Today, we’re engaging in class with the problems of the mind and self.

One important perspective on this is Thomas Metzinger.  In his book, Being No One, and in his other works, he sets forth the “self-model theory of subjectivity.”  In a 2012 interview, he stated:

“I think the self is an intermittent and complex process, but not a thing…The body and the mind are constantly changing. Nothing in us is ever really the same from one moment to the next. Yet the self represents a very strong phenomenal experience of sameness, and it’s clear this would be adaptive or helpful for a biological organism that needs to plan for the future. If you want to hide some food for winter or you want to save some money in your bank accounts or work on your reputation, you’re planning for future success and you wouldn’t do that if you didn’t have the very strong feeling that it’s going to be the same entity that gets the reward in the future. That it was the same entity in the past that got cheated, injured, hurt by someone, and that is now longing for retaliation, revenge, or something like that. Obviously, for the evolution of culture, a fiction of personal identity was also necessary. Just think about responsibility and culpability in the context of evolving a legal system; or of the need to build a reputation in larger, growing groups of early human history. A self-model is not something in the brain or in philosophy, it is also something social and public. Personal websites and Facebook accounts are public self-models too—they have a function, and they make something happen.”
Julian Baggini has thought about the self in interesting ways too–we will most likely watch this video (up to the end of the lecture around minute 13) today.
Why does it matter to us what names we use on Facebook?
Or here.
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