Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.
We know that the constituent cells of our bodies are...continually dying and being replaced. We change in many other ways too; what makes us the same person as we move through time? In the absence of an adequate or persuasive answer, many philosophers have denied that we have an unchanging essence that makes us who we are.
Right.

Like, for all practical purposes, that is actually something to concern ourselves about. Other than out in the deep end of the philosophical pool in places like this. Our biological self manages to keep itself reasonably intact from the cradle to the grave. Until, over time, the biological clock starts to tick tock to its inevitable dismiss. Though, for some, any number of brain afflictions can also have a profound impact on the mental, emotional and psychological components of "I" in turn.

Still, these are clearly embedded in biological imperatives that to a greater or lesser extent doctors and medical professionals can account for when a "sense of self" begins to deteriorate. At least we generally have access to an explanation here.

Where things get trickier is when attempts are made to connect the dots between DNA and "I" acquiring, sustaining or changing moral, political and aesthetic values. Here the complexities embedded in memes intertwined in unique sets of personal experiences and relationships create endlessly existential permutations.
Because of this inability to define ‘identity’ in philosophy, the concept has become something of a hydra (to borrow from Greek legend again!). In their article ‘Beyond “Identity”’ in Theory and Society Vol. 29 (2000), Professor of Sociology Rogers Brubaker and historian Frederick Cooper acknowledge that the word can be understood in many ways and in many different forms, depending on “the context of its use and the theoretical tradition from which the use in question derives.” Furthermore, these usages “are not simply heterogeneous; they point in sharply differing directions.” We’re talking chaos and confusion here.
"...depending on the context".

That sounds familiar. Unless of course there are philosophers here among us able to provide us with a precise definition of identity. And then note how they use this definition to explore, to examine and to encompass their own identity such that the manner in which I ascribe it [in the is/ought world] to dasein is not reasonable.

Given a specific context.

As for the "theoretical tradition"...what's yours?

And yet we know that in any number of extant contexts in the either/or world, chaos and confusion are anything but evident.

It's in how we bridge this gap in explaining our own behaviors that most interest me. Especially when those behavioirs precipitate conflict.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.
Personal Identity

Until recently science was not well placed to make a positive contribution to the debate. But in April 2003 the Human Genome Project for the first time gave us the ability to read humanity’s complete genetic blueprint.
Okay, but where on the blueprint is the genetic material that allows us to grasp when brain matter becomes mindful of itself as brain matter able to become mindul of itself. Freely and autonomously, say.

Let alone the biological parameters of human moral and political interactions. Instead, for some, the more they come to know the more it becomes clear that there is still so much more to know.

I, as a biological imperative and "I" as a social, political and economic construct. Which combinations of deoxyribose, phosphate molecule and the four nitrogenous bases --adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine -- combined with countless historical and cultural permutations embedded in memes accounts for why we choose one behavior rather than another? And why we react to those behaviors in so many conflicting ways?
Every individual has a unique genetic makeup, their own distinct form of the human genome...Furthermore, our basic DNA sequences remain unchanged throughout all stages of our growth, development, and degeneration. The individual’s DNA sequences are stable despite the replacement of chemical elements. They persist irrespective of damage to DNA due to random accidents. The sequences do not depend on cognitive abilities or consciousness.
Okay, how do we go from all of these things we are anchored to in the either/or world to all of the things that tear us apart in the is/ought world? Might it be either the manner in which I construe the meaning of determinism or the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein?

Or, sure, one of your own conjectures?
The Alzheimer’s sufferer who has lost most of her memory has the same genetic base as she had as an infant without self-awareness, or as an adult during the peak of a successful career. Our DNA remains the same from the first instant of an individual’s existence to his or her last breath.
Go figure, right?
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.
In simple terms, our DNA sequences are unique, measurable, and constitute an objective description or plan of an individual’s deep-seated physical makeup. As such, personal identity as defined by the dictionary – ‘the sameness of the person at all times or in all circumstances; the condition or fact that the person is itself and not something else’ – is fully revealed through our DNA patterns: we can now say how and why we are one and the same being throughout our entire lives.
Then it comes down to where the line is drawn. Only there are no "simple terms" for that. Otherwise we would know by now whether this line is closer to the memetic "I" having significant control over the genetic "I", or the genetic "I" being wholly in sync with biological determinism such that the memetic -- historical, cultural, experiential -- "I" is basically just an illusion embodied in a human psychology that is no less wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

Ever and always that same imponderable. Where, when, how, why does the brain become the mind become the self conscious "I" become that entity which chooses this behavior instead of that one?
By using DNA, it is no longer problematic to ground persistence of personal identity in the continuous existence of our changing bodies, and the difficulty in verifying whether one body at one time is the same body at another time is overcome by looking at the genome. The permanence of the abiding substance, the underlying genomic pattern, can be empirically verified even as all else changes over time. So through our understanding of human DNA it’s possible to transfer our ideas of personal identity from subjective notions based on descriptions in the humanities, to an objective concept based on science. Doing so is a major paradigm shift.
Okay, you've made this crucial paradigm shift "in your head". Now tell us how this explains in any definitive manner the way in which "I" seems to be broached, assessed, encompassed and then sustained by so many variables that are not manifestations of the human genome. Those material/phenomenal interactions that are broached, assessed, encompassed and the sustained in any number of complex and ever evolving social, political and economic interactions. How does it not still always come down to connecting the dots between what we think is true and what we are able demonstrate to others is in fact true for all of us? Those aspects of our identity which are actually questioned by others in regard to any number of things.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.
Group Identity

In biological terms, a species is generally defined as a group of organisms capable of successfully exchanging genes, or in other words, capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring. Ability to reproduce with our own kind is, therefore, the essential constant that distinguishes us as human.
Biological imperatives. Our collective identity as the human race. One big inclusive group.

Okay, so how then does one explain the manner in which individual members of this group then go about the business of creating myriad other groups? The ones based on race or ethnicity or gender or sexual preference or religious affiliation or political commitment?

Or is that too just a particularly mind-boggling manifestation of biological imperatives.

But, okay, let's just assume there's a juncture where biology gives way to human autonomy. We don't know exactly when that happened, how that happened and why that happened, but [compelled or not] let's just say that it did.

What then?

Memes. Social, political and economic. And isn't this the factor that seems to cause all the fuss when it comes to identity? Different people in different communities at different points in time historically seem driven to create any number of groups in which someone is either one of them or they are not.

The rest then being history.

All I do is to focus in not on the groups that we choose to be a part of but why we choose the groups that we do. Once we go beyond the parts where biology is destiny. The role that dasein -- encompassed in the OP -- plays in our individual lives.

In other words, once we go beyond this:
This means that communal identity becomes manifest through the ‘trinitarian’ act of reproduction, in which two personal identities of the opposite sex give rise to a new personal identity. As such, human reproduction defines the identity of the group. So DNA operating through human reproduction is at one and the same time the factor that defines our personal identity and gives rise to our communal identity. It is the organic link between both: the common bond without which neither exists.
Yes, for reasons we will almost certainly never truly understand, we were destined to be born, will be destined to die and now we have to deal with the part in the middle.

What then of "I"? Here and now. What can we pin down for sure about ourselves? And what is more or less just an existential leap rooted in dasein?

The part that, in my view, most will steer clear of once the exploration brings them in the general vicinity of my own point of view.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:DNA & The Identity Crisis
Raymond Keogh has a science-based take on personal identity.
Some Implications

If ‘identity’ is confined rigorously to its objective definitions, it unburdens philosophy and the social sciences of the need to, somehow identify it out of an understanding of cognitive processes such as continued memory, sense of being, and/or human behaviour. The implications are overwhelmingly positive.
Okay, so let's pin down with some precision that crucial distinction between the objective definitions you have accepted in regard to your own identity and the parts that I attribute to dasein. By, oh, I don't know, focusing in on a particular set of circumstances in which you choose behaviors based on your assessment of yourself that come into conflict with others who, in ascribing their own sense of identity to value judgments at odds with yours, are ready to do battle with you.

Anyone care to go there?

Where, in my view, the implications are considerably more problematic. Let's bring the author's "intellectual contraption" above down to earth.
Indeed, the consequences of our ability to define identity in objective terms are enormous. Our genes don’t correlate well with our commonly used tools of human classification, such as race, ethnicity, culture or nation. Indeed, the disassociation between our basic underlying genetic structures and our superficial (and often incorrect) understanding of human differences, questions the entire bag of instruments we use to classify humanity.
On the other hand, perhaps there is a biological component embedded in the "human all too human" tendency down through the ages to for all practical purposes make such demographic distinctions. After all, that might explain why they never go away.

Here I tend to make my own leap in the general direction of nurture. Nurture being able to shape and mold nature such that folks are found all up and down the ideological spectrum. But how to finally pin it all down once and for all? The optimal or the only rational manner in which to view such things as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation?

Yes, some day science and philosophy may well be able to grapple with it all objectively and provide us with that definitive assessment.

Or perhaps they already have. If so, links please.
If our systems of classification are suspect, then it’s imperative to modify them in favour of classifying humanity through the one aspect that provides the most fundamental understanding of who we are: namely, our DNA. Human genetics is the new classifier, and group differences are one of grade rather than essence. Although sometimes helpful in the study of human behaviour, they do not serve to constitute separate ‘identities’.
That will almost certainly never happen until our genetic makeup is understood to the point that everything we say and do can be explained "scientifically" as a result of one or another combination of biological factors. And to the extent that, say, moral and political agendas are attributed to this is the extent which it becomes for all practical purposes "beyond our control".

Unless of course I am not understanding his point correctly.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
Kant suggested that the most important question in philosophy was not that of truth (epistemology), goodness (ethics), or beauty (aesthetics) – the topics which so fascinate academic philosophers – but rather the anthropological question, ‘What is the human being?’
Whereas I am more intent on exploring the part where, after coming to a conclusion about that, the focus then is on each of us as individuals out in a particular world at a particular time interacting with others of our own species in a particular context. The stuff I explore in the OP on this very thread: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
He also suggested that this question could only be answered empirically, and not by resorting to, say, metaphysics. This implies, of course, that we can learn more about the human subject by studying anthropology (ethnography), sociology, psychology, ethology, and now evolutionary biology, than by engaging in speculative academic philosophy about human beingness, in the style of Husserl, Heidegger, or Derrida.
Hear, hear!

And yet at the same time Kant is intent on encompassing human interactions by way of "categorical and imperative" moral obligations. Human "beingness" cannot be pinned down through rational thought but human ethics can be?

What am I missing here?

And an empirical examination of human identity will sooner or later bump into those parts of the self that are able to be established as in fact true objectively for all rational men and women and those parts that seems conducive only to "I" as an existential contraption subject to change given new experiences.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
Throughout history, and in all cultures, people have responded to Kant’s fundamental question ‘What is the human being?’ in very diverse ways; even denying that humans have any relation with the material world, as extreme gnostics do. Or Hare Krishna devotees exclaim, ‘You are not your body’. Indeed, there has been a long tradition in Western philosophy that identifies the subject/self with consciousness.
Okay, but where does this actually take us other than back to the point I keep raising: that, in regard to "all things human", what counts is not what you "exclaim" to be true but the extent in which your exclamations are able to be substantiated experientially with respect to a particular context that most in the discussion will be familiar with.

Otherwise, the exchange ends up revolving only around what you believe to be the case about being human. And, down through the ages there have been countless intellectual renditions -- social, political, economic -- of that.
Anthropologists have long emphasized and illustrated the diversity of cultural conceptions of the human subject; but even within the Western intellectual tradition there exists an absolute welter of studies that have attempted to define or conceptualize the human subject in different ways.
And how much more readily that is accomplished when the concepts themselves come to reflect, by and large, how one defines the words in the concepts. That is why, when push comes to shove, anthropologists have been able to depict cultures over time historically and across space culturally that construe "what is the human being" in so many complex and conflicting ways. What does that tell us about the limitations of language itself in capturing these things objectively?
Western responses to Kant’s fundamental question have been extremely diverse and contrasting, and I want to briefly discuss three approaches: the essentialist, the dualist, and the Kantian triadic ontology of the subject.
The "Kantian triadic ontology"?

That ought to be interesting.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
The first approach tends to define the human subject or self in terms of a single essential attribute. The following essentialist characterizations of humanity are well known: Homo economicus (‘economic man’), Homo faber (‘the tool-making primate’), Homo sapiens (‘wise man’), and Homo ludens (‘man the player’). Aristotle famously defined humanity as Zoon logon echon – ‘the animal endowed with reason’. (The tendency to group Aristotle together with the likes of Descartes, Kant and Heidegger as an advocate of a dualistic metaphysic is, however, somewhat misplaced, because Aristotle, as Ernst Mayr always insisted, was fundamentally a biological thinker. Aristotle certainly knew a lot more about the diversity of animal life than did the pretentious Jacques Derrida and his cat.) Robert Ardrey, in contrast, defined humanity as the ‘killer ape’; while Julien La Mettrie and Richard Dawkins seem to envisage the human person as simply a biological machine. A more recent controversial account of humans depicts them in rather Hobbesian fashion as a wholly predatory and destructive animal: Homo rapiens (John Gray). Such misanthropy is debatable, and is simply an update of Friedrich Nietzsche’s notion that humans are a ‘pox’ on a beautiful earth. Many twentieth century deep ecologists have expressed the same negative sentiments, that humans are ‘aliens’ or ‘parasites’ on the rest of the biosphere; and thus famines, the AIDS epidemic, and malaria, were extolled as a way of reducing the human population. Such anti-humanism was long ago critiqued by the social ecologist Murray Bookchin.
What does this reveal if not the many, many diverse and conflicting ways in which my "I" and your "I" and their "I" can be "situated" out in a particular world understood from a particular point of view? Again, all I attempt is to make the distinction between what we have come to believe about the "human condition" "in our head" and that which we are, to the best of our ability, able to demonstrate to others as something that they would/should want to believe too.

And that would certainly be the case in regard to establishing the "single essential attribute" of someone's identity. The "the real me".

The start of course is simple enough: "I" am a biological entity that must acquire everything necessary to remain among the living. Agreed? Ah, but after that, we bump into all of the men and women down though the ages who have gone on to propose hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of diverse and conflicting social, political, economic, philosophical, moral and spiritual explanations for the rest of it.

Sure, what is the alternative but to at least make the attempt. One way or another we have to devise the least dysfunctional manner in which to interact. But to imagine that what you have figured out does in fact reflect the best of all possible worlds?

How could that not be a manifestation of human psychology?

On the other hand: whatever that means.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
The list of what is deemed to be the essential characteristic of the human species seems virtually endless. But significantly, such interpretations based on a single essential characteristic tend to gravitate to two extremes. On the one hand, there are those scholars who firmly believe in the existence of a universal human nature or essence. Generally adopting a highly individual-centered approach, the human subject is thus defined either as a purely rational ego (as with rational choice theorists), or as having innate tendencies and dispositions – as having a universal nature that was forged through natural selection processes during the Palaeolithic, when humans were hunter-gatherers. Thus humans have a nature, and it is fundamentally tribal, as Robin Fox puts it.
Really, how can someone explore in depth human historical and anthropological accounts and come to the conclusion that there is an "essential characteristic" -- an "essential nature" -- able to explain away all of the many, many diverse and ofttimes conflicting moral narratives and political agendas? Especially in regard to the so-called "rational ego"? Instead, once you go beyond biological imperatives that pertain to all of us, the rest becomes a cauldron of perennial confrontation.

As for human nature being essentially tribal, how do you explain the manner in which capitalism has of late basically ripped that demographic font to shreds. It's not a question of if the individual prevails in the modern global economy, but how many millions of individuals are left behind barely able to sustain themselves as wage slaves from week to week to week.

Unless you want to call this assessment itself the essential characteristic of human interactions.
On the other hand, many other scholars, particularly cultural anthropologists, existentialists and postmodernists, deny that humans have an essence or nature. Such scholars often suggest that in becoming human beings, through the development of language, symbolic thought, self-consciousness, and complex sociality, we have moved beyond nature to become free of the chains of our instincts. We have become, in Ernst Cassirer’s term, Homo symbolicum. Such a conception has often been critiqued (by, for instance, Steven Pinker), as it implies that the human mind is simply a ‘blank slate’ which has completely effaced human biological history and the inherited specific faculties of the human brain, and therefore, mind.
Memes for the most part. Social, political, economic. Sexual, artistic, psychological. There are really no aspects of human interactions in which the biological imperatives we all share in common are not confronted, then molded and manipulated, in a ceaseless accumulation of ever evolving human communities. All with their own more or less unique set of circumstances. The part where dasein, conflicting goods and political economy become more and more intertwined in "I".

And the beauty of memes of course is that the moral and political objectivists among us can claim that they and they alone understand what they mean...and why everyone else is obligated to understand them the same way.

You can't do that with genes...with the brute facticity built into human biology in the either/or world. There you either understand or misunderstand what is in fact demonstrable as "natural".

Not that this will ever stop the objectivists. In regard to, among other things, race and ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation. Even the gap between what we think we understand about the evolution of life on Earth and all that there is yet to be known is closed by them in concocting their "one of us" vs. "one of them" mentality.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
Homo Duplex

It has also long been recognized that humans are fundamentally both natural and cultural beings, and that language, self-identity, and social existence are interconnected, and have been throughout human history.
Tell that to those hell-bent on reducing human identity down to either genes or memes. Or intent on emphasizing one far more than the other. If only up in the scholastic clouds.

Really. Pick a behavior, put it in context and describe where the biological self ends and all the rest of it begins. Now, sure, in the either/or world, that is more readily apparent. If Mary has sex and becomes pregnant by John or Jim buys a gun and kills Jane, there are any number of objective facts that can be pinned down in describing what they as individuals experienced. She did this and that happened. He did that and this happened. Every rational human being is able to concur in regard to the self on this level.

But how ought language, identity and social existence be interconnected when the discussion turns instead to the self as a moral agent? Where here do genes meld into memes meld into other genes meld into others memes in pinning down "I" rationally? And where is one more clearly in charge?
As Kenan Malik emphasized, human nature is as much a product of our historical development as it is of our biological heritage. Emile Durkheim famously expressed this dualistic conception of human subjectivity as Homo duplex when he wrote:

“Man is double. There are two beings in him; an individual being which has its foundation in the organism, and a social being which represents the highest reality in the intellectual and moral order”

Like his mentor, Auguste Comte, Durkheim allowed little scope for a science of psychology, let alone any existentialist thought.
This is basically my point. That, in any number of complex contexts, objectivists anchor "I" to either genes or memes. "I" understood either solely or far more by way of nature or nurture. Thus the dog eat dog survival of the fittest advocates of biological imperatives versus those who embrace "humanism" and put all the emphasis instead on learning and unlearning behaviors due to historical and cultural "environments" that shape and mold each new generation to be moral or immoral.

For me, it is more the profoundly problematic intertwining of both. Science works in some instances but the existentialists are closer in others.

I merely suggest a far more "profoundly problematic" self, that, for some of us, result in a fractured and fragmented personality in the is/ought world of value judgments and conflicting goods.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
It has long been recognized, by thinkers as diverse as Edmund Husserl, Erich Fromm, and Lewis Mumford, that there is an essential ‘paradox’ or ‘contradiction’ at the heart of human life. For humans as organisms are an intrinsic part of nature, while at the same time, through our conscious experience, symbolic life, and above all, our culture, we are also in a sense separate from nature.
The mystery of mind. The far more highly evolved self-conscious minds of the human species. In fact, who really knows what the minds of "lesser creatures" perceive and/or conceive about the world around them. We know that we share more "primitive" brains functions with many other animal species. And we often make that distinction between creatures able to grasp on at least some level the existence of "I" -- orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, bottlenose dolphins, elephants, orcas, bonobos, rhesus macaques, European magpies -- and those creatures that seem to be propelled/compelled entirely by biological imperatives embedded in instincts and drives.

We have instincts and drives as well. But, unlike most other animals, we are, given some measure of human autonomy, actually able to react to and to judge the behaviors of those who, in embodying their own more primitive brain functions, don't choose the same values and behaviors as we do.

I merely focus the beam here on the extent to which these interactions are rooted more in dasein -- "I" -- than in what philosophers can tell us about, among other things, the moral obligations of so-called "rational" minds.
In this light humans have been described by Raymond Tallis as an ‘explicit animal’. We have what Cicero described as a ‘second nature’. This duality or dialectic is well expressed in the famous painting in the Vatican by Raphael, The School of Athens, which depicts Plato pointing up to the heavens while Aristotle points down to the earth.
Still, once again, take this particular "intellectual contraption" down off the skyhooks, and integrate the words out in particular worlds understood in conflicting ways by the only species, capable of communicating memes as well. Historical, cultural and interpersonal in any number of particular human communities.

Instead, the discussion continues on -- in articles such as this -- only up in the clouds of scholastic abstraction:
Human duality is also reflected in the fact that the human brain is composed of two distinct hemispheres, with distinct functions, and two very different ways of being in the world. The left hemisphere is associated with language, symbolic thought, analysis, facts or things in isolation, focussed attention, and the non-living aspects of the world; while the right hemisphere is associated with visual imagery, pre-linguistic thought, synthesis, patterns and relations, things in context, and organic life. Reason, science, creativity and selfhood all involve both sides of the brain, and there is no simple relationship between the hemispherical differences and ethnic, class or gender affiliations. It is significant however that if the right side of the brain is severely damaged, the left side becomes overactive, and an ultra-rationalist sensibility may develop. This sensibility is manifested in a predilection for abstraction and geometric patterns, a flight from the body, a feeling of fragmentation, a lack of empathy for others (egoism), and alienation from the natural world – the postmodern condition, or the schizophrenic personality lauded by Gilles Deleuze?
Whereas the "duality" that I am most intrigued by revolves around the distinction between I in the either/or world and "I" in the is/ought world.

These biological elements/imperatives are important to grapple with and to grasp but once one is convinced they have the clearest possible understanding of them, how is this knowledge applicable to identity as an existential contraption confronting conflicting goods out in a particular political economy?

Always assuming of course that the is/ought world reflects the actual existence of free will in our own species. In other words being able to explain scientifically how the evolution of biological life on Earth actually resulted in the autonomous mind.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
A Triadic Ontology

In this seminal text [Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (1798)] Kant suggested that there were three distinct, but interrelated, ways of understanding the human subject: firstly as a universal species-being (mensch) – the “earthly being endowed with reason” on which Kant’s anthropological work was mainly focussed...
Reason derived first and foremost from the biological imperatives rooted in the evolution of life on Earth. Then the endless debates over whether the reason men and women are endowed with is better understood from the perspective of nature or nurture...from genes or memes.
...secondly as a unique self...
But: unique only given the extraordinary complexity of the genetic I and the memetic "I" out in a particular world historically, culturally and circumstantially; a profoundly problematic subjective/subjunctive "self" that evolves over time embedded in very, very different social, political and economic contexts. And awash further in the exigencies embedded in contingency chance and change.

All of which is subsumed for the objectivists among us in that rock solid "real me" ever and always in sync with "the right thing to think, feel, say and do".
...and thirdly as part of a people – as a member of a particular social group (volk).
Same thing. The parts that are in fact true for all in the community and the parts that seem true for some but not for others.
Notwithstanding the last element, Herder always insisted that Kant, with his emphasis on universal human faculties such as imagination, perception, memory, feelings, desires and understanding, tended to downplay the importance of language, poetry and cultural diversity in understanding human life. But as a pioneer anthropologist, Herder also emphasized that anthropology, not speculative metaphysics or logic, was the key to understanding humans and their life-world, that is, their culture.
Anthropology. Flesh and blood human beings interacting in extant historical, cultural and experiential communities in which once again some things are able to be demonstrated as true objectively for all.

And some things aren't.

All I can do here then is to seek out those who share in the things that Kant either emphasized or downplayed. And in regard to a particular context most here will be familiar -- from "the news" say -- discuss in more detail the "human subject".
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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
Long ago the anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn, following Kant, made a statement that is in some ways rather banal but which has always seemed to me to encompass an important truth. Critical of dualistic nature-culture conceptions of the human subject, Kluckhohn, along with the pioneer psychologist Henry Murray, suggested that every person is, as a species-being (a human) in some respects like every other person; but they are also all like no other human being in having a unique personality (or self); and, finally, that they have affinities with some other humans in being a social and cultural being (or person).
Which is basically what I am myself suggesting in the OP:

a man amidst mankind...

That is the paradox, right? I am an individual....a man; yet, in turn, I am but one of 6,500,000,000 additional men and women that constitutes what is commonly called "mankind". So, in what sense can I, as an individual, grasp my identity as separate and distinct from mankind? How do I make intelligent distinctions between my personal, psychological "self" [the me "I" know intimately from day to day], my persona [the me "I" project -- often as a chameleon -- in conflicting interactions with others], and my historical and ethnological self as a white male who happened adventitiously to be born and raised to view reality from the perspective of a 20th century United States citizen?

How does all of this coalesce into who I think I am? And how does this description contrast with how others grasp who they think I am? Is there a way to derive an objective rendering of my true self? Can I know objectively who I am?

No, I don't think so.

Identity is ever constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed over the years by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of variables---some of which we had/have no choice/control regarding. We really are "thrown" into a fortuitous smorgasbord of demographic factors at birth and then molded and manipulated as children into whatever configuration of "reality" suits the cultural [and political] institutions of our time.

On the other hand:

In my view, one crucial difference between people is the extent to which they become more or less self-conscious of this. Why? Because, obviously, to the extent that they do, they can attempt to deconstruct the past and then reconstruct the future into one of their own more autonomous making.

But then what does this really mean? That is the question that has always fascinated me the most. Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my "self" is, what can "I" do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we "anchor" our identity to so as to make this prefabricated...fabricated...refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain.


And it would seem to be a "banal" example of, well, commonsense. What could possibly me more obvious in regard to "I" interacting with others out in a particular world historically, culturally and circumstantially?

But over and again, I come across objectivists of all stripes who reject it. Why? Because to the extent this is a reasonable manner in which to view human interactions in a world teeming with conflicting goods -- with contingency, chance and change -- the less reasonable it is to suppose that the objectivists can demonstrate that they are instead "at one" with the "real me" able to transcend history and cultural and circumstances in order to grasp -- re Kant and others -- the one behavior that all rational and virtuous men and women are obligated to choose.
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iambiguous
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
....three categories relate to three levels or processes in which all humans are embedded; namely, the phylogenetic, pertaining to the evolution of humans as a species-being; the ontogenetic, which relates to the life history of the person within a specific familial and biological setting; and, finally, the socio-historical, which situates the person in a specific social-cultural context.
Okay, you're a serious philosopher. Do these distinctions seem reasonable to you? If so, in regard to an experience you had that was of particular importance to you, how would you describe it insofar as to the best of your ability you focus in on distinguishing these three categories of "I", "I" and "i".

My point would be that there are biological/demographic facts about you. Facts that all rational men and women would accept because they can be reasonably demonstrated to be facts. The first because you are in fact a member of the human species given the evolution of life on planet Earth. The second because there are any number of facts that can be established in regard to our "specific familial and biological setting". The third because there are as well numerous facts that can be shared with others regarding the demographic parameters of the life we live.

The self here is an objective entity interacting with other objective entities such that actual truths can be exchanged in which all reasonable can come to agree regarding. Thus allowing us to, among other things, go about the business of interacting with others from day to day without everything being brought into question.
So Kluckholm, not unlike Kant, thought human beings need to be conceptualized in terms of three interconnected aspects: as a species-being characterized by biopsychological dispositions and complex sociality; as a unique individual self; and finally, as a social being or person, enacting social identities or subjectivities – which in all human societies are multiple, shifting and relational. For an anthropologist like Kluckhohn the distinction between being a human individual and being a person was important, for many tribal people recognize non-human persons, while under chattel slavery, the law treated human slaves not as persons, but rather as things or commodities.

Here I can only keep coming back to what I deem to be the most important distinction of all: the extent to which, however one comes up with categories from which one approaches any particular sense of identity, one is able demonstrate that what he or she believes "in my head" is in fact true. Now we don't have many "tribal" folks among us but for them they embodied a culture in which, by and large, there was a place for everyone in the tribe/village and everyone had damn well better be in their place. Things were only as they could ever be given one or another collection of Gods.

For the rest of us though in the "modern world" there are considerably more options. Socially, politically and economically. But my distinction still holds. To what extent as one of the three "selves" above are you able to demonstrate that what you think is true is in fact true.

Shifting back and forth between and intertwining the either/or world and the is/ought world.

Given a particular context.
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Re: Dasein/dasein

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iambiguous wrote:Kant & The Human Subject
Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists.
Throughout the twentieth century, many scholars, within diverse intellectual traditions, did develop a more integrated approach to the understanding of the human subject, recognizing, like Kant, the need to develop a more complex model of the subject.
"Scholars with diverse intellectual traditions", explore the "human subject".

Enough said?

The human subject as an intellectual contraption that bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to flesh and blood human beings going about the business of attaining and then sustaining the least dysfunctional world.

You know, to actually live in.

Instead, the complexity [as in this very article] will revolve almost entirely around words defining and then defending other words.
The sociologist Marcel Mauss, for example, in contrast to Durkheim’s concept of Homo duplex, conceptualized the human subject as l’homme total, conceived as a biological, psychological and social being; a living being with inherent capacities and powers and a unique self constituted through diverse social relationships.
Okay, but how are differentiations of this sort not just basically common sense? There is the self as a biological entity embedded in the human species. But even here the genetic programing of particular individuals is all over the biological map. Some focus on gender, others on race, still others on temperament and character. Where here do genes end and memes begin? And the psychological "I" intertwined in the social "I" embedded in countless historical, cultural and circumstantial contexts...how can this not make the task of pinning down, among other things, the motivations and intention of any one of us in any particular context nothing short of profoundly problematic?
Likewise, within the pragmatist tradition, George Herbert Mead and C. Wright Mills emphasized that the human being was simultaneously a biological organism, a self with a fundamentally social psychic structure, and a person embedded within a specific historical context.
Exactly. Given this enormously complex intertwining of variables from countless "disciplines", does not pragmatism seem the best approach to, say, moral and political interactions, to government policies?

Then yet more "schools of thought":
The Marxist phenomenologists Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Herbert Marcuse, the Neo-Freudian scholars Erich Fromm and Erik Erikson (who attempted a synthesis between psychoanalysis and, respectively, Marxism or anthropology), and the cultural anthropologists Clyde Kluckhohn, Irving Hallowell and Melford Spiro, have all attempted, in various ways, to convey the complex triadic nature of human subjectivity. The postmodernist mantra that with the developments in biotechnology and computer science (the web) we are ‘humans no more’ – the title of a recent text – is pure reverie [dream], to use a term of that rather neglected French scholar Gaston Bachelard.
So, given all of this, how on earth are we to explain the sheer number of moral and political objectivists among us? Both down through the ages and cross-culturally. Well, excluding determinism as the only explanation for everything, I can only presume that there must be something in how the human brain is hard-wired that we are "driven" towards a psychological need to pull everything together into one or another rendition of this: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=185296
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