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Thread: Identity and linguistic acrobatics

  1. #1 Identity and linguistic acrobatics 
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    Ive been considering the limitations of language recently. Certain common linguistic statements have been "getting to me."

    For example the term "myself." This term implies a possessor, and a possessed. Embedded within such a statement is "the self" which is possessed, and the "me" that is possessing.
    A similar thing happens when we express "my mind" - or "my body" etc.

    In both cases the possessor and possessed are assumed/intended/implied to be one. "Myself" is intended to mean "me" and "my mind" is also just "me."

    So, if the mind is me, can it be at the same time "mine" ?

    This seems to cause redundancy problems with concepts of "freewill" and "self-control."
    To say "I" control "myself" is the most circular statement I can imagine....
    Is this "I" not the same as this "self" and what is this "my" thing? - arent they all actually one?

    Since I am (my)self I dont see how I could "control" (my)self.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    My self distinguishes me from your self. I don't see the problem. Perhaps this is because we are two different selves.


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  4. #3  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    This seems to cause redundancy problems with concepts of "freewill" and "self-control."
    To say "I" control "myself" is the most circular statement I can imagine....
    Is this "I" not the same as this "self" and what is this "my" thing? - arent they all actually one?
    Since I am (my)self I dont see how I could "control" (my)self.
    Using language - a human construct (and a very fuzzy one at that) - as an "arbiter" of reality isn't really on.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post

    So, if the mind is me, can it be at the same time "mine" ?
    What makes you think you are your mind? My favorite bumper sticker is "Don't believe everything you think." It expresses the same idea. You are not your mind. Your mind is a voice in your head. It's not you.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    My self distinguishes me from your self. I don't see the problem. Perhaps this is because we are two different selves.
    i realize that is the intended convention.

    all youve done is assert the convention which i was questioning.... obviously i am aware of such a convention since it is that convention which i am questioning.

    i showed a problem associated with the convention. care to offer a solution? or some other relevant perspective?
    =)

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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1 View Post


    What makes you think you are your mind? My favorite bumper sticker is "Don't believe everything you think." It expresses the same idea. You are not your mind. Your mind is a voice in your head. It's not you.
    indeed!

    "I" may be definable in many ways... the description I used was meant only as a starting point.

    so then do you think there is a "self" or an "I" other than the mind? how would you define it?


    and @
    Dywyddyr
    i dont understand what you mean?


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  8. #7  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    so then do you think there is a "self" or an "I" other than the mind? how would you define it?
    Er
    "I" may be definable in many ways...
    "I hurt myself".
    Does that mean you hurt your mind?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    i dont understand what you mean?
    You are using imprecise terms (ones not intended to do so) to investigate reality.
    Ponting out that the language used is, on occasion, contradictory or confusing should NOT be taken to mean that the underlying reality (free will etc) is subject to the same confusion.
    If you're intending to go down any route you first have to define your terms precisely.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  9. #8  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    My self distinguishes me from your self. I don't see the problem. Perhaps this is because we are two different selves.
    i realize that is the intended convention.

    all youve done is assert the convention which i was questioning.... obviously i am aware of such a convention since it is that convention which i am questioning.

    i showed a problem associated with the convention. care to offer a solution? or some other relevant perspective?
    =)
    -two ducks
    But, as I stated, I do not see a problem with the convention. I do not mean, merely, that I do not have a problem with the convention, I do not see the nature of your problem with the convention. For me to offer a solution, or other relevant perspective I would need to understand it.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    "I hurt myself".
    Does that mean you hurt your mind?
    if you are asking whether i am equating self and mind thats not really the pertinent question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr
    You are using imprecise terms (ones not intended to do so) to investigate reality.
    Ponting out that the language used is, on occasion, contradictory or confusing should NOT be taken to mean that the underlying reality (free will etc) is subject to the same confusion.
    If you're intending to go down any route you first have to define your terms precisely.

    i could have certainly spent more time defining terms, i have written longer works on this topic. but i thought it would be more "conversational" to start just by posing the question...

    -two ducks
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    But, as I stated, I do not see a problem with the convention. I do not mean, merely, that I do not have a problem with the convention, I do not see the nature of your problem with the convention. For me to offer a solution, or other relevant perspective I would need to understand it.
    you dont understand the problem?

    can something belong to you if it is you? is it not a requirement of the definition "to possess" that the possessed something need be not the possessor?

    so how can one possess ones-self?

    -two ducks
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  12. #11  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    if you are asking whether i am equating self and mind thats not really the pertinent question...
    That's not what I was asking. In fact I wasn't so much asking as pointing out that YOU had already answered your own question.

    i could have certainly spent more time defining terms, i have written longer works on this topic. but i thought it would be more "conversational" to start just by posing the question...
    Then why did you bother?
    Since you have already noted noted that using "conversational terms" is a source for conflict?
    If you defined the terms precisely then the question itself may not arise: ergo there'd be no problem.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    That's not what I was asking. In fact I wasn't so much asking as pointing out that YOU had already answered your own question.
    i answered it? care to point that out?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post

    Then why did you bother?
    Since you have already noted noted that using "conversational terms" is a source for conflict?
    If you defined the terms precisely then the question itself may not arise: ergo there'd be no problem.
    conversations are also a source for new ideas, and are sometimes even fun....

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  14. #13  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    i answered it? care to point that out?
    One more time:
    You: so then do you think there is a "self" or an "I" other than the mind? how would you define it?
    You again: "I" may be definable in many ways...

    IOW the definition of "I" varies with intent, circumstance and requirements.


    conversations are also a source for new ideas, and are sometimes even fun....
    The philosophy sub-forum isn't the place for conversation, and conversation (given, as previously noted, its inherent imprecision) isn't the correct medium for any rigorous examination of the (apparent) topic.
    So make your mind up: do you want a chat or are you looking for some sort of actual "answer"?
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    i answered it? care to point that out?
    One more time:
    You: so then do you think there is a "self" or an "I" other than the mind? how would you define it?
    You again: "I" may be definable in many ways...

    IOW the definition of "I" varies with intent, circumstance and requirements.
    you are fielding a question posed to a different user with a different context...
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    The philosophy sub-forum isn't the place for conversation, and conversation (given, as previously noted, its inherent imprecision) isn't the correct medium for any rigorous examination of the (apparent) topic.
    So make your mind up: do you want a chat or are you looking for some sort of actual "answer"?
    not the place for conversation? jeeze... alright, might not be the place for me...
    and i think the best way to examine a topic is through a variety of means - conversation being one of them...

    i dont see the exclusivity of your ultimatum... i thought it would be possible to chat and get some answers....

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  16. #15  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    you are fielding a question posed to a different user with a different context...
    I'm pointing out that the question was answered.
    If you're looking for a different answer then rephrase the question, and possibly indicate why the given reply is insufficient.

    not the place for conversation? jeeze... alright, might not be the place for me...
    and i think the best way to examine a topic is through a variety of means - conversation being one of them...
    i dont see the exclusivity of your ultimatum... i thought it would be possible to chat and get some answers....
    Philosophy is a rigorous discipline: it's not a meandering chat.
    There is a General Discussion sub-forum...
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  17. #16  
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    @Dywyddyr
    well thanks mr grinch. i assume the mods will deal accordingly with this thread. if you arent interested you can remove your posts or at least refrain from posting further in this thread.

    -two ducks
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  18. #17  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    if you arent interested you can remove your posts or at least refrain from posting further in this thread.
    I would have been interested.
    If it were a genuine philosophical enquiry.
    But, since it's apparently not...
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  19. #18  
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    "Myself" is a pronoun with a specific meaning of its own, that is independent of the meaning of its parts. I don't think it makes sense to break the word down and analyse its component parts the way you have done. Perhaps if you are interested in the etymology of the word you can do this, however. My own three personal names when studied in this manner mean: "dark-deep-water defender-of-men marsh-dweller". Nobody thinks of those things when they say my name, instead the words are proper nouns that identify me.
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  20. #19  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    But, as I stated, I do not see a problem with the convention. I do not mean, merely, that I do not have a problem with the convention, I do not see the nature of your problem with the convention. For me to offer a solution, or other relevant perspective I would need to understand it.
    you dont understand the problem?

    can something belong to you if it is you? is it not a requirement of the definition "to possess" that the possessed something need be not the possessor?

    so how can one possess ones-self?

    -two ducks
    You are manipulating or misinterpreting the sense of the relevant words. You are taking the meaning of the words as they apply in one context and applying them in a different context. It is equivalent to the following:

    A grunt is a slang term for someone who performs mundane tasks. It is also a guttural release of breath.

    I gave a grunt. How is it possible for one human to give another human that they do not possess.

    The paradox you seem to think exists is a consequence of the ambiguity of terms. The ambiguity is a consequence both of the failure to properly define terms (as pointed out by the single duck) and the subsequent failure to perform that definition properly (as pointed out by Zwirko).
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  21. #20  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Word games in lieu of philosophy.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cOsm
    can something belong to you if it is you?
    Allowing such leads to contradiction, in set theory.
    Russell's paradox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Come back with any questions on the nuts and bolts of set theory if you'd like.

    Added on edit; It's not really a good idea to extrapolate to wildly.
    Last edited by GiantEvil; October 19th, 2013 at 03:48 AM.
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