Tuesday, September 21, 2010


How does one's consciousness survive over time?

Two schools of thought in Ancient Greece:   
1)  Heraclitus: "all is flux"; Absorb the world with senses which lagos (reason) is going to make sense of.  Everything is relative.
2)  Parmenides:  "don't trust your senses"; Perceive with your mind alone; Reality is an unchanging, consistent field.

How is a person a person over time?  How does psychology, memory, consciousness affect a person?
French philosopher Descartes argues that the self is a self-contained and self-sustaining subject and the only way to understand the world is through observation.  "Rational mind is what makes us who we are."  Paul Ricoeur's theory on "Narrative Identity" is of particular interest.  Ricoeur separates identity into two distinct parts - idem (sameness) and ipse (selfhood).

In "Introduction: Identity as a Question", Steph Lawler argues that identity is socially constructed and the notion of a "true" self outside the social world, does not exist.

Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction
Deconstruction is a methodological way of dealing with texts.  Derrida is interested in the language used in writing and speaking.  Deconstruction involves the re-reading of texts, so that all contradictions and internal oppositions can be exposed and subsequently altered, allowing for a revision of historical and textual sources.

Stuart Hall writes that identity is always about representation.

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