Learn To Think Using Thought Experiments by King Patrick

Learn To Think Using Thought Experiments by King Patrick

Author:King Patrick [King Patrick]
Language: eng
Format: epub

Chapter 4. The Nature of Existence and Identity

Phew! From questions of what we can know as humans and an attempt to measure infinity, we can move on to an equally lofty topic that has similarly engrossed man for ages: who are we and why are we here?

In this chapter we’ll look at those thought experiments that confront the big questions of what constitutes a person, what it means to say that someone is alive and has consciousness, and what our identity is as human beings. What is a thing or person’s essence, the one aspect that, if changed, would make them no longer what they are? Are people’s identities real, fixed phenomena or are they more like social constructs or artefacts of language (a common outcome for many thought experiments)?

It’s one of those questions that seems simple on the surface but can be quite profound when you dig deeper: who are we really, and what would it take for us to not be that anymore? Perhaps in answering questions of who and what we are, mankind is indirectly asking what we are, and ought to do, i.e. what our purpose and function is in life. In the same way we cast our minds out to take in the full possibilities of time and space, we turn inward and try to understand ourselves and our fellow humans.


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