PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Saturday, September 27, 2014

PhiloMadrid SUNDAY 5th October meeting topic: Heroism

PhiloMadrid SUNDAY 5th October meeting topic: Heroism


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Friday, September 26, 2014

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Is it possible to live forever? + NEWS

Essays + NEWS

Dear friends,

This Saturday we are discussing: Is it possible to live forever?

No doubt this could come very handy, with all those unending books we
want to read about philosophy, and an equally long list about other
subjects, places to visit, discussions to engage with friends and so on.
Unfortunately, the answer is no, but as I argue in my few paragraphs (at
the end of this email) this does not mean that this question is a
useless question for a philosophy debate. On the contrary, it is hidden
door to some very serious philosophy.

------Essay from Ruel

Hello Lawrence,

Below is the link to the short essay I wrote on the topic to be
discussed next PhiloMadrid meet-up.

http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/is-it-possible-to-live-forever/
Thank you.
See you on Saturday.
Ruel

--- from Miguel – Maths meeting.

Estimado tertuliano,

Te invitamos a asistir a la próxima Tertulia de Matemáticas el próximo
Martes 30 de Septiembre a las 19:00h en El Centro Segoviano de Madrid:
El Misterio (https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/30-9-2014)

Aprovechamos para felicitar al tertuliano Eduardo Pérez Molina, cuyo
artículo sobre los orígenes de los gráficos por ordenador (que se
adjunta) ha sido publicado en la revista de ingeniería IEEE.

Os enviamos también la conferencia que sobre el Bitcoin el tertuliano
Juan Valentín Pastrana pronunció el pasado 3 de Septiembre en el Ateneo
de Madrid:

http://youtu.be/_HFa2uc6tOc (exposición)
http://youtu.be/OxLL3-r_U6s (debate primera parte)
http://youtu.be/OZ6mbJRm9As (debate segunda parte)
http://www.callebitcoin.es, (bitcoin en la calle Serrano).

Saludos cordiales,
Tertulia de Matemáticas
(https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/)

---- from Norma – couses and programme about Seville see link to blog
La magia de los mitos, la literatura y la ópera inspirados en Sevilla
a cargo de Norma Sturniolo
---- Curso -- Los martes a partir de las 18:00. El curso empieza el 7 de
octubre y finaliza el 20 de enero de 2015----
More details:
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/la-magia-de-los-mitos-la-literatura-y.html

---An event at the British Cemetery 28th September,
Aprovechamos la oportunidad para comunicar a los Friends del British
Cemetery los detalles de la presentación de la nueva publicación de la
Editorial La Felguera en el Cementerio Británico.
David J. Butler MBE
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/fwd-friends-of-british-cemetery.html

---review one of Gloria's books
If anyone would like to do a book review of one of Gloria's books for a
blog or media please get in touch with me.
Name of book: FREAKING OUT (Lo Esmás flipando) es. Chiado
First book: WHINNY: Cuentos o relatos negros pero blancos (1985-2013)
ed. Palibrio


----short essay Lawrence

Is it possible to live forever?

The short answer is of course No. And there is no doubt that this type
of questions stem can easily stem from our beliefs of eternal gods.
Hence, if god can live forever why can't we? But until we have some
evidence about the existence of a god or gods these questions do not
make sense in the context of our question.

A more intelligent approach to the question is to look at it in the
logical context of extension: if we can live for so many years why can't
we live forever? The problem is of course the "forever" part; nothing is
forever. The second law of thermodynamics (or whatever they call it
today) makes sure of that.

Some might argue that this question should be interpreted in the
metaphorical sense. Maybe our physical life might be short, but people
will remember us long after our atoms have been recycled and our legacy
enjoyed by others. Hence, this is the way me just might live forever.

Unfortunately, there is nothing metaphorical about death. And although I
have no problem with others remembering me, but between being remembered
by others and me remembering myself I know which one I prefer! Hence, as
philosophers we are only interested in facts.

Gods are not facts, the second law of thermodynamics seems to be a more
biding fact than our desire to live forever, and, of course, metaphors
are not facts.

A more reasonable question to ask would therefore be: for how long can a
human being potentially live for?

Firstly, this question is a biological question, since it is an
empirical question to discover the potential life span of a human being,
in what context and how can we achieve this potential. Secondly, and
this is the philosophical question part, we have to ask: should we try
to achieve this potential, are we entitled to achieve this potential,
and is there a causal link between length of life and quality of life?

Indeed, it is this debate between length of life and quality of life
that mostly concerns society (at least western society) today. And one
of the reasons is that these past fifty or so years we have experienced
both quality and length of life. Today we know that access to a
nutritional diet, health care and stable life leads to longer life and a
better quality of life.
Some might argue that today the quality of health care is being
regressed due to political policies that have replaced clinical
objectives with financial ones. And access to quality food is equally
questionable even though today we have more access to food than ever.

Social instability is also being challenged today. And although we don't
expect catastrophic civil revolutions anytime soon such headlines as the
following do indicate that not all is well with society: three million
people unemployed, the average person cannot afford to buy a house, or
entry wages to the labour market are equal to those in 1993 etc etc.
Maybe we can argue that today we don't have political instability but
economic instability, which from cursory observations tend to affect
individuals more than society in general.

So the biological question of potential life has to be supported with
the question of what kind of environmental conditions are conducive to
achieve a long life. Hence, it is not just a question of genes but also
a matter of the environment. And here is where we can find a range of
philosophical issues in political philosophy, ethics, medical ethics,
economic philosophy etc.

Although our question at hand is not philosophically interesting,
however, hiding behind these types of questions are clear issues that
can affect and influence how long we live for. And how long we live for
does introduce issues for philosophers. And therefore, is it possible
for us to live longer than we actually do? Would this then be a moral
obligation on us as individuals, on society as a collective of peers or
our governments as guardians of our wellbeing?

Best Lawrence


tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at
O'Donnell's
Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Is it possible to live
forever? + NEWS

La magia de los mitos, la literatura y la ópera inspirados en Sevilla




La magia de los mitos, la literatura y la ópera inspirados en Sevilla



a cargo de Norma Sturniolo


¿Dónde nació don Juan, el gran seductor de mujeres de todos las clases sociales que carece de remordimientos y cuya temeridad lo lleva a desafiar al mundo de los muertos? ¿Dónde nació Fígaro, el barbero que es el factótum, el que resuelve con desparpajo y astucia los encargos que le hacen? ¿Dónde nació Carmen, la bella gitana que despierta pasiones, que trabaja como cigarrera en la Fábrica de Tabacos de Sevilla, que va por los caminos con contrabandistas, arruina la carrera de un soldado y defiende su libertad hasta morir? La respuesta es siempre la misma: en Sevilla, la mágica capital hispalense rica en historia, arte y leyendas.
¿Qué relación existe entre las cigarreras reales de la Fábrica de Tabaco de Sevilla que hicieron exclamar en 1843 a Theophile Gautier: ¡Oh, musa ven en mi ayuda! cuando  quería describirlas y el retrato de la cigarrera Carmen? ¿Y entre el personaje real Miguel de Mañara nacido en el siglo XVII y la leyenda de don Juan? ¿Y entre Fígaro y el barbero Fígaro que buscaba el viajero inglés Augustus J. C. Hare? ¿Y entre las obras literarias donde aparecen estos personajes y las óperas Carmen de Georges Bizet, Las bodas de Fígaro de Mozart y El barbero de Sevilla de Rossini?

 Todo eso lo iremos viendo en el curso y mucho más porque Sevilla con sus maravillosos monumentos, su historia, sus leyendas y su mítico Guadalquivir ha sido el escenario de muchas óperas. Se la llama la ciudad de las cien óperas, pero ¡hay más óperas relacionadas con esta ciudad! Donizetti eligió escenarios sevillanos para La Favorita y María de Padilla, Verdi comienza su ópera La forza del destino con un escenario sevillano, la única ópera de Beethoven, Fidelio se desarrolla en una fortaleza de los alrededores de Sevilla y así hasta nuestros días.

Este programa nos permitirá realizar un amplio recorrido por distintos movimientos artísticos (Barroco, Clasicismo, Romanticismo).Analizaremos obras literarias de diferentes épocas, lugares y estilos y óperas correspondientes a distintas corrientes musicales. Proyectaremos las más fascinantes representaciones de Ópera.
Los martes a partir de las 18:00. El curso empieza el 7 de octubre y finaliza el 20 de enero de 2015
Lugar: Paseo de la Castellana 135
Precio: 40 euros al mes
Primer pago bimestral en octubre. Segundo pago bimestral en diciembre

INSCRIPCIONES en Negocenter , Viajar con arte: Hasta 3 de octubre  telefónicamente en el 91 844 47 98 10 a 13,30 y 17 a 20)

Friday, September 19, 2014

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Destiny + News

Dear Friends,

This Saturday we are discussing, destiny.

By the time you read this email the destiny of Europe would have already
been set on Thursday the day before.

I do not just mean the yes or no outcome of the vote in the Scottish
referendum for independence from the UK, but also the causal
implications this irresponsible gamble by a European country has
inflicted on the European Union.

The issue is that the rest of the European countries, with all their
lazy regional politicians seeking glory and infantile attention will
also want a referendum for cessation from whatever piece of land they
call the oppressive country. So the destiny of Europe and, by
implication, us, is now set. The agenda will now be for irrelevant
politicians to take central stage in debates on independence and
cessations and constitutional mumbo jumbo; even the ducks would want
their pond declared international waters at this rate. And all these
goings on right at the very same time when European wealth, talent and
opportunities are being plundered by faceless corporations and
irresponsible countries.

We think that destiny is something set in the past to be enacted in the
future, and although it affects us completely, we are the last ones to
know what is going on. But should we?

Well we do not need to go into esoteric ideas of destiny to predict what
can happen in the future. For example, we know for a fact that an
economy that functions on boom and bust cycles in the property market is
destined to price itself out of stability. Add to this an unstable set
of neighbours who are equally greedy and you have the making of a long
term financial disaster.

There is no mysterious destiny to economic instability, there are only
causal effects; the second world war is the prime example. Politicians
will inevitably become puppets at the call and behest of those who own
the credit lines. This slippery slope situation can easily lead to
people taking desperate measure for personal survival by legitimising
and legalising such treasonable acts as destroying the nation and the
country.

But the call of the sirens from the deep sea of independence is very
strong and attractive to the gullible and the weak and especially those
who watch the wrong type of Hollywood films. If people are prepared to
believe in such metaphysical whimsies as "independence" then why not
give them smoke and mirrors and charge them a handsome price plus a
decent interest rate?

Some might think that an independent Scotland would mean the end of the
United Kingdom; and the prosperity of Scotland. To cut a long history
short, people quickly forget that the Kingdom was built on the doctrine
of divide and rule. If you divide and rule you can charge double with no
bulk discount; if you stand united and cooperate you can negotiate a
decent bulk discount rate and favourable credit terms!

European regions might want and get independence because now they have
clearly seen their destiny and how to get there! But they also become a
serious financial risk and hence are charged interest accordingly. The
question is whether all those who collect the interest will be destined
to happily play the merry tune all the way to the bank?

Below you have the link to Ruel's essay.
Hello Lawrence,
Just want to share the link to access the essay I wrote on the next
PhiloMadrid topic.

http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/on-destiny/
Thanks and see you on Saturday.
Always,
Ruel

---An event at the British Cemetery,
Aprovechamos la oportunidad para comunicar a los Friends del British
Cemetery los detalles de la presentación de la nueva publicación de la
Editorial La Felguera en el Cementerio Británico.
David J. Butler MBE
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/fwd-friends-of-british-cemetery.html

---review one of Gloria's
If anyone would like to do a book review of one of Gloria's books for a
blog or media please get in touch with me.
Name of book: FREAKING OUT (Lo Esmás flipando) es. Chiado
First book: WHINNY: Cuentos o relatos negros pero blancos (1985-2013)
ed. Palibrio

Finally, regarding the job offer by Jim unfortunately I don't have any
more information but have forwarded all the emails I received.

Best

Lawrence




tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at
O'Donnell's
Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Destiny + News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fwd: Friends of the British Cemetery

Aprovechamos la oportunidad para comunicar a los Friends del British
Cemetery los detalles de la presentación de la nueva publicación de la
Editorial La Felguera en el Cementerio Británico.
David J. Butler MBE
de parte de la Comisión Gestora del Cementerio Británico, Madrid
**************************************
Presentaremos *Ilustraciones al Libro de Job* de William Blake en el
Cementerio Británico de Madrid.
Domingo 28 de septiembre, 19 horas | Entrada Libre | British Cemetery
(Calle Comandante Fontanes, 7. Metro Urgel)
¿Presentar un libro en un cementerio? Pues sí. No nos imaginamos un
mejor lugar que el bellísimo Cementerio Británico de Madrid, un enclave
especial lleno de encanto donde el próximo domingo 28 de septiembre,a
las 19 horas,
presentaremos *Ilustraciones al Libro de Job* del gran William Blake,
nuestro nuevo y hermoso libro. Blake estaría orgulloso de ser recibido
de esta manera. Queremos veros, contaros y hablaros. ¿Qué sucederá? Como
siempre, es secreto. Te esperamos.

www.lafelguera.net
www.britishcemeterymadrid.com

Las Ilustraciones al Libro de Job (compuesto por 21 láminas de
extraordinaria belleza) fue la última obra que realizó William Blake,
cuya leyenda permanece inalterable, oscura y perfecta. De él se ha dicho
prácticamente de todo: visionario, profeta de la igualdad, genio
adelantado a su tiempo, poeta de los contrarios, la imaginación y el
genio poético, radical y extremista político, precursor del surrealismo,
loco maravilloso. Blake, quien supo «reducir lo humano a la poesía y la
poesía al Mal» (Georges Bataille), vivió humildemente toda su vida y
mantuvo contacto con todo tipo de seres y entidades. Su obra es
inagotable y nos advierte de que o creamos nuestro propio sistema de
ideas o acabaremos siendo esclavos, y quizá por ello él creó su propio
mundo que hoy intentamos comprender. Posiblemente «el loco más sagrado
de Inglaterra» (Dr. Gull en From Hell, de Alan Moore) sea el artista
inglés más brillante de todos los tiempos y «tan grande como Rembrandt»
(John Ruskin).
Las Ilustraciones al Libro de Job, inquietante y bello, es su particular
y original visión del célebre libro bíblico del Antiguo Testamento que
tanto ha interesado a historiadores y teólogos.

La Intendencia
La Felguera | Editores
"Una editorial que, bajo la apariencia de una sociedad secreta, se
dedica a revelar los mejores secretos de nuestra época"

Thursday, September 11, 2014

entitlement some ideas form Ceit

Hi Lawrence, a few thoughts on entitlement:

In the past we've discussed human rights and whether we get what we
deserve, which are related ideas to entitlement. If we have a right to
something, like education, we can say we are entitled to an education.
If we perform a service and deserve payment or reward, we are entitled
to that reward. However, the noun "entitlement" is most often used in a
negative way. Somebody with a feeling of entitlement expects reward,
deference or respect unreasonably, without fulfilling any conditions
that would ordinarily mean deserving those things. Entitlement is a
selfish and self-absorbed way of viewing the world, since feeling
entitled means everything you want is what you should get, no matter how
other people can be inconvenienced.

The trick is being able to accurately judge what we deserve from other
people or from life in general. Some people are trained to expect more
for themselves by parents who spoil them, others seem to develop the
idea of being "owed" for their existence on their own. Older people
often consider the young to have a sense of entitlement because of
greater choices in acquisition that they (usually) have. I have to have
a new phone, I should be able to buy what I want, I deserve to live
however I want to. Again, what is necessary is being clear about what
it means to live adequately and without undue duress; the requirements
for a "good" life evolve over time, and the standard of living of 50 or
even 25 years ago is not acceptable to many people today. Do we deserve
the most advanced technology at every moment? Are we entitled to
gourmet food on every corner? Should we expect every person we meet to
automatically be in awe of our intellectual brilliance before we even
open our mouths? Are these the rights we deserve, or are we suffering
from an unreasonable feeling of entitlement?

Ceit

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Entitlement + News Job Offer

2 essays + Teaching English Job



Dear Friends,

This Saturday we are discussing the topic: Entitlement.

We may even start by asking ourselves whether there is a difference
between a right and an entitlement? In my few ideas on the subject I do
not address this issue partly because entitlement is something closer to
being deserving because of something rather than having a right because
of something we are. So maybe these sound the same but are not really
the same. As you know I do not read the essays I receive before I send
out the email so I have no idea what Ruel's position is on the subject.


---Job offer
In the meantime I am including a job offer from Jim for a native English
teacher, if you are interested please let me know and I'll pass on your
details to Jim (I don't need your CV!!!).

Hi Lawrence,
I was wondering if you know anyone interested in a job as an English
Teacher in an Academy in Vallecas. The conditions are excellent ;
approximately 25 hours per week, social security, paid holidays and a
salary of around 1400 euros per month. I can give you the detail of the
Academy. By the way, the applicant should be native speaker.
Regards,
Jim


---Essay by Ruel

Hi Lawrence,
I wrote an essay on the next PhiloMadrid topic. Here is the link:
http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/on-entitlement/
See you on Saturday.
Best,
Ruel




Lawrence - Entitlement

In a social structure based on privilege and dominance, entitlement to
something is a light relief from serfdom or exploitation. Being entitled
to something and those in power recognising and giving one whatever one
is entitled to is an important achievement and satisfaction in one's life.

However, a sense of entitlement does not arise from an act of
generosity, or even a gift, but something more predictable; for example,
a contract, a legal precedent, a social norm or custom and even maybe a
sense of what is morally the right thing to do. There is also one thing
clear about entitlement and that is whatever we are entitled to it is
because we deserve it.

The idea of being entitled to something because we deserve it is not a
problem area and certainly within the confines of what is morally
acceptable. But we also seem to hold a sense of difference between being
entitled to something because we are underprivileged, or because it is
some sort of exchange for "services" rendered. And I enclose services in
quotes because this should be interpreted in the widest possible sense.

Indeed, a key meaning is that services can cover labour services, for
example mowing the lawn for someone in exchange for twenty Euros, up to
a duty to do one's best and be a positive influence and contributor to
one's society.

Whilst there is no doubt that society should help those who for some
reason cannot help themselves, do we have a duty to endeavour to
contribute in a positive manner to the wellbeing of society and do we
have a duty to improve ourselves so that we can help contribute better
to society?

Under a rational and cooperative system of co existence I would say that
there is no doubt about the need to help those who cannot help
themselves. And that we have to try and contribute to society in the
knowledge that others are on a similar mission and relationship with
society. Of course, cooperation does not only mean contribution,
cooperation is by definition not a one way street, but rather a
predictive system where we know in advance that our efforts will also be
rewarded in the same way as other people will be rewarded for their efforts.

A privileged system is a zero sum game. Under a privileged and serf
system there is no exchange of duty and reward and no cooperation. Thus
being entitled to something because we a serfs or oppressed does not
solve any moral or even legal issues. Basically, being entitled to
something because we are underprivileged can itself be abused and hold a
cooperative system to ransom. Under a privileged system we can try to
project abuse as a strategy to balance the system. Thus the abused
becomes the abuser. Under a system based on privilege, being entitled to
some as of right can become a currency to extract entitlement when maybe
there are none to be had.

Best Lawrence





tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at
O'Donnell's
Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Entitlement + News Job Offer

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Friday, September 05, 2014

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Is personal identity a myth? + News

Dear Friends,

I hope you had a good holiday-August and recovered from your holidays.

Our subject for this SATURDAY meeting is: Is personal identity a myth?

This is quite an apt topic for us since our sojourn in August should
have refreshed us and charged our batteries for the next push in life.
And we have no doubt that the person who left for holidays is still the
person who came back. But why should that be? This is the topic for
Saturday (6:30pm). In the meantime Ruel has sent us a link to his essay
and I have written a few ideas on the topic as well.

Hello Lawrence,
Here is the link to the essay I wrote on the topic for Saturday's
PhiloMadrid
http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/is-personal-identity-a-myth/
Thank you and see you on Saturday.
All the best,
Ruel


Last Sunday we also agreed that I should post the topic on the blog as
soon as possible after the meeting. So theoretically I will try to post
the topic on the blog <http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/> on my way
home from the meeting! Incidentally I will also post any news on the
blog as soon as I receive it.

Finally David has sent us detail of the English-speaking community's
Summer Fete next week

From David---
Summer Fete - 11 de septiembre 2014 a partir de las 19,00 horas
English-speaking community in Madrid and "Friends of the British Cemetery"
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/2014/09/amigos-del-cementerio-britanico.html




Lawrence - Is personal identity a myth?

The traditional question of personal identity is usually discussed as a
disparate collection of issues that by their very nature seem to compete
for prominence rather than to offer reasonable understanding of personal
identity and the relevant philosophical questions. Maybe the most
important of these questions is: how does our identity persist over
time? How can our identity remain the same when we obviously change?

A detailed discussion on the topic can be found at the Standford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy here: Olson, Eric T., "Personal Identity",
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N.
Zalta (ed.), URL =
<http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/identity-personal/>.
It is not my intention to discuss this article, but maybe to clarify
some issues as I write.

Olsen does try to clarify the persistent question which we can sum up as
a question of "numerical" identity rather than qualitative identity.
Roughly this persistence question is that our attributes (body, desires,
likes, thinking beliefs) when we were young are different from those of
today, but something is consistent throughout this time that means that
there has been only one of us all along. Just because we are different
now from the time when we were very young, it does not mean that there
are two of us; the issue is one of numerical identity. Olsen gives as an
example twins, although we cannot distinguish one twin from the other
qualitatively we might say they are the same, but they are not
numerically identical. Twin A is not identical to Twin B and therefore
we can safely conclude that both have different and independent personal
identities.

Some might bring up the matter of cloning, while this might sound
promising to show that personal identity is a myth I am inclined to
argue that cloning does not violate the numerical identity test on the
grounds that it is the DNA (blue print) that similar (qualitative) in a
clone but the cells are neither the same (numerical) nor the organs are
numerically the same in the clone as in the parent.

Of course, in real life we do not have any problems attributing identity
to the same person consistently over time. Sometimes, when we do not see
a particular person over a period of time we might even find it
difficult to identify that person, but when we do identify them we have
no real problem to link their past with what we see now. Sure we will be
interested in finding out what happened to them, how they changed and
why they changed, but that does not mean that they now have a different
personal identity. Maybe we can say thay have a different personality
but that is not the same as personal identity.

Another way to address the personal identity question is to appeal to
memory and our psychological state. But of course, in and of itself,
memory is not usually regarded as the person; if you like memory is a
"back office" function of the person. Furthermore, we do not always
remember every single event in our life and in many cases we wonder what
kind of memory we have say for the first 10 months of our life. So we
are reduced to asking ourselves: how much memory do we need to form a
personal identity and what type of memory do we need to really make up
someone's personal identity? How many lunches and dinners do I have to
remember before I can claim to have a personal identity? And then there
is the minor question of what is happening when we come across a memory
loss: has the memory itself disappeared or has the mechanism to access
that memory that is not functioning? Hence, it is be very difficult to
pin personal identity on memory, partly because memory does not play a
direct role in personal identity.

Some observers are also reluctant to simply appeal to the existence of
our body. Of course, bodies change over time, and biological processes
are constantly changing cells in our bodies, but we also do not want to
introduce the Ship of Theseus paradox here. No doubt our body does play
a role in personal identity but like the other characteristics, it is
not the sole condition.

One of the flaws of the personal identity problem is that we seem to be
looking for a single linear causal explanation for this quality we call
identity that is part of a person. But the implication of this, as I
said at the beginning, is that theories are competing with each other
rather than providing evidence for the concept of personal identity.
This is not to say that the separate debates are not useful nor
necessary, they are, but that they are different problem not necessarily
personal identity. For example, memory is important when we try to
understand witnesses of past events, and maybe psychological change
might help understand guild and forgiveness.

Why would such a seemingly important issue, as personal identity, in the
history of thinking be so confused and confounded? After all, these past
few thousand years, anybody who was anyone in philosophy had something
to say about personal identity.

My inclination is to argue that both person (personal) and identity are
linguistic concepts and do not refer to any independent physical
phenomenon. Thus we have created this linguistic concept so that we can
conveniently and consistently refer to a person even though they change
and have changed over time.

A second feature of personal identity is that it is not that this is
something useful for us as individuals; we don't need to know who we are
since we already know that, and if we are in a coma the issue is
irrelevant from our personal perspective. However, is does matter to
have an established personal identity for the benefit and use by other
people. People need to know who we are even if we change appearances and
beliefs. They will, of course, have to make adjustments to their
person-recognition-mechanism we all have in our brain to accommodate
this new information. This is why we do not abandon people who are in a
coma or suffer from severe Alzheimer disease; we have no problem knowing
who they are even if they don't.

On the one hand personal identity is not a myth because it is a
necessary linguistic tool, we use it for public communication amongst
ourselves, and especially as I have argued, for others to identify who
we are over time. Thus personal identity is as much a construct of our
own creation as it is a body of information created by others about us.
But by moving the goal post from a metaphysical discussion to a language
issue it does not mean that the metaphysical discussion is redundant as
I have already argued above.

The persistence problem highlights the need to be more careful with the
development of technologies that might lead to misleading beliefs or
events; as I argued cloning does not create a numerically identical
person (or animal), but basically it creates a kind of pseudo form of a
twin. Hence, personal identity cannot be replicated at the DNA level. No
doubt scientists are not fooled with this language acrobatics, but the
average passenger on the Clapham omnibus might well be fooled and might
well be motivated to pay thousands of Euros/Pounds to clone a dead pet
thinking they are getting the same mutt they loved in the past.

Of course, our DNA must play a role in creating our personal identity,
but it is only a necessary condition, but not the only condition: not
only our DNA is not us, since we are also a function of our environment.
And if we want to complicate the issue even further there is a third
tier beyond the DNA and that is the atomic structure at the quantum
level of the whole body. But, maybe, this is going a bit too far.

By hypothesising that personal identity is a linguistic tool we use in
our public communication we also do not need to invoke some magical
powers such as the soul or the mind body problem to explain what is
going on. Theoretically, with the language tool argument we can create a
causal mathematical model not only of our brain and body functions to
account for personal identity but moreover, we can also create a
mathematical model for the efficiency (causal effect) and function of
the language itself. Thus by clearly keeping personal identity well
grounded in the empirical world and not project any magical properties
to it, we can try to understand it with the trusted tools and methods we
can understand other aspects of the world around us. Whether this can be
achieved before we are swallowed up by the black hole at the centre of
the galaxy is a different matter.

From my perspective, personal identity is not a myth, but it is neither
a magical structure, but simply language at work.

Best Lawrence





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from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Is personal identity a
myth? + News

Thursday, September 04, 2014

“Amigos del Cementerio Británico”

Lugar : la Iglesia Anglicana de San Jorge, C/NÚÑEZ DE BALBOA 43,  Madrid

Cuando : jueves, día 11 de septiembre 2014 a partir de las 19,00 horas

La comisión gestora del Cementerio les dirige a Vds, los “Amigos del Cementerio Británico ”, para llamarles la atención al cartel que se acompaña.

Aquéllos que tengan interés en el idioma inglés van a encontrar en este evento la ocasión para conocer las diversas actividades de la comunidad angloparlante de Madrid.  Para aquéllos que no tengan nada más que unas nociones incompletas del inglés el evento será de todas formas una oportunidad singular para encontrarse en un ambiente que les anime a acercarse más a nuestra comunidad y hay suficientes entre nosotros que hablemos español para recibirles con entusiasmo.

Por descontado, nuestro Cementerio Británico estará representado entre las otras entidades

 SEE

The Cemetery Committee want the “Friends of the British Cemetery ” to know about the event on the poster which is attached.

Those with an interest in the English language will find this a useful occasion to meet and mix with people of the English-speaking community in Madrid.  However, those among you who do not speak English will surely enjoy the occasion too as most of those present speak Spanish well and will take the opportunity to tell you about all the British institutions represented

It goes without saying that the British Cemetery and its rich history will be represented there.

David Butler

Monday, September 01, 2014

Fwd: Maths - Conferencia

Message from Miguel:



Estimado tertuliano,

Por si fuera de interés te anunciamos la conferencia siguiente:

Bitcoin
Por D. Juan Valentín Pastrana
Miércoles 3 Septiembre a las 19:00 en la tertulia del Buho de Atenea del
Ateneo de Madrid:http://www.ateneodemadrid.com
Se tratarán los temas siguientes:
- historia de los medios de pago
- fundamentos técnicos y criptograficos
- precursores ideológicos
- posibilidades y consecuencias futuras

Saludos cordiales,
Tertulia de Matemáticas
<https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/>

Si quieres impartir una conferencia en la tertulia envíanos un mensaje
de correo para tratar los detalles
Si quieres darte de baja en la lista de correo envía otro con "Baja" en
el campo "Asunto" del mensaje

meeting topic for 6th September: Is personal identity a myth?

meeting topic for 6th September: Is personal identity a myth?

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