Does our ordinary notion of a “true self” simply pick out a certain part of the mind? Or is this notion actually wrapped up in some inextricable way with our own values and ideals?
Speaker: Dr. Joshua Knobe, Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Yale University.
Speaker: Dr. Joshua Knobe, Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Yale University.
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- Does anyone else find the setup for this experiment to be so contrived as to confound the results? It really does seem like the surveyed individuals just answered that the person's true self is the part which is aligned with what they themselves believe about people.(16 votes)
- I agree, also using liberals and conservatives in the test seems to me to be throwing another variable into the mix. Are they testing the political views of these groups AND whether people generally believe that beliefs are the true self or not? This seems to cloud the experiment as opposed to just isolating these factors and testing them independently of one another or settle the "True Self" hypothesis before testing the lib/conserv debate.
This seems like a "confirmation bias" to me.(7 votes)
- I don't really think that we have 'one true self.' We all grow and change over time, so what I may have felt or believed when I was 3 years old does not determine my true self. Every second we are changing, so does that mean that we gain a new 'true self' every second?
For instance, let's say that I was reading a persuasive letter on why the Amur Leopard, (an endangered species,) should be saved. Before I read it, I didn't care much for the Amur Leopard. In fact, I despised it. But, after reading it, I began to think that we really needed to save this Amur leopard. If we say that my beliefs determine my true self, does that mean that my true self changed over the course of the few minutes I spent reading the paper?(6 votes)
- Each and everyone has their traits.
Some with different perspectives and thoughts.
Not believing there is one true self gives you more freedom to choose who you really are or what to be.
Every choice and decision gives you a certain aspect on who you really are.
You can change not from belief or emotion.
But also from decision and more based on what YOU think is more right or more important.
Even from a Yes or No question.
Something changes in yourself. The video most likely explains on what people will tell you based on your belief and emotion. What is right or important.
Pretty much everything is more based on yourself. So if you believe you have more than one true self. Then belief and emotion doesn't count as fact from you or different people.
But, that's my opinion.(2 votes)
- I'd never really come across the idea that each person has a bit of themselves that is "true" and the rest isn't. It doesn't seem to make much sense. In fact, it doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
Doesn't it makes much more sense to accept that people are, collectively and individually, a seething mess of contradictions and hypocrisies? Reason is not what we are made of. It is what we make to try to impose some sense on this chaos, so that we can try to navigate its choppy waters instead of being washed up who knows where.
To get a truer view of the self you need to zoom out not in. You can't pick one part as the "true" bit. That makes no more sense than saying that the "true cat" is found in its front left middle claw.
My question is this, do objections of the type I raised fall within any particular named school of philosophy? Please tell me it isn't Existentialism.I don't want to have to start smoking. ;-)(3 votes)
- The question that comes to my mind is which is more necessary your belief or passion? Do you have to believe in things in order to be passionate about other things? I am not so sure about that; however i do seem to ironically believe that you do need to be passionate about something to believe in other things. Your emotions lead you to desires based on pleasure vs pain, assuming this it is our belief structure that is created for the main purpose of acquiring our desires. Beliefs do not define you in any way unless they influence you in some emotional way . I believe there is music. Is this really an accurate description of me? But, to say I enjoy music; now that tells you something more specific about my individual(3 votes)
- My response to the opening scenario:
I don't think either aspect of Mark is closer to his "true self". Mark's identity is made of both his beliefs and his emotions. Take out one side, and you lose Mark.(2 votes)
- Is there any psychology class? I want to join but i can't find it... :((2 votes)
- Nothing is everything and yet everything is nothing... Bias at work, true self is obviously either something that does not exist or something that exists in which every factor of human cognition comes into play.(2 votes)
- Why does Mark have a split personality? Most people will follow what they believe in their mind, no one should be in such a situation where they have to challenge their own minds as to what is right to other people rather than themselves.
This can be escalated to convicts i.e. murderers and rapists on their beliefs yet everyone has views so few and far between from their own encouragements to have done the crimes. They know it's wrong by people's reactions yet it feels right to them? Amazing topic!(1 vote)
- Why would a gay person travel the globe speaking against homosexuality?(1 vote)
- If he thinks it's immoral to be in a same-sex relationship. It's certainly possible to be homosexual and think that, though we might expect more homosexuals not to think that.(1 vote)
(intro music) Hi! I'm Josh Knobe. I'm a professor at Yale University, and I'm going to be talking about the notion of a true self. So let's begin with a classic case of a conflict between belief and emotion. Imagine a man named Mark, who has a belief that homosexuality is a sin, so he thinks that it's morally wrong for people to be with others of the same sex. And in fact, he travels the world preaching this message and teaching people techniques they can use to resist same-sex attraction. But now imagine that Mark has a problem. Mark's problem is that he himself is actually gay. So on a kind of emotional, visceral level, he's drawn to be with other men. As a result, Mark is feeling a conflict between his beliefs and his emotions. And the question I want to ask now is: which of those two aspects of him is his true self? Which is the part that really reveals who he himself most truly is, deep down inside? So here, different people might have different views. Some people might say, "Ultimately, your true self is constituted by your beliefs, by your reasoning, "by your abstract thinking." So they might say, "Mark's true self is the part of him that says that homosexuality is a sin." But then, other people might have exactly the opposite view. They might say, "Your true self is constituted by your emotions, "by your visceral desires, by your passions." And then they might say, "Mark's true self "is the part of him that's drawn toward being with another man." So I was talking about this question with two of my colleagues, George Newman and Paul Bloom, and we began thinking "Maybe people's ordinary notion of the truth self "doesn't really fit with either of these two conceptions. "Instead, maybe people's ordinary notion of the truth self is shaped, "in a really fundamental, way by their value judgments. "So maybe, when people are thinking about your true self, what they do is "to think about which aspect of yourself is the valuable one, "the good one, the one worth preserving." So to see whether this was right, we conducted an experimental study. One group of participants was just given the exact case of Mark that I just gave to you. But then, we wanted to know whether people's value judgments affected people's answers to this question. So we recruited two different groups of participants: liberal participants, and conservative participants. And what we found was a striking difference. So the conservative participants tended to say that Mark's belief was part of his true self, that his belief that homosexuality was morally wrong was in some sense the voice of his true self speaking to him. The liberals tended to say exactly the opposite. They said that that belief was not part of his true self, and that his true self was actually constituted by his emotions, or his desires, or his passions, the part of him that was drawing him to be with another man. So looking just at that first result, you get at least some evidence that people's judgments about the true self are in some way shaped by their value judgments. But to see whether this is really true, we recruited a separate group of participants, who received the reverse of that first case. So these group of participants were told about a person who believes that people of all sexual orientations should be treated equally. So he thinks that it's morally wrong to in any way discriminate against gay people. And in fact, he travels the world preaching this message and teaching people techniques they can use to resist their prejudice against homosexuals. However, this person has a problem. His problem is that he himself has these negative emotions toward gay people. So himself finds himself feeling disgust toward homosexuals. And as a result, he also is faced with an inner conflict, a conflict between his beliefs and his emotions. Here, too, we find a difference, but this time it's in the opposite direction, as it were. So, the liberal participants tend to say, "His belief that people of all sexual "orientations should be treated equally, "that is the voice of his true self speaking to him." By contrast, the conservative participants say, "That belief isn't his true self at all. His true self "is revealed by this emotion he has, this disgust toward gay people." So looking now at the whole pattern of results, what we see is it's not that people always think that your beliefs are your true self and it's not that people always think that your emotion is your true self. Rather, what seems to happen is that people pick out whichever part of you they regard as the good part, the valuable part, the part worth preserving. They think that that is your true self. But now, these experimental results leave us with a question at a more philosophical level. The question is: should we think of this fact about people's judgments as just showing a bias, a distortion, a mistake they're making, or should we think that it's actually revealing something fundamental about the very concept of a true self? Subtitles by the Amara.org community