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Re: What is he, anyway?

Dec 29, 1996 02:17 PM
by Tom Robertson

On Sun, 29 Dec 96, Mark Kusek wrote:

>Tom wrote:
>>That there is nothing which does not constantly change means that there
>>is nothing which has any duration. Since, at any two instants, any given
>>object is something different, what it was at any given instant in the past
>>does not exist anymore. But since there is a relationship in time in how
>>the past causes the future, there is continuity between the past and the
>>future. Change only occurs gradually. Just as all human beings have some
>>things in common but are unique, so does what is known as a certain
>>individual have much in common with what was known as that individual in
>>the past, but cannot be the identical individual. The difference between
>>the "you" of the past and the "you" of the present and the difference
>>between the "you" of now and the "me" of now is only one of degree, not
>>of kind.  Neither the "you" of the past nor the "me" of now are the "you"
>>of the present.

>Aren't you Tom Robertson?

I suspect similarity in principle between the approximate sameness with
which individuals are known in the span of one lifetime and the
approximation, at the macro level, that classical physics is to Quantum
Mechanics.  Assuming that its rate of change is reasonably steady, if a
blade of grass does not noticeably change in 5 minutes, but does so
noticeably change in 500 years that it would not be considered to be the
same blade of grass any more, that means that the difference between its
being considered to still be the same blade of grass and its not being so
considered is only a matter of degree.  To consider something to be the
same thing that it was at a previous point in time until a noticeable
change has taken place is to arrogantly assume that it has not changed just
because no change has been noticed.

>Won't you be you from birth to death (at least)?


>Should we not send birthday presents?

You might have sent the ones this year to the wrong address.

>Look closer at what you describe as "the relationship in time of how the
>past causes the future", and what is "common", "continuous" and "unique"
>about a person (to use your words). There is a structural integity to
>any given object in the pattern that it develops along (i.e. a rose bud
>is a rose is a wilting rose, etc.), that includes the progression that
>we call growth, life cycle, etc. In that their is identity and
>individuality (at least for the time), despite the changes, no?

In that it is illusory, as opposed to either real or imaginary, yes.

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