Wandering Around Kant

I watched a movie in the park last night with Jazzy and Lins.  It was great.  Brought my own fold up chairs, sleeping bags, and refreshments.

In preparation for the event, I mixed up a ‘Romanian Wanderer’ and let Jazzy try a sip.  Mint leaves, ice, rum, tonic water, and lemon.  Jazzy liked it so we mixed up a rumless version for her.  She called it the ‘Romanian Fizz F-Follower.

Earlier in the day Lins let us into the Ramada pool (where she works).  Jazz swam and I tried to comprehend David Hume, a long dead philosopher.  Hume believes our sense of our ‘self’, our identity, is a work of fiction.  Our mind is like a theatre he says, and events, people, places, and sensations enter and exit before us.  We are passive observers of life and therefore, are never the same person from moment to moment because we never take in the sum total of all our experiences, thoughts & sensations at any one time.

It’s okay if you have a hard time following that logic.  I read it fourteen times and it just seemed like nonsense.  Fortunately I moved onto Immanuel Kant who refuted most of what Hume was on about.  Kant instead submits that our identity, our sense of ‘self’ comes from the ACT of consciousness, the ACT of organizing our experiences.  ‘Self’ therefore is something we actively create as individuals, and we each do it in our own unique way.

If you have a Quarterback who after 12 concussions, is missing pieces of his memory, is he still himself?  It seems he might not be quite the same person he was, according to Kant, but he would still be a unique individual who is shaped by the memories he still possesses.

Descartes is somewhat vague on the subject.  As long as the Quarterback thinks, he has a sense of self.  Locke takes that idea and runs with it, saying that we are permitted to change over time and still be a self, so it doesn’t matter if pieces are missing, the Quarterback is still the Quarterback.

I like Kant best.  He simultaneously kicks Hume in the nuts while taking the missing link of Descartes and Locke, and marrying it to common sense.  We are who we remember ourselves to be.

If I were around back in the day, I’d buy Kant a Romanian Wanderer.

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One thought on “Wandering Around Kant

  1. 1. Do “plurality” and “consciousness” exist without “self”?

    2. Do selves have a real identity or fixed essence within each self? We assume that people have a true identity or character, but is this true or just an assumption?

    3. Might the self be a temporary discourse, a shifting construction, a mere fluctuation of communicating to perpetuate the public consumption of “identity” and “individuality” in-interaction-with others and society?

    4. Assuming there is a “self” (for better or for worse), then is the “other” ever wholly other?

    5. Are the public and private selves colored with the same broken crayons?

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