Consciousness & Self Renmin University Beijing China July 8, 2015 Owen Flanagan James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy, Duke University SELF PERSON IDENTITY ‘I’ ‘Me’ ‘Myself’ CONSCIOUSNESS SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS “The quale-consciousness is not confined to simple sensations. There is a particular quale to purple, though it be only a mixture of red and blue. There is a distinctive quale to every combination of sensations – There is a distinctive quale to every work of art – a distinctive quale to this moment as it is to me – a peculiar quale to every day and every week – a peculiar quale to my whole personal consciousness. I appeal to your introspection to bear me out (C. S. Peirce, 1898, par. 223).” SELF = Qualitative SELF = What it is Like to be Me Human Q-Selves = Person Experience Principle: Whatever it is that make a person WHO he or she is first personally (his/her Q-SELF) whatever it is that makes for one’s sense of self and identity (presumably this is absolutely unique), it involves necessarily (and likely in a major way) each individual’s experiences, past & present. Causes v. Constituents of Self/Person/Identity Causes of MY Q- SELF -- whatever q-experiences & non-experiences (e.g., genes, fetal environment) make me seem to myself the way I am (these might not be remembered or known by me at all). Constituents of MY Q-SELF-- what I in fact (subjectively & sincerely) see/think/feel/know makes me who and what I am. What it is that it is like (more-or-less) reliably to be me – both what I remember 1st personally and what it is like to feel as I do, as the embodied heartmind (xin) I am . PERSONLocke “For it being the same consciousness that makes a man be himself to himself, personal identity depends on that only.” John Locke, Section 10, Chapter 27 of the 2nd edition Essay Person, as I take it, is the name for this self…It is a forensic term, appropriating actions and their merit…The personality extends itself beyond present existence to what is past, only by consciousness, whereby it becomes concerned and accountable, owns and imputes to itself past actions, just upon the same ground and for the same reason that it does the present…And therefore whatever past actions it cannot reconcile or appropriate to that present self by consciousness, it can be no more concerned in than if they had never been done. (John Locke Section 26: 1. Homo Sapiens = “Man” Biological Criterion 2. PERSON Psychological Criterion conscious continuity & conscious connectedness 3. PERSONLocke Psychological Continuity & Connectedness (of the autobiographical memory sort) allow/entail/constitute? Moral & Legal & Theological Responsibility/Accountability Tortoises, Elephants, Monkeys? 1. SELF-REPRESENTED IDENTITY (Memories of my deeds, doings, events in my life) = SUBJECTIVE IDENTITY & 2. ACTUAL FULL IDENTITY = OBJECTIVE IDENTITY [F]or supposing a man punished now for what he had done in another life, whereof he could be made to have no consciousness at all, what difference is there between that punishment, and being created miserable? And, therefore, conformable to this, the apostle tells us, that, at the great day, when every one shall “receive according to his doings, the secrets of all hearts shall be laid open.” The sentence shall be justified by the consciousness all persons shall have, that they themselves, in what bodies soever they appear, or what substances soever that consciousness adheres to, are the same that committed those actions, and deserve the punishment for them. Df. AFI = TRUE & COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF WHO ONE IS Question: WHO KNOWS OR TELLS OR CAN (in principle) DESCRIBE AFI? (NOTE: Describe =/Have; Senses of “Capture;” 3rd person v. 1st person)) GOD? NEUROSCIENCE? (neural level) PHYSICS? (quantum physics) IIT? (Pythagorean-Euclidean) Community QUESTION: Did Mother Nature select for LOCKEAN Q-SELFHOOD because it was fitness-enhancing in which case it is a biological function? Is having or being a LOCKEAN Q-SELF just an interesting side effect (by product) of having a certain kind of (pretty) good memory which was then culturally selected for (to produce accountability)? WORRY(ies): Lockean Q-Self is too heavily linguistic Isn’t there more to one’s Q-self than what is/can be remembered in autobiographical memory? Isn’t self-experienced identity (SEI) > selfrepresented identity SRI PERSONJames We ought to say a feeling of and, a feeling of if, a feeling of but, and a feeling of by, quite as readily as we say a feeling of blue or a feeling of cold. Yet we do not: so inveterate has our habit become of recognizing the existence of the substantive parts alone, that language almost refuses to lend itself to any other use.... Every definite image in the mind is steeped and dyed in the free water that flows round it. With it goes the sense of its relations, near and remote, the dying echo of whence it came to us, the dawning sense of whither it is to lead. The significance, the value, of the image is all in this halo or penumbra that surrounds and escorts it, -or rather that is fused into one with it and has become bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh…Let us call the consciousness of this halo of relations around the image by the name of 'psychic overtone’ or 'fringe.' SOME FAMILIAR SELF CONSTITUTING PHENOMENAL/ QUALITATIVE HALOS l Social/Historical Feeling/Being Chinese or American Temperamental Being Shy or Novelty Seeking or Meticulous or Episodic v. Diachronic Feeling Normal/”Like Oneself” Sex/Gender/Sexual Orientation GALEN STRAWSON VS. UNIVERSALITY OF LOCKEAN PERSONS “The basic form of Diachronic self-experience is that [D] one naturally figures oneself, considered as a self, as something that was there in the (further) past and will be there in the (further) future.” “If one is Episodic, by contrast, [E] one does not figure oneself, considered as a self, as something that was there in the (further) past and will be there in the (further) future.” (2004, 430). PART 2: Narrative Selves “A self is probably the most impressive work of art we ever produce, surely the most intricate. For we create not just one self-making story but many of them, rather like T.S. Eliot’s rhyme “We prepare a face to meet/the faces that we meet.” The job is to get them all into one identity, and to get them lined up over time.” Jerome Bruner Making Stories “We are virtuoso novelists, who find ourselves engaged in all sorts of behavior, more or less unified, but Sometimes disunified, and we always put the best “faces” on we can…that story is our autobiography, the chief fictional character at the center of the story is one’s self.” (D.C. Dennett) Classical Norms of Personhood • Know Thyself • Speak Truthfully about Your Self (Truth) • Be True to Yourself (Authenticity) • Make Something Interesting/Worthwhile/Decent of/with Yourself Question: How much does satisfying these norms require Q-CONSCIOUSNESS? Standard Features of Narratives 1. Pinned on Culturally Available/Endorsed Narrative Hooks (Normal) 2. Responsive to/Tracks the Important Facts, “What really matters.” 3. Open-ended (epistemically). One doesnʼt know how things will turn out. But the direction of the narrative, the future, is structured/constrained by antecedent intentions, plans, and projects. (“I will always be there for my children;” “I promise to have and to hold…”) 4. Filled with post facto revising, reinterpretation. (“I never loved her anyway;” “She was important in my life, but not as important as I once thought.”) 5. Narratively Complete Up-Until-Now: I can (barring dementia) tell/write it as it is from the beginning to the present (the standard is “what really matters,” not everything Question: Can Q-Selves be explained naturalistically? Three Thesis 1. Token Neurophysicalism: in this actual world, experiences supervene only on embodied beings with nervous systems topped off by brains, i.e.,, experiences occur only in and to creatures with nervous systems of certain sorts. 2. The Varieties/Heterogenity Thesis The ITEMS of experience are many and various, explained by long history of organism-environment adaptation and accomodation. 3. Subjective realism for creatures that have experiences, that is, creatures with the right kinds of nervous systems, experiences are had, experienced, or possessed only by the creature that has, is constituted by, or is attached to that particular nervous system. Experiencers have their own and only their own experiences. Things or systems that lack nervous systems do not have experiences, and thus there is nothing it is like to be them, nothing at all. For things or systems that are not experiencers, all facts about them are, in principle, accessible from the objective point of view, ergo, objective realism for tables, chairs, bosons, fermions, etc.