Re: A calculus of personal identity

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 12:34:54 -0700

John M wrote:
> --- Brent Meeker <> wrote:
> (unless the final remark with Saibal/s signature
> underneath comes from him):
> ...
> Stathis wrote:
> ...
>>I would say that the 1st person experience is *not*
>>an illusion in any sense of the word. It is the very
>>opposite, in a >way: the most real thing, which
>>cannot be doubted...
> *
> "I agree. Other people are part of the model of the
> world we form. And in the same way the existence of
> myself, as a durable entity, is also a part of that
> model.
> Brent Meeker"
> *
> Does this agreed double(?) statement not rub too close
> on solipsism?

Not if you accept that *all* our ideas of reality are models. The fact that they work well and are
coherent makes me believe they are models of an external reality - not a personal illusion - but I
can still doubt that they *are reality* itself. In other words I take them to be like scientific
theories: provisionally accepted, but subject to refutation.

> Then again:
>>The person I was when I was 3 years old is dead. He
>>died because
>>too much new information was added to his brain.
>> -- Saibal Mitra
> *
> An interesting observation from Saibal that increasing
> the info-input to one's brain kills person(ality?).
> I would not say "dead", rather 'changed' as into some
> different one. (It is a gradual change, death is being
> thought of as something more abrupt and
> comprehensive.)
> In spite of that, knowing that when as a 5-yo I had
> different person-ality and ideas, brainfunction and
> emotions, I still feel NOW identity with THAT PERSON.

I have memories from when I was 5yrs old, but the source of identity I feel in those memories arises
only from the fact that I remember a personal viewpoint in spactime and I remember emotions. Those
are the same aspects of memories of last week that make them coherent with my model of myself as a
being who persists over time.

Brent Meeker

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Received on Fri Jun 30 2006 - 15:35:58 PDT

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