Who am I? A philosophical inquiry – Amy Adkins

Who am I? A philosophical inquiry – Amy Adkins

Throughout the history of mankind, three little words have sent poets
to the blank page, philosophers to the Agora, and seekers to the oracles: “Who am I?” From the ancient Greek aphorism
inscribed on the Temple of Apollo, “Know thyself,” to The Who’s rock anthem, “Who Are You?” philosophers, psychologists, academics, scientists, artists,
theologians and politicians have all tackled the subject of identity. Their hypotheses are widely varied
and lack significant consensus. These are smart, creative people, so what’s so hard about coming up
with the right answer? One challenge certainly lies with the complex concept
of the persistence of identity. Which you is who? The person you are today? Five years ago? Who you’ll be in 50 years? And when is “am”? This week? Today? This hour? This second? And which aspect of you is “I”? Are you your physical body? Your thoughts and feelings? Your actions? These murky waters of abstract logic
are tricky to navigate, and so it’s probably fitting
that to demonstrate the complexity, the Greek historian Plutarch
used the story of a ship. How are you “I”? As the tale goes, Theseus, the mythical
founder King of Athens, single-handedly slayed
the evil Minotaur at Crete, then returned home on a ship. To honor this heroic feat, for 1000 years Athenians painstakingly
maintained his ship in the harbor, and annually reenacted his voyage. Whenever a part of the ship
was worn or damaged, it was replaced with an identical piece
of the same material until, at some point,
no original parts remained. Plutarch noted the Ship of Theseus was an example
of the philosophical paradox revolving around
the persistence of identity. How can every single part
of something be replaced, yet it still remains the same thing? Let’s imagine there are two ships: the ship that Theseus
docked in Athens, Ship A, and the ship sailed by the Athenians
1000 years later, Ship B. Very simply, our question is this:
does A equal B? Some would say that for 1000 years
there has been only one Ship of Theseus, and because the changes made to it
happened gradually, it never at any point in time
stopped being the legendary ship. Though they have absolutely
no parts in common, the two ships are numerically identical,
meaning one and the same, so A equals B. However, others could argue
that Theseus never set foot on Ship B, and his presence on the ship
is an essential qualitative property of the Ship of Theseus. It cannot survive without him. So, though the two ships
are numerically identical, they are not qualitatively identical. Thus, A does not equal B. But what happens
when we consider this twist? What if, as each piece
of the original ship was cast off, somebody collected them all,
and rebuilt the entire original ship? When it was finished, undeniably
two physical ships would exist: the one that’s docked in Athens, and the one in some guy’s backyard. Each could lay claim to the title,
“The Ship of Theseus,” but only would could actually
be the real thing. So which one is it, and more importantly,
what does this have to do with you? Like the Ship of Theseus, you are a collection of constantly
changing parts: your physical body, mind, emotions,
circumstances, and even your quirks, always changing, but still in an amazing
and sometimes illogical way, you stay the same, too. This is one of the reasons that
the question, “Who am I?” is so complex. And in order to answer it, like so many great minds before you, you must be willing to dive into the
bottomless ocean of philosophical paradox. Or maybe you could just answer, “I am a legendary hero sailing
a powerful ship on an epic journey.” That could work, too.

100 thoughts on “Who am I? A philosophical inquiry – Amy Adkins

  1. Me :hmm my mood is great today let's watch some ted ed vid
    4 min later ….goes to identity crisis

  2. (Sorry for the bad english, it's my second language)
    This is more like to the versions of a program. Winrar 1.0, winrar 1.1, winrar 1.2. Actualizations is the key
    Teseo's ship 1.0 is war ship, teseo's 1.2 (reparation) its a conmemorative ship (Teseo is dead), teseo's 2.0 (not one original pieces) total new version of the first, same all, but new pourpose, Teseo's 1.0.1 (original recicled ship) its original teseo's (he was in there) but diferent pourpose. A paint of the ship is still the Teseo's ship even thogh he's not a 2d caracter, but is a artistic teseo's ship, Teseo's 3.0.

    A coin has two diferent sides but its the same coin. In this point the identity it is a created concept and "me" its all the part of that concept (like a dice with many faces and valors)

    Winrar can change version, but all of them are winrar, equal to Teseo's ship and me too.

  3. the answer is that the name of the object, it, am, I, et cetera and not the material or the Characteristics of the object

  4. let's say my name is Jon so it will maintain that way no matter how would ill look like or feel like but as an existence that takes part in space and time under the label "Jon" and what comes out of me is not Jon but a different existence that takes part in space and time and what replace that part in me comes under the label "Jon"

  5. What if this universe and everyone and everything in it is all in my head? Like none of this is real, nobody exists besides me and all that I see and interact with is all just perceived by my mind? What if YouTube, internet, transportation, etc are all a product of my thoughts and I'm alone in this universe? That even the people reading/replying is a creation of my consciousness.

    And similarly, what if everyone is living in their own universes and we see the truth only when we die? Gosh my brain exploded.

  6. Identity is a concept. Hence the first ship is ship of theseus. The concept about the ship that carried thesues

  7. You are all of these things.. And none of them.
    You are an ever changing idea.
    Like time. You are each moment one at a time. Jumbled all together. Layered over and over.
    There are two or three connected pieces.. Like your name..
    Which is why names are probly so important in some cultures.

  8. Instead of asking who am I
    It's imp to notice that the answer would change the philosophy of life, which to be honest can be changed by our acts[both logical and emotional] and
    Thus This Question Doesn't matters

  9. Is it just me, but when I look in the mirror I feel like apart from my body and mind there’s another me like the one that uses it’s conscious to choose, not the brain but the me, me that’s there idk the more I think about it the more confused I get!

  10. But technically I am a soul… Sure certain body parts change, but the pure existence is inside the body or more precisely the brain. Till the time I am dead, I know I am existing.. The feelings the memories remain the same until there is a severe damage to the brain. Even then they are stored subconsciously till literally stressed and provoked on it…

    I liked the idea and technically agree "a" does not equal "b". But it's not with self even if parts get changed, because soul is existing the body…

  11. You can break this down to a science all you want, but you'll never find the real answer to it because its not a question of science. Go read the Bible (Esv/King James) that's where the answer is, and its sooo clear. Start with the gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke, John. That's where you find who you are, and why. Hope this helps someone out there struggling with this question, I sure did.

  12. As a kid, I would get out of myself and would and travel somewhere unknown just trying to answer or understand who I am. . . I remember I even cried sometimes.

  13. "You're a collection of constantly changing parts". This is a metapysical presupposition entirely inadequate according to phenomenology (according to Heidegger, this conception is retrieved from the being of the things merely given). A a priori unity is the condition of possibility of the being-there.

  14. I have a very simple answer to the question who "you" are, who you are is what you believe "you" are.

    My answer is that "I" is just a collection of personality, actions, emotions, beliefs and experience and "I" is the representation of it.

    Don't think too much about who "you" are, because we're different and similar at the same time.

  15. Who am I?
    A bunch of atoms randomly selected to perform a desired form, identity and function, individually in the microscopic scale or collectively in the macroscopic scale.

  16. Whenever i feel low watchig others better life i always say to my brain ok what can i do with this body now?
    It's weird but i come up with so many ideas.

  17. Who am I?
    I always used to ask my self this question as a kid when I was 7 and I was very confused. But I became to find things such as philosophy.
    Now, I am 13. But for me, not to get confused. I always tell myself I am here to complete my spiritual mission in this world and help others. (This is just my opinion don't misunderstand)
    Overall I used to get depressed in this topic but now I don't. I just want to go with life and see happy moments with others.

  18. I would argue that the ship B is in fact similar to ship A based on the qualifications of what it means to the people.
    If the ship represents the victory and achievement then it doesn't matter if it's the same ship, it just needs to look similar.
    In the end everything comes down to perception.
    If no one knew that it wasn't exactly the original ship, then it simply isn't.

  19. I actually think ship a is our old selves while ship b is us currently since after 7 years we all actually don't have the same cells anymore that we had 7 years ago.

  20. Madukya upnishad answers it beautiflly. This was the core question of this ancient Indian text. The concept of TURYAM. 🙏🙏

  21. Great video,
    I appreciate your video on a very complicated and often difficult question to answer. You video started the thinking process and now maybe you could finish the answer or refer us to resources to get the answer.
    Thank you.

  22. إني أتسائل من بين آلاف الأنا، أي واحد منهم أنا!

    _جلال الدين الرومي

  23. Title: who am I

    Me:someone who's afraid to let gooooo

    I'm surprised no one has said this joke good job internet

  24. It's basically the same question as when you clone your self, which one is the real you? The clone or you? Because they are both the exact same person. So the answer is, the boat that is completely replaced is a clone of the original boat, same name same design of the original, so its not the real one.

  25. just like my old pickup, we become a combination of new parts and older Parts, never completely changing all at once. Kind of like nature is in general.

  26. am i an accumulation of tiny organisms functioning in an organized manner ,am i living or are they living ,am i me or them .

  27. I do not exist, it is an illusion created by human brain. This body is part of the universe. The universe experiencing this universe itself through this body.

  28. "Ship b would be ship a, except if I did the repairs,. Then ship b would leak like a sieve." Patrick McManus 😂

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