does have a physical location would be like asking where is the roundness in a circle.

Non-physicality of Self:
Self (with a capital S) is the label that occurs in conscious behaviors of systems and is used to point references back to the system.
It is the representation of the system, by the system.
It is the tool needed for 'self-reference.'
Self (capital S) is also not properly treated as a 'thing' (having physical location). It is a label that exists only as encoded in the consciousness behavior of the system.
From this view all concepts should not be treated as 'physical things' because concepts are labels encoded within a behavior.

Autonomous-ness of Self:
Autonomous simply means self-directed.
The behaviors of a system originate from within that system.
The cylical behavior of a solar system originates from within the solar system.
Systems that exhibit conscious behavior have a 'self' label and the representation that creates is Self (capital S) within the system, so it should interpret its own system behaviors as autonomous (that is, as Self directed behavior).

Continuous-ness of Self:
The label encoded within the conscious behaviors of a system should remain relatively unchanged, or if it does change, it must change in small enough increments so as that it can still be recognized for what it refers to by the system. (Since this was presupposed as a criteria of conscious behavior.)
Regardless of whether a label does or does not change, since conscious behavior ALWAYS requires self-reference the label must always be able to be correctly interpreted within the system. For as long as the system is exhibiting conscious behaviors, there must persist a representation within the system that is Self (capital S).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think that this basically includes the discussed features, while staying inside the material world
and outside of metaphysics.


Matt, I'm reflecting on what you've said (thanks for your effort, it is appreciated). If anyone wants to question Matt about this post in the meantime... please do.
IRFRANK
 
  3  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 11:43 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Considering the otherwise solid arguments you both make, I wonder if that is indicative of a desire to arrive at a particular point regardless of where the “evidence” actually take you.


There is some truth to that. I accept Buddhism as a teaching and a process of teaching me how to understand my own actions and motivations. With that in mind I find it very useful. I know that I understand myself ('self') much better than I did before I started meditating and have improved by actions toward others and my own outlook. I also think that we simply do not have enough knowledge, or perspective, to answer some of these questions equivocally. It's like trying to understand the reason gravity exists. I do see that I 'think' on different levels and have accepted the model of conscious, sub-conscious, and ego or self. It is just a model and the reality may be different, but it helps me understand where my motivations come from.

And yes, Thank you Matt for that post. Does clear some things up for me.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  3  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:01 pm
@igm,
I second that Thank You to Matt. Good article that discusses the idea of "self" in language that most of us can understand - and appreciate.
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:15 pm
surely there is only one possible characteristic...self awareness.

i cant say i'm non physical, because conscious thoughts are processed in my physical brain, which is part of the physical me, yet i am self aware.

continuous, maybe but until we meet our maker, we don't know for sure. but if we don't get to meet him, and it really is the end, i'm still self aware

autonomous, i'm still unsure. yes from "my" "personal" perspective i think i'm autonomous. i think for myself, but the more i think about it the more i struggle to see how anything can be autonomous. we eat to live, not because we choose to. ok i could choose not to eat, but something will have made me choose to do that. and i'm still self aware

i think therefore i am.

probably the ONLY thing we THINK we know about ourselves is that we exist, so to try to add any more characteristics other than "i am", seems futile.

having said that, matt's post came closest to satisfying me so far.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:19 pm
@Berty McJock,
"Self awareness" might be an oxymoron. Our brains can play tricks on us, and our observations and perceptions cannot always be true or right.

Just a thought.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:22 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
Re: Berty McJock (Post 5250060)
"Self awareness" might be an oxymoron. Our brains can play tricks on us, and our observations and perceptions cannot always be true or right.

Just a thought.


I agree.

But if I had written your sentence, I probably would have written it:

"Self awareness" might be an oxymoron. Our brains can play tricks on us, and our observations and perceptions cannot always be true or right.

But perhaps all those things actually are.
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:26 pm
so how can the Self exist if it's not self aware?

the oxymoron creates a paradox.
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:36 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
Our brains can play tricks on us, and our observations and perceptions cannot always be true or right.


in which case, are we autonomous? not if my free will is being controlled by something that is playing tricks on me.

i still think the Self can only exist if it is self aware. without Self, there is nothing to be aware of.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2013 12:36 pm
@Berty McJock,
I believe there are levels of "self awareness," but what we believe and perceive are not always objective truths.

For example, look at all the humanity who believes in a god. That's part and parcel of the individual's existence and self awareness. Self awareness can be misleading and subjective, and not necessarily factual or true.

How many gods do humans believe in? Or, how many religions are there with adherents?

Are they all right or all wrong?
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
Paradigm shifts - Question by Cyracuz
 
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/25/2024 at 11:52:22