# Is the permanent self still tenable? [closed]

I wonder what a possible objection could be:

• P1) The self is static in change;
• P2) If P1 is true then change cannot be the self otherwise the self wouldn't be static;
• C) Therefore, change is the mean through which the self is static.

Definitions:

By change I mean the continuous unfolding of experience in time.

By static self I mean the continuous feeling of subjective identity.

• If you reformulate your argument by substituting your definitions wherever those terms appear, you get an argument that I can't make any sense of: 1. The continuous feeling of subjective identity is in the continuous unfolding of experience in time. 2. If 1 is true, then the continuous unfolding of experience in time cannot be the self otherwise the self would not be the continuous feeling of subjective identity. C. Therefore, the continuous unfolding of experience in time is the mean through which a self is identifiable. – transitionsynthesis Oct 16 '19 at 18:58
• "1." should perhaps read: The continuous unfolding of experience in time is the continuous feeling of subjective identity." Rather than "is in." – Joseph Lutz Oct 16 '19 at 20:23
• Continuous unfolding of experience in time may well be static, if one's experience does not change. When it does change, the change is not the mean, it is the opposite of the mean, the variation around the mean. So it is the "static self" that is closer related to the mean rather than the change. More precisely, the static self is what remains invariant through the change. And it is certainly much more than "the feeling of identity". Whether this identity through change is accompanied by a "feeling" or not is next to irrelevant. – Conifold Oct 16 '19 at 21:14
• Confused. your question says permanent soul, but your a priori statements use the term static self. Are you meaning that the individual self is the permanent soul? Do you mean to identify the mind (or what) with the permanent soul or with a static self? What static self with a continuous feeling of subjective identity is permanent? Do you remember having a feeling subjective identity when you were a baby? At the moment of conception is there a feeling of subjective identity? What about before conception? How can that which has a beginning be permanent? – Swami Vishwananda Oct 17 '19 at 12:49
• @SwamiVishwananda By "static" I wanted to say that it persists the change of experience. When I was 8 I was a different person, but the feeling of identity persisted up to now. How is that possible if experience is always changing? – urhen Oct 17 '19 at 14:40

This is closely related to this post. Conundrum of the self?

This is the philosophic question of personal identity.

As far as objections to the argument (substituting your definitions):

P1. [The continuous feeling of subjective identity] is static in [the continuous unfolding of experience in time].
P2. [The continuous unfolding of experience in time] cannot be [the continuous feeling of subjective identity] otherwise the [the continuous feeling of subjective identity] wouldn't be static.
C. Therefore, [the continuous unfolding of experience in time] is [is a cause of] a [continuous feeling of subjective identity] is identifiable.

The best objection:

1. The continuous feeling of subjective identity actually can't be static. Most people who accept who we are and how we identify changes over time. (See existentialists like Sartre on Being and Nothingnessor Maslow on self-actualization) Do you really identify the same as your 8-year old self? Doubtful.

That derails the entire chain of reasoning, since if P1 is false, and P2 purports to be true conditionally on P1 (and not independently), then one doesn't have a sound or valid argument to reach C.

Also, C can be objected to on the [premise that experience over time] is neither necessary nor sufficient for subjective identity. Perhaps more is required than mere experience over time, for instance if experience which implies consciousness is not structured in a certain way, for instance conceptually, then consciousness will fail to achieve a subjective identity. You invoke 'feeling', but perhaps 'thought' would be a broader term as we are more than our feelings. Concepts and inferences saturate our experience, and the argument fails to list them as a necessary condition. The very notion of "subjective identity is identifiable" cries out for suitable definition. Here too might another necessary condition be found. What does (presumably) subjective identity identifying self mean? Is that metacognition, and not mere cognition? Is therefore besides conceptualization self-awareness required? It would go a long way to explaining how there is a gap between us and our fellow hominids intellectually. But then again, perhaps not.

What about the possibility that subjective identity actually is responsible for experiencing time? That causality also extends in the other direction, perhaps, each process reinforcing the other? Phenomenologists tend to see subjective experience as the foundation for all else, unlike those of us who tend towards analytical philosophy and tend to reduce the mental to the physical as far as it is appropriate? The infamous Horseman of New Athiesm Daniel Dennett famously reduces all mental to the physical in a form of eliminative materialism. Remember, your argument presupposes metaphysical assertions.

• Why the "is in?" He says, simply, "is." – Joseph Lutz Oct 16 '19 at 20:34

If P1 is: the self is "Static Change", then it is the truth, rather than "Static In Change". Since there's no time, just Eternal Now.

Thus, if we said "Self is static change", then, there's no possible objection.

Thus, Change is already my Identity. By Change: I am Who I am.

Thus, my Identity is not made by Change, but itself is the Change.

Thus, your argument is true. You said in P1: The continuous feeling of subjective identity is..in..the continuous unfolding of experience in time.

Since there's no time but eternal Now, so we can say: The continuous...is the continuous unfolding of experience in eternal Now.

As I said: The Self is "static change", not "static in change".

• Yes i've edited the post. That's more accurate. Thanks. Do you think there's any implication if we accept the argument? – urhen Oct 19 '19 at 19:55
• @urhen. "Static in Change" fits your argument, i.e makes your argument true. But "Static Change" is the true understanding of the self and change. "Static Change" more Idealistic, makes the person lives in the now. The Change is not happening to me, but it is already me. – salah Oct 19 '19 at 23:20