Tuesday, May 19, 2009

self? (part II)

The project at hand is to further my understanding of my own identity, my sense of personhood, by exploring the contents, structure, and laws of the archive that is me. In interrogating the archive, a daunting array of questions arises, each interrogative seemingly as important as the next. Fortunately the mass of questions can be parsed into four classes, providing for a more systematic and coherent analysis:

person (Who am I?): These questions are aimed at determining those qualities, properties, traits, experiences, circumstances, etc that make you an individual. It encompasses issues of psychology, experiences, memory, dispositions and values.

persistence (Am I still me?): These questions deal with the persistence of personhood over time. Persons can and do change. So how is it that I am the “same” person that I was when I was born? When I was seven? Will I still be me in twenty years? More specifically, these questions are aimed at determining exactly what it is that has persisted that makes you the same person as the child in the photograph.

evidence (What makes me me?): This class of questions address matters of evidence related to personhood. It asks of any answers garnered to the first question, “How do you know?” Also covered under this category are matters of how self knowledge might be obtained.

metaphysics (What am I?): This class is ontological in nature. Am I a rational being? An animal? A rational animal? Am I body or mind?

No comments: