What Defines Your Identity? Not Your Memories But Your Moral Decisions.
Who we are in our essence has a great deal to do with how people identify us in our everyday lives.
Who are you and what are you doing here?
It is no mistake that the philosopher and the amnesiac ask this very question. Who we are in our essence has a great deal to do with how people identify us in our everyday lives. Yes, our physical appearance is a general cue, but if our personality were to radically change overnight, we would become, functionally, a different person.
Scientists and artists alike have often pointed to our memories as the stuff of who we "really" are. Lose your memories and you lose all the experiences that form you. But there is a more foundational component to identity, argues Nina Strohminger, a psychologist at Duke University in North Carolina:
"Moral features are the chief dimension by which we judge, sort and choose social partners. For men and women alike, the single most sought-after trait in a long-term romantic partner is kindness – beating out beauty, wealth, health, shared interests, even intelligence."
In her final analysis, Strohminger goes even further. She argues that a moral sense is so fundamental that our very concept of identify is a construct existing to give our moral sense a vehicle. Thus to know yourself and to know the others around you means to understand their moral choices.
In his Big Think interview, philosopher Pete Singer argues that ethical standards are about forming community, i.e. acting morally is in one's self interest because it helps create a community that can be called on in times of need:
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Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.
- SpaceX was founded in 2002 and was an industry joke for many years. Eighteen years later, it is the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
- Today, SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The journey will take about 19 hours.
- Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, looks at SpaceX's journey from startup to a commercial space company with the operating power of a nation-state.
A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.
Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.