Short Paper on
David Hume said that the “self” is
an illusion created by closeness and proximity (much like our erroneous believe
in “cause and effect”). A modern example of Hume’s ideas about the “self” might
be to look at movie film. At 30 frames a second, the individual pictures come
so quickly that it looks like continuous movement instead of thousands of
individual pictures. And the changes between each successive picture is so
slight that we would hardly notice if we examined successive pictures one
frame at a time. Since we have not been watching our “self movie” while
sleeping, in the morning the projector is still running, and our minds simply
fill in the blanks for the frames we missed, falsely giving us a notion that we
are still same “self” from yesterday.
Fortunately, not all philosophers
are as radical as Hume in denying that there is a continuous self. But, even
those who admit there is a “self” do not agree as to what it is, how it is
formed, and whether or not it changes.
In Week 8, we’ll be re-addressing
the “essential self” as necessary in order to experience freedom and to make
moral decisions that are truly freely made. So, the whether or not a continous
“essential self” actally exists is an important philosophical concept.
For this week’s assignment:
1Describe your “essential self”—that
is, the set of characteristics that defines what makes you a particular person.
If you do not believe an essensial self exists, explain why not.
2Explain why you think the essential
self can or cannot change during a person’s lifetime.
3Since the essential self will
(supposedly) actively resists anything that is not in our genuine best
interest, how could self-sacrifice and martyrdom be regarded evidence of a
person who lacked an essential self? Alternately, would voluntarily subjecting
oneself to those things be a true indicator of an essential self? Explain your
Please ensure that your essay
addresses each component of the assigned questions and that your answer is
well-organized, uses excellent, college-level prose, and makes judicious use of
textual evidence. Your essay must follow APA formatting and should be 500-750
If you quote, paraphrase, or
summarize from the textbook or any other source, you must include in-text citations
and a References page.
Grading Criteria Assignments
Meets or exceeds established
Demonstrates an understanding of
Clearly presents well-reasoned
ideas and concepts
Mechanics, punctuation, sentence
structure, spelling, APA formatting.