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This philosophy essay is doing my head in

'District 9' and phenomenology of the self

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Glen Glen VIC Posts: 337
1 5 Nov 2011
I'm using the film District 9, in conjunction with a case study of an athletic young man who suffered permanent incapacitation through a motorbike accident, and engaging with the work of Hegel, Merleau-Ponty, Hamish Thompson and Robert Sokolowski to argue that physical changes to the vehicle which carry our perceptions about (the body) do not constitute a change to the self.

It's starting to hurt. Lots.

I'd like to ask you folks what you think about this. You don't have to be a philosophy student to examine these sort of questions!

Do you think that if you suffer a life-changing illness or injury, and can no longer do the same things that you love to do, that you no longer remain the same person? Think of examples such as permanent disability in car accidents, and that kind of thing... what do you think?

Any input is appreciated; it could help my thinking take a different direction and aid my plight to reach the 3000 required words!
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xAshlee xAshlee TAS Posts: 722
2 5 Nov 2011
hmmmm. this is prob why i dropped my philosphy course. the essays etc did my head in.

this is an interesting question........

this reminds me - my 30 yr old uncle died in a moterbike accident 5 years ago :/ so icant speak from personal experiences.

you always see these stories on tv, like the girl who last her arm to a shark and returned to surfing or when people have a accident on a horse and get back on etc...... as far as ive seen people are so emotionally connected to their passions they push through their fears ........

but as far as like major injury and stuff when you maybe couldnt  phiscally do the things you once could. i still think youd be the same person....... some passions we are born with i believe and just is in you forever no matter what.

this is doing my head in now. im prob not the best person to ask but ill keep my eye on the thread..i use to cry like trying to do my work - it was so hard .
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TheSixthStitch TheSixthStitch Aruba Posts: 988
3 5 Nov 2011
Glen said:
Do you think that if you suffer a life-changing illness or injury, and can no longer do the same things that you love to do, that you no longer remain the same person?
What do you mean by 'same person'? Do you mean personhood in the physical, perceptual or imaginary sense? Is personhood (self) situated in the temporal?

Adding your your injury example, what can we say about someone who has undergone puberty? Do they remain the 'same person'?

('s been a while since I've touched on Hegel and friends)
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Casper.s2 Casper.s2 SA Posts: 1640
4 5 Nov 2011
why use a socio-political movie....


they are just a connotation of man v man... (one is just stuck away from home, the problem being the land they are on was their home... it just isn't recognisable anymore) also....

it is based on other scifi plot... so the political notions and social implications are lost in a mashup mish mash... it is really a shit film.. I'd poo on it... if I was weird
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Glen Glen VIC Posts: 337
5 5 Nov 2011
xAshlee said:
hmmmm. this is prob why i dropped my philosphy course. the essays etc did my head in.
After 5 philosophy units, you'd think I would have learned better. Nup! Still got a couple to go before I graduate: Western Political Philosophy and Practical Ethics. Should be fun!

Thanks for the input - I'm inclined to agree with you there. The angle I'm going for is that ideological changes to the way we act and think constitute some kind of change to the self, but possibly not the EXPERIENCE of the self... which is where the phenomenology comes in.

Metaphysics = insanity.
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Glen Glen VIC Posts: 337
6 5 Nov 2011
Casper.s2 said:
why use a socio-political movie....


they are just a connotation of man v man... (one is just stuck away from home, the problem being the land they are on was their home... it just isn't recognisable anymore) also....

it is based on other scifi plot... so the political notions and social implications are lost in a mashup mish mash... it is really a shit film.. I'd poo on it... if I was weird
To answer the question at the top: because I can!

When Wikus has the alien goo sprayed in his face, he undergoes a series of physiological changes until he eventually becomes a hybrid life form, yet in context of the film he believes he is still the same person. The tentative nexus lies in this idea, that even though numerically he does not occupy the same fleshy sack his family once recognised as Wikus, but ideologically he possesses the same idiosyncrasies pertinent to 'Wikusness'.

EDIT: as a socio-political film, yes it stinks. But viewed through the lens of phenomenology it's a cracker. Philosophy grants you the chance to see things differently. I've changed that much in the last few years that I'm barely the same person as I was ten years ago. I think differently, I act differently, and I actually have goals which I am working towards. In my early 20s all I wanted to do was party and ride motorcycles, but I have my eyes on the prize at the end of my degree and I'm looking forward to being in a position of influence and positive change, so I can make up for all the dumb shit I did in the past.
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Glen Glen VIC Posts: 337
7 5 Nov 2011
TheSixthStitch said:
What do you mean by 'same person'? Do you mean personhood in the physical, perceptual or imaginary sense? Is personhood (self) situated in the temporal?

Adding your your injury example, what can we say about someone who has undergone puberty? Do they remain the 'same person'?

('s been a while since I've touched on Hegel and friends)
Thanks for the reply!

I'm not inclined to touch on temporality too much, I'm more aiming at the physical and perceptual side of things. Your puberty example has given me some more food for thought too, I might run a little thought experiment for a while and see where it goes.

Cheers!
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Nobody Nobody QLD Posts: 593
8 5 Nov 2011
Glen said:
Do you think that if you suffer a life-changing illness or injury, and can no longer do the same things that you love to do, that you no longer remain the same person? Think of examples such as permanent disability in car accidents, and that kind of thing... what do you think?
I have some disabilities, but they're not from an accident.
They're slowly getting worse over the years and I just adapt to deal with it.

But of course, you're talking about a sudden, huge change in somebody's life.
I think some people in that situation may become a different person entirely, but surely it would depend on the person. If they have a real positive mindset in life, they probably wouldn't change that much.

I wouldn't know how I would react to the loss of a limb or something even worse, unless it actually happened to me.

Sorry, my input was kinda useless.  ashamed
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tarkine tarkine Iran Posts: 296
9 5 Nov 2011
I majored in philosophy for my BA ten years ago - definitely changed my world for the better, and for what it's worth, I reckon it should be a compulsory high school subject. It's a whole lot more useful to helping us become decent human beings than trigonometry. I think I wrote something on Heidegger and Husserl once upon a time, but I'm afraid it's a distant memory now.

I do think our 'vehicles' are relevant to our experience of self, albeit not always determinative. The colour of a person's skin affects how they are perceived (and treated) by the world, and there are few of us whose self-awareness is impervious to outside influence.

To the extent that our experience of self changes considerably over time as we mature and learn, even without our body undergoing any significant physical alteration (besides a few more wrinkles, hopefully from laughter), I'd expect that it would also change if our physical abilities were substantially impeded or improved. Identity is not static. The limitations of our body affects our opportunities, which in turn can affect our experiences of the world and our relationships with other people. It's arguable that we are little more than the sum of our experiences (although essentialists will beg to differ).

Good luck with your paper!
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Glen Glen VIC Posts: 337
10 5 Nov 2011
Yeti Woman said:
Sorry, my input was kinda useless.  ashamed
Not at all. Thanks for the contribution!
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