THE SELF from Various Philosophical Perspectives Lecture 1 in UNDERSTANDING THE SELF Prepared by Prof. Ronuel L. del Rosario PHILOSOPHY - study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially in an academic discipline. - a particular theory that someone has about how to live or how to deal with a particular situation. PHILOSOPHY - academic discipline concerned with investigating the nature of significance of ordinary and scientific beliefs - investigates the legitimacy of concepts by rational argument concerning their implications, relationships as well as reality, knowledge, moral judgment, etc. Much of philosophy concerns with the fundamental nature of self. The Greeks were the ones who seriously questioned myths and moved away from them to understand reality and respond to perennial questions of curiosity, including the question of the self. The following are discussions of different perspectives and understandings of the self according to its prime movers. From philosophers of the ancient times to the contemporary period. THE PRE-SOCRATICS The Pre-Socratics (Thales, Pythagoras, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, etc.) were concerned with answering questions such as • what is the world really made up of? • why is the world the way it is? • what explains the changes that happen around us? THE PRE-SOCRATICS • arché- origin or source/the “soul”/the primal matter • the soul’s movement is the ultimate arché of all other movement • arché has no origin outside itself and cannot be destroyed • explains the multiplicity of things in the world DO YOU AGREE THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BODY AND THE SOUL? DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE BOTH? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWWEEN THE TWO? SOCRATES • concerned with the problem of the self • “the true task of the philosopher is to know oneself” • “the unexamined life is not worth living” • underwent a trial for ‘corrupting the minds of the youth’ • succeeded made people think about who they are SOCRATES • ‘the worst thing that can happen to anyone is to live but die inside’ • “every person is dualistic” SOCRATES • man = body + soul • individual = imperfect/permanent (body) + perfect & permanent (soul) PLATO • 3 components to the soul rational soul – reason & intellect to govern affairs spirited soul – emotions should be kept at bay appetitive soul – base desires (food, drink, sleep, sexual needs, etc.) • when these are attained, the human person’s soul becomes just & virtuous WHAT HAPPENS TO A PERSON WHOSE 3 COMPONENTS OF THE SOUL ARE IMBALANCED? (ST.) AUGUSTINE • ‘spirit of man’ in medieval philosophy • following view of Plato but adds Christianity • man is of a bifurcated nature • part of man dwells in the world (imperfect) and yearns to be with the Divine • other part is capable of reaching immortality • body – dies on earth; soul – lives eternally in spiritual bliss with “God” (#lifegoalz) DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE CONCEPT OF THE SOUL COMING TO HEAVEN AFTER DEATH? WHAT MAKES US PEOPLE DIFFERENT FROM ANIMALS? (ST) THOMAS AQUINAS • man = matter + form • matter (hyle) – “common stuff that makes up everything in the universe” • form (morphe) – “essence of a substance or thing”; (what makes it what it is) • the body of the human is similar to animals/objects, but what makes a human is his essence • “the soul is what makes us humans” MODERN PHILOSOPHY Rene DESCARTES • Father of Modern Philosophy • human person = body + mind • “there is so much that we should doubt” • “if something is so clear and lucid as not to be doubted, that’s the only time one should believe.” • the only thing one can’t doubt is existence of the self Rene DESCARTES • “I think, therefore I am” • the self = cogito (the thing that thinks) + extenza (extension of mind/body) • the body is a machine attached to the mind • it’s the mind that makes the man • “I am a thinking thing. . . A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, imagines, perceives.” DO YOU AGREE WITH THE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE SELF (body & soul) SO FAR? WHAT SEEMS TO BE QUESTIONNABLE IN THEIR CONJECTURES? David HUME • disagrees with the all the other aforementioned philosophers • “one can only know what comes from the senses & experiences” (he is an empiricist) • “the self is not an entity beyond the physical body” • you know that other people are humans not because you have seen their soul, but because you see them, hear them, feel them etc David HUME • “the self is nothing but a bundle of impressions and ideas” • impression – - basic objects of our experience/sensation - forms the core of our thoughts • idea – - copies of impressions - not as “real” as impressions - feeling mo lang yun! David HUME • self = a collection of different perceptions which rapidly succeed each other • self = in a perpetual flux and movement • we want to believe that there is a unified , coherent self, soul, mind, etc. but ~~actually~~ it is all just a combination of experiences. Immanuel KANT • agrees with HUME that everything starts with perception/sensation of impressions • there is a MIND that regulates these impressions • “time, space, etc. are ideas that one cannot find in the world, but is built in our minds • “apparatus of the mind” Immanuel KANT • the self organizes different impressions that one gets in relation to his own existence • we need active intelligence to synthesize all knowledge and experience • the self is not only personality but also the seat of knowledge HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DISCUSSION SO FAR? Gilbert RYLE • denies the internal, non-physical self • “what truly matters is the behavior that a person manifests in his day-to-day life.” • looking for the self is like entering LU and looking for the “university” (explain!) Gilbert RYLE • the self is not an entity one can locate and analyze but simply the convenient name that we use to refer to the behaviors that we make MERLEAU-PONTY • a phenomenologist who says the mindbody bifurcation is an invalid problem • mind and body are inseparable • “one’s body is his opening toward his existence to the world” • the living body, his thoughts, emotions, and experiences are all one. MERLEAU-PONTY • if you hate this subject, Merleau-Ponty understands you. ANY QUESTIONS?