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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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Location: The boring part of Washington

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Nem: You remind me of my cousin: nothing makes him happier than the chance to write something extremely cynical.
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Location: England

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It’s not really because I’m being cynical, that’s just something that happens on the way Wink

All our lives we’re fed rubbish. Names, dates, statistics, formulas. Things that have little practical application and that will be largely forgotten six months after learning them. We’re taught to do petty tricks with them, slot them together into crude patterns, jump through the relevant rings. And this is the standard against which intelligence is judged; it’s demeaning, there's no real skill in it, no real intelligence. We think education has moved on from parrot fashion but the assessment criteria are still primarily geared towards the memorisation of trivia. The hardest part of the English exams is remembering quotes, the hardest part of Psychology remembering dates and statistics, the hardest parts of Sociology, Biology, Physics, Maths – are all the memorisation of largely arbitrary trivia. Sure, teachers like reason, but you don’t get marks for it and because of that very little class time is spent on it.

But with most of the philosophy courses I’ve taken there aren't a lot of silly rules. If you’ve got a sound reasoning mind on you that’s all you need to get a first. And at the end of the day the criteria that determine your grade are the ones that matter; not ‘Did you remember the name and the date?’ But, ‘Did you prove your point?’

It’s exhilarating, to have to THINK for a change, like seeing how fast you can run.

Today I did some revision. I know, I was surprised too.

Today I think I may sacrifice several small lolcats to the god of coffee.
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horsin'around



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 1260
Location: Stupidville

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello forum, I'm back.

After a tough legal battle, I know have 11 more horses added to my 29 horse herd. Four of the eleven horses have already passed on. I really hate my job. I'm very tired, because I haven't slept in three days.

I was going to post photographs, but decided they were too graphic for a forum that is otherwise appropriate for minors, so I didn't.

I hate my job.
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 3690
Location: The land of dreams

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*hug* Ponce, if you hated your job, you wouldn't be doing it - not true in every case, but I believe it is in yours. Chin up, you're giving seven horses the chance for a better life and some horsey-happiness, and the ones that died did so in a good environment.

Bleh, I'm bad at this, but don't beat yourself up Ponce, you're doing all you can. Sad
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Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ponce? ::hugs tightly::
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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*hugs Ponce and offers hot chocolate*
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BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Location: England

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aww, Ponce, Sad *squish*
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Allicat



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hugs for Ponce. Feel better cookie?
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Location: England

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wooo! The exam is done. Hehe, I got in there and read the question, had loads of stuff I could have said about the borders of self, of how people are simply energy patterns, and I didn't use any of it. Instead I argued that groups are more than simply the sum of their properties and so to ask what it is to be, 'that self-same person,' is to ask a compound question. One part of which refers to what it is to have all the properties of that person, and one more general mathematical question to do with the existence and borders of groups in general. And thus that fission experiments weren't a problem for the psychological continuity account of personal identity since properly phrased that refers to the personality part of the question rather than the numerical part.

Heh, I can't believe it took me an hour and a half to write eight hundred words. ^_^;
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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Location: The boring part of Washington

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds interesting, but could you translate that to English?
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Location: England

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Numbers are just a way of expressing groups. If I take a pile of marbles and put them on the desk that's one pile, but it's also X number of marbles, which can also be expressed by atomic weight and so on. The problem is that I can change the properties of the things within that group and still have the group persist; a club that has none of its original members for example; indeed it seems I can change all of a thing's properties and have the group persist. Which means what it is to be Nem is not the same as what it is that there is only one of Nem, and what it is for there to be one Nem is not simply that it has all the Nem properties.

There's a group of philosophers who say that to be Nem is simply to be continuous with all, or in some cases just some of, the earlier psychological states she has - Nem is Nem because the Nem-states persist and evolve through time in a continuous chain. And that's the psychological continuity account of personal identity.

Now the fission problem is a mind experiment designed to answer the psychological continuity account of personal identity.
It works a bit like this: Imagine three identical twins; two of them are fatally brain damaged, and one of them is fatally body damaged. You take the brain from the body damaged one, divide it into two parts and stick either of those parts into the two healthy bodies. Now the brain may not actually be divisible that way, and realistically what they mean is that you take all the psychological states from one person and transfer them into two people, but I digress.

Anyway, under the psychological continuity account, the people making the experiment claim, you now have two things - the two people who the first guy's brain went into, psychologically continuous with one thing. And since the account says that what it is to be Nem is simply to be psychologically continuous with all the earlier Nem states they just attempt to say that if that was true then we’d just have one person rather than two. And then they just say that yields a contradiction with the fact that we do have two people and so it can't be true.

My point was essentially that any attempt to define a group in terms of the properties of that group, be they psychological continuity or anything else, is ultimately doomed to failure due to limitations in expressing groups as collections of properties; and that any attempt to define the properties as a consequence of groups is similarly doomed. When people ask what it is to be the one person over there, be it Nem or anyone else, they’re asking two questions; firstly what it is to be singular – a question about the nature of groups and mathematics, and secondly a question about what properties that thing has. When you ask a question of personal identity; what properties make Nem Nem; you’re asking after the properties, and not an explanation of the numerical grouping. And so that there’s two things rather than one at the end of the fission experiment isn’t a problem for the psychological continuity account of personal identity since personal identity doesn’t deal with the limitations of mathematically expressing groups.

...

Kinda, it was more complicated than that and came with a logical proof but that's the gist of it.
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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Location: The boring part of Washington

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get it, I think.

It's like Boomer & Athena from BSG, right?
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TheBSDude, dubbed 'BS' by Asa and nicknamed 'Thebes.'
Keeper of the Tristam, The Amazing Non-Emo Vampire!(tm) and a Massive List of Webcomics.

"I'm like a ninja with no hopes or dreams." --Wally of Dilbert
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Tinalles
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Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem, I'd like to check that I understood your argument correctly.

You're positing:

1) People exist as physical objects consisting of atoms (which form progressively more complex structures, e.g. molecules, cells, and organs).

2) People are therefore groups of things (i.e. the atoms etc).

3) A given unit within the group may change state without altering the existence of the group as a whole. For example, two neurons may form a connection between one another. The formation of that connection alters the state of the group, but does not alter the existence of the group. It's still the same brain, just slightly reconfigured.

4) A personal identity consists of a given configuration of the groups' members, starting at an atomic level and going on up.

5) Personal identity is therefore a property of the group. That being the case, it is a mistake to mix personal identity into questions about the nature of existence, since personal identity has to do with the arrangement of atoms, not their existence.

...

Is that more or less what you were trying to say?
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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Location: The boring part of Washington

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought he was talking about how people are the sum of their psysiology and their experiences.

Basically, you're the same person you were when you were ten, but all your cells have changed and your brain is completely restructured (your brain restructures itself based on chemical input caused by experiences and natural chemicals).

If I'm understanding Nem correctly.
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...In accordance with the prophesy.

TheBSDude, dubbed 'BS' by Asa and nicknamed 'Thebes.'
Keeper of the Tristam, The Amazing Non-Emo Vampire!(tm) and a Massive List of Webcomics.

"I'm like a ninja with no hopes or dreams." --Wally of Dilbert
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TheBritishInvasion



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Hugs Ponce and adds cupcakes to pile of goodies*

Today I have done lots of revision and I'm too tired to think straight, my next exam is tomorrow...I feel oddly prepared for it but I think that's just because I'm so stressed over archaeology, I can't be stressed for anything else.

Today I plan to go to bed early.
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