• JohnLocke
    9
    A popular question. Why am I me? Why am I not the person next to me? When I die, will I be another person in the past or future? Was I another person before I was born? If so, why am I not everyone?
  • Andrew4Handel
    638
    I agree that why we are the specific person or consciousness we are is a deep puzzle.

    How do you come to inhabit this one particular conscious sphere out of billions that exist and have existed.

    I view it as a central issue in the study of consciousness.
  • bert1
    156
    Yeah, I think it is a real issue. As for an answer, I am not sure. I think it might be "Because I am most interested in being this one."
  • Posty McPostface
    5.1k
    Isn't this a case of a systematically inchoate question?
  • DingoJones
    85
    A popular question. Why am I me? Why am I not the person next to me? When I die, will I be another person in the past or future? Was I another person before I was born? If so, why am I not everyone?JohnLocke

    You are you as a result of a dynamic combination of nature and nurture, a deterministic result.
    You are not the person next to you because the person next to you has a different set of deterministic results than you do. When you die, you will not be anyone, past, future or present.
    Before you were born, you were not a person (or if you prefer, pick your own cut off point during your mothers pregnancy).
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    Why am I me?JohnLocke

    Because everybody else was already taken.
  • Purple Pond
    237
    Because it's logically impossible for you not to be you.
  • gloaming
    80
    Who are the "I" and "me" of which you speak? And how do you know they are one and the same?
  • Andrew4Handel
    638
    I have raised a similar issue to this myself. It is a location issue. Where am "I" located and how?

    I don't believe I am identical with my brain but I experience a united location as the centre of experiences.

    I am always at the centre of experiences and they are located around me. There is a continuation of myself as I travel say from the UK to Australia as the experiences and landscapes change..

    It could just be the same location as my brain but still the question is how does my particular self awareness at this location in time and space arise? Why didn't other brains or bodies become my location?

    In a related issue I believe perception is solipsistic and we only know and perceive through ourself there is no objective access tor reality.

    There is also a causal of issue of what caused "me".
  • Banno
    3.4k
    If you were not you, you would still be asking why you are who you are...

    I view it as a central issue in the study of consciousness.Andrew4Handel

    No, it isn't. It's a classic silly philosophical question.

    Yeah, I think it is a real issue.bert1

    No, it is a grammatical muddle. Whoever you are, you could still ask "why am I me?".

    Because everybody else was already taken.Bitter Crank
    Exactly.
    Because it's logically impossible for you not to be you.Purple Pond
    Yes.
    Who are the "I" and "me" of which you speak? And how do you know they are one and the same?gloaming
    That line of thinking will lead us further down the garden path.
    Where am "I" located and how?Andrew4Handel
    I am here.
  • StreetlightX
    3.1k
    :up:

    "A thing is identical with itself."-There is no finer example of a useless proposition, which is yet
    connected with a certain play of the imagination. It is as if in imagination we put a thing into its own shape and saw that it fitted".
  • Banno
    3.4k
    :smile:
    "A thing is identical with itself."StreetlightX

    ...can be read as a definition of identical. Not entirely useless. "I am who I am" might offer a certain reinforcement to one's identity.


    It is as if in imagination we put a thing into its own shape and saw that it fitted'.StreetlightX
    and were surprised!!
  • StreetlightX
    3.1k
    "I am who I am" might offer a certain reinforcement to one's identity.Banno

    Agree, but then, it's not functioning as a proposition, a bearer of truth.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    Yes, indeed, it is not saying anything, but perhaps showing something.

    The feeling of bewilderment in the OP derives from a poorly phrased question. The corresponding statement, "I am who I am", might be seen as a definition, or a reinforcement, of one's identity; and hence be of some use in cases of a crisis...
  • bert1
    156
    'I am I' tells me nothing about the world.

    'bert1 is bert1' tells me nothing about the world.

    'I am bert1,' prima facie, tells me something about the world.

    What's going on here Banno and Street?
  • Banno
    3.4k
    What, in your post, is puzzling? All looks pretty straight forward to me.
  • bert1
    156
    Indeed. Perhaps we agree after all. Rather than me try to guess what you think the grammatical muddle is, could you spell it out?
  • Banno
    3.4k
    could you spell it out?bert1

    Apparently not, since I did my best in pointing out that if you were not you, you could still be asking why you are who you are.
  • bert1
    156
    No I couldn't, that would be impossible. As I am always me (construing 'me' as the objective form of 'I') and could be nothing else. However it is possible (at east logically, if not practically) that I could be someone other than bert1.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    However it is possible (at east logically, if not practically) that I could be someone other than bert1.bert1

    Can you make sense of this? "In some possible world, Bert is not Bert"?

    It might mean: Bert, in the actual world, might in some possible world, not be called Bert.

    That's not a problem. It just says you have a different name.

    But it can't mean, for example, that the person who is Bert in the actual world might have been Banno in another possible world (taking Bert and Banno as rigid designators).

    SO the ball is in your court. What sense is there in supposing that you might not be who you are?

    And that is why it is a grammatical muddle. It asks nothing.
  • bert1
    156
    Thanks Banno, that's better. The rigid designator thing is perhaps relevant here I think. I'll reply properly later when I have more time.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    Perhaps; I don't think the rigid designator quite makes the point, but it might help.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    A popular question. Why am I me? Why am I not the person next to me? When I die, will I be another person in the past or future? Was I another person before I was born? If so, why am I not everyone?JohnLocke

    What makes a ''person'', if that is what you mean by ''I''?

    Per logic one is a specific person based on difference. The genus-difference mode of definition comes to mind.

    To achieve an indentity, uniqueness if you will, one has to be different enough from the rest. Otherwise you wouldn't be you but someone else.

    Take two cars of the same make. They are identical and so don't have that uniqueness that would give them an identity that could then beget the question ''why am I me and not someone else?''


    So, if you want to know yourself look for differences between you and others.

    In that enterprise one may realize that differences that make you you and not someone else are very superficial. Every one has two eyes, two ears, one nose, etc. Even thinking-wise one finds an ilk that share your deepest thoughts.

    So, it seems, at least to me, that there is no ''I'' unique enough to make sense of the question ''why am I me and not you?''

    That said, we may need to consider something else to answer your question with any degree of meaningfulness.

    What that is is beyond me.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    What that is is beyond me.TheMadFool

    ...because the question is senseless.
  • Andrew4Handel
    638
    I am here.Banno

    Where is that?
  • Andrew4Handel
    638
    I am one of six children. I am the 4th of six children my parents had and this is who I am aware of being. Other specifics include being male and born in the late 1970's UK.

    There are obviously many different conscious subjective locations but I ended up in this precise one out of all the alternative consciousnesses "being "created".

    So what makes someone suddenly become aware of being one precise person?

    Conscious has the effect of making you somehow occupy just one persons body arbitrarily.

    The causal chain of the body is explicable from DNA copied and passing on systematically through space and time with some alternations but consciousness is something new not passed on like that and it is the only part of the entity that is aware and is even not describable in physicalist terms .

    I think deliberate failure to accurately describe consciousness or denial of self and conscious states is simply a position of gross ignorance and delusion. The equivalent of a backward fundamentalist religion creating a perpetual dark ages and state of irrationality.

    I think questions like why am I conscious of being a human and not a whale are perfectly valid also. If whales are conscious that is another conscious location that was open to be inhabited.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.4k


    A popular question. Why am I me? Why am I not the person next to me?
    .
    If you were someone else, then you wouldn’t be you. It wouldn’t be meaningful to speak of a “you” who is someone else.
    .
    Why are you in a life? You’re in a life because of yourself. …because you’re the protagonist in a life-experience possibility-story, one of the infinitely-many such hypothetical stories, each of which consists of a complex system of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things. …hence my statement that you’re the reason why you’re in a life.
    .
    When I die, will I be another person in the past or future?
    .
    You’ll be another person, similar to the person you are now, but not necessarily in the past, present or future of this physical world. More likely in a different physical world…but most likely in one that is quite similar to this one.
    .
    Was I another person before I was born?
    .
    Probably, yes. Why do I say that? Because it seems to me that no one would get into a societally-bad world like this one in their first life. It would take a few lives to get into this much of a moral/ethical snarl.
    .
    If so, why am I not everyone?
    .
    The nature of being a person is to be a particular person. Why are you the one that you are? Everyone’s life-experience story “is there” timelessly, as a hypothetical life-experience story. You’re in this life, in this world, as the person that you are, because those are the conditions of one of those infinitely-many experience-stories. In other words, the person that you are is part of this experience-story, as its protagonist. The person that you are goes with this story. This is the story of the experiences of that person, the person that you are, the protagonist of that story.
    .
    All the other life-experience stories “are there” too. But of course it goes without saying that this one is about the particular person that is you.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • apokrisis
    4.3k
    "A thing is identical with itself."-There is no finer example of a useless proposition,StreetlightX

    Why am I me? Why am I not the person next to me?JohnLocke

    The obvious answer is that “you” are a developing process, an enduring structure. Not a thing, but a historically conditioned continuity.

    So is a process identical with itself? That requires a whole different metaphysical perspective. The parts can change. What matters is that some essential set of constraints are satisfied. The child becomes the adult and is both the same person and a different person.

    The question of identity or individuation sounds silly. But it leads into exactly the kind of deep question metaphysics needs to have good answers for.
  • bloodninja
    283
    Why am I me?JohnLocke

    Why is me I? What is the I? A philosophical fiction or a convenient designator?

    After thinking about it I think the I is both a metaphysical fiction and a convenient way to use language. Problem solved!! :grin:
  • BrianW
    235
    Why am I me?JohnLocke

    Is one of the characteristics of existence self-assertion? And, if so, does it explain why I am me? Coz I feel like there's a part of me which constantly declares itself, perhaps as a sum of all the influence I exert, or as the sum of every aspect of awareness which I influence and which influences me (consciously and sub-consciously).
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