• TiredThinker
    412
    Are we our personality? Are we a soul? Are we our brain? What makes the real us?
  • Angelo Cannata
    152
    What criteria you think we should use to answer your question?
  • javi2541997
    1.5k


    I guess the OP wants a humanistic answer. We can give it a try and define ourselves as well as we define conciousness: we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt. Cogito, ergo sum: "I think, therefore I am"
    But in this context we can be helped by the Johari window: Room one is the part of ourselves that we and others see. Room two contains aspects that others see but we are unaware of. Room three is the private space we know but hide from others. Room four is the unconscious part of us that neither ourselves nor others see. (Johari Window)
  • Nickolasgaspar
    722
    "we"meaning the concept of the self.....are the emergent "product" of our brain functions. We can go further and state that our brain functions are affected by our biological setup and environmental influences.
    What makes the real us is Previous experiences and the Situations and conditions of our current experiences.
  • Cuthbert
    750
    I guess the OP wants a humanistic answer.javi2541997

    Guessing has to be a bit wild in this context, as the OP gives us not many clues, but you may be right. I will start with "We are the people who, when our rent is owed, owe it." I'm thinking of an example where the landlord asks for the rent and we respond with the statement "But you have not defined who 'I' am and who 'you' really are. Without that, there is no owing or being owed." The landlord (being a philosopher) will reply that we already know who we both are because we are both engaged in a way of life in which some people owe rent and others have it owed to them. Of course there's more to life and death than rent. When a relative dies and it's my job to organise the funeral I do not need to work out first whether or not it is possible for me to organise something for a person who does not exist and perhaps who never was the body that is lying in the funeral parlour. When I identify the body I would not look blankly at my deceased relative and say that I can have no idea whether it is the person whom I knew because I never had any idea what they were anyway or whether their physical body was them or not. These are the contexts in which it is clear that the question "Who are we?" makes no sense. My question is: are there any contexts (outside of a philosophy seminar) where it does make sense?
  • Hillary
    1.9k
    Are we our personality? Are we a soul? Are we our brain? What makes the real us?TiredThinker

    We all are our bodies, with magical worlds inside, walking around in a world like the gods in heaven walk and crawl around. The paradise gardens, once resembling heavenly paradise, are terribly fucked up though. Let's hope paradise returns. Seems the human gods (just one species of gods amongst many) did a sneaky thing in the preparations for creation...
  • javi2541997
    1.5k


    Good answer :100:

    I gave it a try in a humanistic point of view because the OP (I suppose :lol: ) is referring to soul, personality, realism, etc… and all of these topics are already debated by empiricists and rationalists.
    But I want to aggregate a brief to your example because I really enjoyed it when I have read it.
    Landlord” and “occupant” are terms that are already defined by a law (unless you are from an Anglo-Saxon law country) so the parts shall not have doubts in the agreement. This is called in my country as arrendamiento. The landlord has the right of being paid every first week of each month and the occupant has to pay him. If he doesn’t do so, the landlord has the will of kick him out of the land/flat through a trial process.
    What I wanted to share here is that sometimes is necessary to be specific in terms of “who we are or who are they”. If there is a doubt do not worry we shall go to a civil court :lol:
  • TiredThinker
    412
    I guess the last thing left after everything else is stripped away that can longer be divided and contains the sum of everything that matters to us as part of how we tend to define ourselves as unique from others.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    Are we our personality? Are we a soul? Are we our brain? What makes the real us?TiredThinker

    I find questions like these to be unhelpful to my experience. We are our behavior and choices. Putting the word 'real' in front of other words is rarely useful.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    The OP's query is, by all accounts, very thought-provoking?

    The most common question that gets asked in re identity is

    1. Who am I? (As an individual)

    The OP wants to know (?)

    2. Who are WE? (As a group/tribe)

    Drifting into superorganism, hive mind, sociology, human nature, egrogere, etc. territory here.
  • Individualist Possibilist
    5


    I think there are many ways to answer this question, but one answer that I was reading and thinking about some weeks ago is that we are the sum of our past history, i.e., we are now the sum of all the moments that we lived since our birth, and this is what make us unique since each one has his or her own past. So, in this theory, even if you change your ideas, body, mind, you still are yourself because of your whole past.
  • TiredThinker
    412


    Aren't our behaviors and choices somewhat guided by nature, culture, and how we perceive the world has treated us? Under different circumstances wouldn't the same "self" have made different choices?
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    So? We all know this already but it makes no practical difference. We make choices and do things. What's that Woody Allen joke - "If I had been born in Poland, or Berlin, I'd be a lampshade today." Still not sure how it relates to the word 'real'.
  • 180 Proof
    8.4k
    "Who are we?" Wrong question, I think. Instead: what are we? We are ecology-situated, embodied-enactive, brain-systems coordinating their bodily activities (i.e. habits) in groups by telling themselves – continuously confabulating – mostly commensurate and often commiserating stories about having / being (transcendent, immaterial) "souls" "minds" "selves" "identities" "persons" ... that are each individually – subjectively – a brain blind to itself being a brain.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    continuously confabulating – mostly commensurate and often commiserating stories about having / being (transcendent, immaterial) "souls" "minds" "selves" "identities" "persons" ... that are each individually – subjectively – a brain blind to itself being a brain.180 Proof

    It's like an endlessly spinning wheel sometimes. It may not be good philosophy but I sometimes think less is more. Like my mum used to say: Just shut up and get on with it!
  • Relativist
    1.7k
    Are we our personality? Are we a soul? Are we our brain? What makes the real us?TiredThinker
    I hold to the identity of indiscernables and indiscernability of the identical.

    IOW, iff A and B have identical properties, then A is identical to B.

    I am something with a specific set of properties. I am not identical to the guy waking up in my bed tomorrow (he will have experienced some TV shows, and a night of sleep that I haven't experienced, among other differences), but we're closely related. My "identity" consists of a temporal causal chain that connects all these guys. My view is called perdurantism. IMO, it's the least-worst account of personal identity.
  • 180 Proof
    8.4k
    My view is called perdurantism.Relativist
    What if it's the case 'you are not even "you"'? (e.g. PSM)
  • Jackson
    938
    My view is called perdurantism.Relativist

    Thanks. Had to look that up.
  • Relativist
    1.7k
    What if it's the case 'you are not even "you"'? (e.g. PSM)180 Proof
    I'm not me, given the elapse of time between entering "I" and "me".

    I know this sounds silly, so I'm having fun with it, but consider the alternative: what are the necessary and sufficient properties for being YOU?

    Imagine going back in time and encountering your 10-year old "self". Will you be confused as to which of you is the guy who traveled back in time? There are clear differences between the two (e.g. different biological ages, different heights, you have experience and memories the 10-year old lacks, differences in interests and education... ).

    Individual identity is a fuzzy concept.
  • Jackson
    938
    Individual identity is a fuzzy concept.Relativist

    Hume made the argument against identity. I think he was right.
  • Relativist
    1.7k
    Interesting. My position was formulated after reading Penelope Mackie.
  • Cuthbert
    750
    Hume made the argument against identity.Jackson

    If someone had stolen his Treatise manuscript and published it as their own he would have suddenly remembered who Hume was and he would not have forgotten in a hurry or allowed anyone else to claim that his personal identity is an illusion. Also, he knew this. He was not happy with his own theory.
  • Benj96
    611
    Are we our personality? Are we a soul? Are we our brain? What makes the real us?TiredThinker

    In the broadest sense but also a bit of a useless definition: we are that aspect of existence which has an awareness of its existence. We are the part of the universe perceiving itself.
  • Jackson
    938
    If someone had stolen his Treatise manuscript and published it as their own he would have suddenly remembered who Hume was and he would not have forgotten in a hurry or allowed anyone else to claim that his personal identity is an illusion. Also, he knew this. He was not happy with his own theory.Cuthbert

    A four year old and forty year old may be same person, but what is that property?
  • Cuthbert
    750
    A four year old and forty year old may be same person, but what is that property?Jackson

    What I'm suggesting in this thread is that we first consider the circumstances in which we ask this question - "When do we ask about a four year old and a forty year old - 'Are these the same person?'" For example, we might see two photos and ask whether they are of the same person. Then let's think about how we go about answering that everyday question. That will tell us what makes them the same person - or makes them different people. For example: "No, I was mistaken - that must be my brother, not me, because I was dark haired and he's blonde."

    Having done that we can go back to your question "....what is that property?" .

    The answer is that there may be no property and there may be no need to assume that there is or is not any property. We have just succeeded in identifying the two people (or distinguishing them, if they are different) and we have not attributed any particular property in order to do it. We have not mentioned continuity of consciousness or got stuck on the replacement of cells. DNA has not figured in the exercise.

    Hair colour did come into the example. Do I therefore propose a theory that personal identity is a function of hair colour? No, that would be absurd as a general theory. And yet it would be perfectly sensible in particular circumstances. What I'm suggesting is that we first look at how we identify and distinguish persons. Otherwise we may be tempted to hunt for some essential property of personhood without first thinking whether such a hunt even makes sense.
  • Olivier5
    4.9k
    From your examples, eg tenant/landlord, perhaps a better question would be: Who are we to one another, in this or that context? Or along the same line, another question, perhaps closer to the OP, is: Who are we to ourselves? Of course the short answer is: we are ourselves, ie identity. But sometimes it can be said that we are not exactly ourselves: when we dream ourselves, or we (re)invent ourselves. When we do something that surprises even ourselves.
  • TiredThinker
    412


    If we are 4 dimensional and contain the entire snake of frames from conception to death, what keeps that snake from spanning the entirety of time? Events conspire to bring all of us here. Everything is the consequence of what came before? Are we apart of the star dust that ultimately became our material as well?
  • Relativist
    1.7k
    I honestly don't think there's a single correct answer. One can only draw boundaries and apply them consistently, but you may draw the boundaries differently than I.

    Personally, I draw the boundaries as beginning when the rudimentary mind emerges during gestation, and terminating when that mind ceases to exist at death. Of course, both boundaries are fuzzy (there is not some instant of time at which a mind begins to exist), but that's true of many things (at what precise length must whiskers be, to be a beard?)

    Some believe in haeccity, the theory that identity is something irreducible, but just IS. Your haeccity could inhabit your body, Taylor Swift's body, a cockroach body, or no body at all. I reject it, but it's a means to "solve" the problem of identity.
  • MAYAEL
    201
    I can't answer your question because words are assigned symbols with a certain value and that means there is a level of complexity to those words and those words are not the thing itself

    they're simply symbols we use to convey and understanding to somebody else without them having to experience the thing themselves

    in other words language is a convenience tool to give a taste of what we've experienced to somebody else and what I am is not a convenience tool

    nor a tool at all, it's (I) much more complex, it's (Me) the thing that uses the tools, but even that's not a true definition of what I am,

    because sometimes I don't use tools so no matter how much I elaborate I'm only going to give you the actual complete me in a way that you can fundamentally "know"

    I can only give you symbols of what I do, the actions I make , the show I decide to put on, or the way I try to hide.

    But but just like you don't consider the DVD you bought at the store to be the actual actors themselves likewise in explanation I give you will never be the complexity of the being conveying it to you

    The short version of that is I can't be conceptualized lol
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    As per Yuval Noah Harari, we're, get this, the most prolific serial killer in evolutionary history (assassins, we all are, agents of extinction). Is mother nature committing suicide? Is she the proverbial Phoenix - resurrects from its ashes?
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    I can't answer your questionMAYAEL

    :up:
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