What is Self? Thinking at Edge. Descartes & Hume.

What is the Self? How do we identify ‘self’?

René Descartes

C17 French rationalist. He Argues: “I think, Therefore I am.”

David Hume

C18 Scottish empiricist. He argues: “When I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure.

sentiment, or beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If this is true, then many people can justify their own attractions very simply, perhaos even without justification. “I like it and that’s good enough for me”, could spark arguments. “Why do you like it?” people’s reasons for personal preference might clash on such things. Rules of composition. Things need to have rules, they please for certain reasons and can be identified through a set of rules and standards. But who sets them? who puts up the bar? It could be a majority rules sort of thing or perhaps its been left to time immemorial and is a certain way, simply because nobody can remember it being any different.Some people can perceive quality as some might perceive colour. If you can identify everything, all qualities that went into something, that were meant to be in the thing in question in the first place, then perhaps it can be considered to be called a thing of quality that adheres to the rules set before it.

It could fall down to familiarity. A sailor can read a boat like an author can read a book but if you ask the two to exchange places then it would be a completely different story.

No two Critics will agree so how can we tell what really is a good or bad thing? how do they know what the thing has to adhere to if they cannot agree themselves what the highest standard is? Hume argues that taste is more than subjective, its not in the eye of the beholder.

I feel like when it comes to assessing design, (in respects to form v.s function) whether the design works or not is the foundation of the thing. the way it looks is important too, but not as much as the function of the design. A human might not look right but could still be working just fine, yet may also have a normal appearance (what is normal??) and yet have a severely restricting disability. The looks can be deceptive of how well the design works.

form -function-Morality.

Who decides what is good morally?

Oil drilling isn’t the most eco friendly form of harvesting energy and can be very detrimental to the planet, yet if you were to shut down all the drilling operations, countless thousands would be out of work and most of the world would shut down due to lack of power. what then is right??

  • Is beauty or quality of an artifact in the eye of the beholder?
  • are there rules or criteria for the good in art and design?
  • is there a difference between assessing the good in art and in design?

how can beauty be in the eye of the beholder when certain standards set out over time can dictate what is beautiful? but then if there are certain rules that set what beautiful is, it narrows it down to a very short list, with no room for improvement. Everything is constantly changing, and I feel that if certain standards of what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cannot change with time, then they become obsolete. Perhaps then, they can change for both good or bad. such as aesthetic requirements of what women and men should look like today in order to fit into the criteria of what is ‘attractive’. what the standard set out by others is. It might not work. but that’s OK, because we’re not meant to know anything and we need to make mistakes in order to grow as a race and achieve higher understanding of things. Not striving to one end point, but rolling forward to constantly improve. (or at least try to).

I feel like I’ve taken a turn on this subject from Nietzsche’s perspective.


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