Wednesday, February 10, 2010

on process

copied from Kristine's Flickerfit post: New

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, on process philosophy page:

The philosophy of mind is another strongpoint of process philosophizing. It feels distinctly uncomfortable to conceptualize people (persons) as things (substances) -- oneself above all -- because we resist flat-out identification with our bodies. However, there is no problem with experiential access to the processes and patterns of process that characterize us personally -- our doings and undergoings, either individually or patterned into talents, skills, capabilities, traits, dispositions, habits, inclinations, and tendencies to action and inaction are, after all, what characteristically define a person as the individual he or she is. Once we conceptualize the core "self" of a person as a unified manifold of actual and potential process -- of action and capacities, tendencies, and dispositions to action (both physical and psychical) -- then we thereby secure a concept of personhood that renders the self or ego experientially accessible, seeing that experiencing itself simply consists of such processes. What makes my experience mine is not some peculiar qualitative character that it exhibits but simply its forming part of the overall ongoing process that defines and constitutes my life. The unity of person is a unity of experience -- the coalescence of all of one's diverse micro-experience as part of one unified macro-process. (It is the same sort of unity of process that links each minute's level into a single overall journey.) On this basis, the Humean complaint -- "One experiences feeling this and doing that, but one never experiences oneself" -- is much like the complaint of the person who says "I see him picking up that brick, and mixing that batch of mortar, and troweling that brick into place, but I never see him building a wall." Even as "building the wall" just exactly is the complex process that is composed of those various activities, so -- from the process point of view -- one's self just is the complex process composed of those various physical and psychic experiences and actions in their systemic interrelationship.

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