• bizso09
    49
    Let's assume we have multiple people with subjective first person perspective experiences. What determines which first person experience I am going to experience? This is not a trivial question, I am not asking why a banana is a banana.

    One answer to this question is that MY first person perspective is the ONLY first person perspective that I could experience. However, this means that my perspective is somehow special, compared to the others, because it has the property of "mine".

    On the other hand, if my first person perspective is not special in any way, then I cannot reliably tell that when I say "mine", which first person perspective I'm referring to, because none of them has a property called "mine". For example, person "A" has perspective "a", person "B" has perspective "b". However, then that means I don't exist, because no perspective has the property of "mine".

    Now, each of us knows that only one first person perspective among all perspectives has the property of "mine", but for each of us, this "mine" property corresponds to a different perspective. However, this would imply that ALL first person perspectives have the property of "mine", and that is in direct contradiction to what I'm experiencing, since I only have one of the perspectives, not the others.

    So the question is, how is the "mine" property assigned to one of the first person perspectives?
  • Lindrosn
    9
    You're person A with perspective a and you refer to yourself with words like "me" and "mine" for various reasons, one reason may be simply so that even if people don't know your name they'll know you're referring to yourself.
  • Benj96
    156
    Excellent question. I love these ones.
    In "my" experience (lol), the concept of "I" is a construction created by interactions with others and the environment around us which gives us an awareness of what we influence and what we do not. For example consider possession. I can possess a pen. This pen is "mine." If I were a dictator I could possess a whole country. The country would be "mine" - my territory and the people within it "my" subjects. It has a lot to do with the selfs sphere of influence or the ego. One would say an egotistical person is one who has an over inflated sense of self. Controlling people feel they have authority over other egos and that they should obey their personal ego as if by extension of the self.

    Thirdly... consider an environment where a child "A" is born and is told their whole life that they are worth nothing and mean nothing and dont have the same rights as everyone else meanwhile another child "B" is born and told they are everything and everyone manifested in one person. They are the whole universe, powerful and the creator of all things and selves and is considered as such by everyone they meet. Child A will feel like they dont exist or have minimal impact and existence in the world. A tiny sense of self, constantly oppressed. Meanwhile child B will feel they are the only thing that exists and that everything and everyone they meet is just another facet of themselves giving them a ridiculously large ego (Not necessarily a bad thing but unusual). The sense of self is relative to that selves beliefs about what they can and cannot do and how they define themselves.

    People who are in love regard the other person as their "better half" or the that they "complete me" meaning they are so alike that they are unified together as one. That they are in essence the same self. So again it depends on core beliefs and values and how one relates the environment to their conscious awareness.

    Lastly.. imagine two identical selves, twins. Assume they are exactly the same in every way; they eat the same things at the same times, same friends, same dreams and ambitions, same everything. Except they must occupy a different point in space (unless they are absorbed/conjoined twins). So... even if all other factors remain constant, they must - by reason of not ever being in the same point in space - have a different perspective in their environment and eachother/ others around them. Even if one twin tried to repeat exactly what the other did in the space they occupied they would be actions done at two separate times and so wouldnt be the same. This means they are irrevocably two different selves. You are unique in yourself in that no one else can ever follow the same space-time path that you do through life and so cannot be "hit by the same football simultaneously" or hugged by the same person in the same spot simultaneously. The space you occupy as a singular living unit is yours until you die.
  • bert1
    487
    I too think it's a good question. So does Stephen Priest in this lecture:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z10_6uaqVQc&list=PLCdW3jMJiDFAYG5-VFQy0eLyHqdGnstnB&index=3

    There's been some good threads on it in the past. The best one was on the old forum unfortunately. I wonder if I saved it somewhere? I might have done, I'll have a look.

    My short answer: this problem is a real one, indexicals can't in principle be done away with (but they probably can in practice if you work hard), this is metaphysically significant, and I don't know the answer.
  • TheMadFool
    6.2k
    If you identify people by the clothes they wear then aren't you making a mistake? All soldiers and police persons would be the same person by that logic. What's ironic is that uniforms are worn to show unity/oneness - the goal of wearing identical clothing being to present the entire army as one entity (as the same person).

    Perspectives can be likened to attire. Sharing the same perspective makes people one, individual differences in identity overwhelmed by what is in common and differences in perspective shape unique identities.

    An interesting scenario is if someone comes up with a brand new, never-before-heard, perspective. Can this person claim this perspective as his/hers? Mine? Surely, s/he can.

    Another thing: if perspectives determine an individual does that mean when someone changes his/her perspective, the person changes too? I've heard the statement, "he changed his perspective" as if the identity of the "he" is independent of the perspective that changed as frequently as I've heard the statement, "he's changed" for the very same thing, a change in perspective. People seem to be in the fog regarding the matter.
  • tim wood
    4.6k
    What determines who I am? The question of the OP. Short answer, or rather very long answer in very short form: DNA.
  • bert1
    487
    What determines who I am? The question of the OP. Short answer, or rather very long answer in very short form: DNA.tim wood

    This is not a trivial question, I am not asking why a banana is a banana.bizso09
  • bongo fury
    463
    I am not asking why a banana is a banana.bizso09

    No, and neither would you assume that we have multiple bananas to be correlated with some number of subjective first banana experiences.

    ... or, would you?
  • SophistiCat
    1.3k
    This is not a trivial question, I am not asking why a banana is a banana.bizso09

    Rather, you are asking: why this banana is this banana. This means that this banana is somehow special, compared to the others, because it has the property of "this".
  • tim wood
    4.6k
    You entirely miss the point. You resemble your parents, or other ancestors. You do not resemble except by coincidence people who are not related to you - although back far enough and we're all related to each other. What makes you think that your mental/psychological make-up is any different? Apparently you are not yet of an age when you recognize that you and your friends are not a God's gift of a unique being. Indeed, how could you be?

    Well, free will! Free will is often confused in understanding. First you need a complete inventory of choices. There then follows predisposition to choose this over that - follow this out, and free will becomes both elusive and illusive.

    In short, DNA is a complete specification of biases: the way you're pre-bent. Live long enough and see if you do not find a parent in your mirror looking back at you. And who else back there you do not know of?

    Now a jump: reason would appear to be DNA immune - maybe not completely. And thus we find ourselves within our ability to reason and be reasonable.
  • bert1
    487
    I think you are answering the question: "What makes someone the way they are?"

    I don't think that is the question @bizso09 is asking. I think the question @bizso09 is asking is:

    "Out of all the possible perspectives in the universe, why do I have this perspective? Out of all the pairs of eyes that people look out of, why am I looking out of these ones, and not some other ones?"

    Is that right bizso09? Do correct me if I am wrong. Tim Wood may be right and I may have missed your point.
  • bert1
    487
    Rather, you are asking: why this banana is this banana. This means that this banana is somehow special, compared to the others, because it has the property of "this".SophistiCat

    But unless the banana is conscious, there is no asymmetry (that is relevant to this issue anyway) between one banana and another, and this banana can happily be self-identical without raising any philosophical issues. If a banana is conscious however, then there is an asymmetry, and it would make sense for the banana to ask of itself, why am I this banana, and not my yellow friend over there.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    A muddle.

    SO we have Peter, Paul, and Petunia. And they have, in order, first person experience A, first person experience, and first person experience C. It seems you are asking why is it that Peter has first person experience A and not first person experience C.

    But if Peter did have first person experience C, then Peter would be asking "Why do I have first person experience C rather than first person experience A?"

    That is, whichever first person experience one has, one might ask the very same question.

    Peter's thinking "this is my first person experience" is not special, because each person can say the exact same thing about their first person experience, regardless of which it is.
  • bert1
    487
    Banno, did you miss out Paul's first person experience B?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    So the question is, how is the "mine" property assigned to one of the first person perspectives?bizso09
    It seems to me that to say "mine" is a property of a first person perspective assumes that a first perspective is something owned by, or part of, something else. What would a first person perspective be owned by, or part of - your body? Is my brain, eyes and ears, without which wouldn't I have a first person perspective, mine?

    If you are saying that "mine" is a defining property of a first person experience, then your first person experience is only part of what/who you are, as "mine" implies being part of a larger whole. So, are you a first person experience, or are you something that has a first person experience? If you are more than a first person experience, then your first person experience only defines part of what you are, and you'd have to look beyond the first person experience to determine who you are.
  • InPitzotl
    244
    Short answer, or rather very long answer in very short form: DNA.tim wood
    DNA is just the holder of your genotypes. An organism is a phenotypical expression. Phenotypes are influenced greatly by DNA, but they are also influenced by environmental factors.

    Regardless, I think this typology isn't directly relevant to identity. Banno's suggestion I think is the way to think about this. I always like to add in that it's not just your first person perspective, but the memories you build up; including, specifically, the memories of having had a first person perspective. So even twins with the same DNA will have different identities; the one would not only never have the perspective of the other, but would never remember those perspectives (one could say, never remember being the other).
  • SophistiCat
    1.3k
    But unless the banana is conscious, there is no asymmetry (that is relevant to this issue anyway) between one banana and another, and this banana can happily be self-identical without raising any philosophical issues. If a banana is conscious however, then there is an asymmetry, and it would make sense for the banana to ask of itself, why am I this banana, and not my yellow friend over there.bert1

    The asymmetry arises as soon as the banana becomes this banana. Consciousness has nothing to do with it.
  • bert1
    487
    The asymmetry arises as soon as the banana becomes this banana.SophistiCat

    I don't see the asymmetry.
  • bert1
    487
    If I'm in a room with a ten other people, and I'm not sure which one I am, I don't have to study everyone's DNA, or any of the other things that make people the way they are. I am the one whose face I can't see.
  • SophistiCat
    1.3k
    I don't see the asymmetry.bert1

    This banana is the only banana in the world that is this and not any other. What's so hard about this?

    Yes, I know that you want to work the self-selection of the first-person perspective into the problem, but the original "problem" as stated does not display this feature. Indeed, the OP rejects it at the outset.
  • bert1
    487
    Yes, we should probably stop talking about bananas. I was hoping the OP would return and give us some guidance about what we should be arguing about. It's easy enough to find things to argue about anyway I suppose, but it's good to stick on topic. :)
  • Outlander
    350


    Let's address the semantics first. 'Mine' is a linguistically relative term. Your arm is your arm and my arm is my arm both of which can be referred to as 'mine' by either of us, respectively.

    Now, depending on belief, assuming you are you and someone else is someone else. The perspective or experiences of another could share many similarities to your own. Say if you were raised in an orphanage or you lost a parent at a young age, someone else who also went through this has "your" perspective or experience and you have "theirs" in the general context of this event. Aside from the fact its virtually impossible between exact circumstance, place, society, or genetics you literally went through the absolute same experience and thus have the same perspective, yours would be yours and theirs would be theirs.
  • bert1
    487
    Aside from the fact its virtually impossible between exact circumstance, place, society, or genetics you literally went through the absolute same experience and thus have the same perspective, yours would be yours and theirs would be theirs.Outlander

    Yes, but what determines which one you are?
  • InPitzotl
    244
    Yes, but what determines which one you are?bert1
    By "you", which one of us are you referring to?
  • Outlander
    350


    Well, a qualified mental health professional if nobody else. :D

    I don't get it. Don't get me wrong as analytical as I try to be things can and do go over my head, especially here. This isn't one of those secret society doublespeak things were somebody says "I'm (something)" and the person is supposed to think about it later and feel mocked is it?
  • bert1
    487
    Hah! Well, that would be a bonus, but it is not the intention. This stuff fries my brain, I find it very hard to think about. I think this is the hard end of philosophy, because we can't think objectively about this, we have to include our point of view, which we are not used to doing, or at least I'm not. I'm still trying to get to grips with Banno's post, and one thing I notice about it is that it is all third person (the first-person speech is reported in the third person). I think the video I linked to by Stephen Priest really sets out the idea as clearly as can be done, and I recommend having a look. If indeed that idea is the same as the one the OP wants us to talk about. Priest thinks it is an extraordinary fact that out of all the billions of people one of them is extremely peculiar in that it has the absolutely unique property of being me. Banno thinks this is just a matter of grammar. I don't think it is. It's not a matter of grammar that I can see everyone's face except my own.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    Yes, but what determines which one you are?bert1

    It seems to me that we need to establish what a first person perspective is because you only know about other perspectives via your own.

    It seems to me that via your first person perspective you acquire knowledge about others, that they seem to have other perspectives because the seem to behave as if they possess knowledge/first person perspectives as well, not just bodies.

    So, what determines which one you are - logically organizing your observations using your first person perspective into a consistent worldview.

    It is like asking how do we determine that things continue to exist once they leave our first person perspective (object permanence). Children logically organize their experiences in order to make sense of them. It only makes logical sense that the object that disappeared and now reappears is the same object because to if that weren't the case, then it would be impossible to make sense of objects in the first place and then solipsism would be the case and there would be no other first person perspectives, and saying that there is one that is mine would be incoherent.
  • neonspectraltoast
    205
    There is no explanation for identity. It is what it is. It's entirely personal. It isn't a matter of experience. The identity comes first and chooses how to deal with experience. It's with you from birth until death and is totally immutable. You might as well try to explain why an apple is red or why stars are hot.
  • InPitzotl
    244
    I seem to be "affixed" to my body, somehow. When I look around, I don't see my face, but I see things from a first person perspective with a view within my body. I might look at this clock and see that it says it's 8:43. Moments pass and, once again, I look around; I don't see my face, but I see things from a first person perspective with a view; it's still within this same body. If I think back a few moments, I remember looking at this same clock, which now says it's 8:44, but I remember seeing it say 8:43. So not only am I in this body now, but I was in this body one minute ago. The latter isn't a first person perspective (or at least by what it references), it is a memory of a first person perspective. But this memory of a first person perspective goes way deeper than proving I'm affixed to my body... it is how I know I am the same person one minute ago; i.e., if I say that it proves I'm in the same body, I have the facts backwards. There are two distinct "states of being" here... (a) the first person perspective behind these eyes at 8:44, and (b) the first person perspective behind these eyes at 8:43. The "sameness" of identity of (a) and (b) is established by the fact that (a) remembers (b). It's because of this continuity that I can say (a) is the same person as (b). The perspectives now are unique, but so are these chains back in time... you will never remember seeing this clock from behind these eyes at 8:43... only I will. That's not the secondary fact that proves I'm stuck in this body... it is the primary fact... the secondary fact is that the conscious entity at 8:43 is the same as me. So I think you're asking what connects the "being" through time to this particular body having this perspective. And the response is, you have it backwards. The particular body having this perspective is what makes the "being" through time have a specific identity.
  • Christoffer
    685
    This all brings up the question of the validity of talking about the subjective in the first place. We can all agree that there are subjective experiences, but no one will ever agree to value other subjective experiences over their own since their own subjective experience is the only one they can have. We cannot as individuals, value something we can't have, can't experience, can't see etc. The closest we have is empathy, the closest we have are stories, protagonists of stories and their perspectives as fantasies. But we will never have someone else's subjective experience, which means we can only accept other's subjective perspective in concept, but never truly accept any other experience or perspective over our own, ever.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    The first person perspective that is mine is the one that I don't have to postulate as a consequence of the observations of other bodies.
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