- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'First-Person Perspective1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 13/02/2018 00:07:12): First-Person Perspective
- The concept of a “First-Person Perspective” (FPP) is central to the Constitution View4 of personal identity.
- Just what this is needs spelling out – what does Lynne Rudder Baker think this is, and why does she think it so ontologically5 important. She seems to be obsessed by the thought that beings that can contemplate their own deaths6 are ontologically different. Why is it that this, rather than simply a phenomenally conscious7 perspective, that counts8 as the ontological watershed?
- We might instead posit another property9 – that of consciousness of Self10 – as the critical moment in the ontological ladder leading to persons. I suspect some philosophers of rigging the qualifications for personhood so that only human beings11 – and maybe some others even more exalted (like God and angels) – qualify. Non-human animals12 must be excluded to ensure the uniqueness and specialness of humans.
- Also, can we really use this term to explain13 personal identity, as “person14” appears in it? If it’s supposed to be elucidatory of personal identity, we seem to have a circle.
- Really what’s important – it seems to me – is that we have animals with certain properties that are important to them. We can’t reify the property and make it a stand-alone thing, like the Cheshire Cat’s smile. Nor can we assume without a lot of careful argument that this property can hop from one infrastructure to another – as in uploading15 or resurrection16.
- An argument I’m fond of is that – despite whatever psychological differences there may be between me and my future self – I can both rationally anticipate his experiences and should display rational concern for his well-being. That is because we share the same “window on the world”. Try out the future great pain test17 and see if I'm worried! Now is this “window on the world” the same as a FPP? After all, it may be that my senile old self no longer qualifies as a person, though is phenomenally conscious, and I should be concerned for him whatever his ontological status; only the absence of phenomenal consciousness would remove all that matters18.
- In summary, I think the FPP is a useful concept, and represents our window on the world, and what matters to us in survival. But it is a property of a human animal, and that animal’s persistence19 doesn’t rest upon it.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read20, include21 the following:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective: What Is The Problem?", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective", Baker
- "Dennett (Daniel) - Where Am I?", Dennett
- "Genova (Lisa) - Still Alice", Genova
- "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings", Johnston
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity, Rational Anticipation, and Self-Concern", Shoemaker_D
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - The First-Person Perspective", Shoemaker_S
- "Zimmerman (Dean) - Does God Know Our First-Person Perspectives?", Zimmerman
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Anscombe (G.E.M.) - The First Person", Anscombe
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Cartesianism and the First-Person Perspective", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Can Subjectivity be Naturalized?", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - First-Person Externalism", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - The First-Person Perspective and its Relation to Cognitive Science", Baker
- "Eilan (Naomi) - The First Person Perspective", Eilan
- "Johnston (Mark) - 'Human Beings' Revisited: My Body is Not an Animal", Johnston
- "Kolak (Daniel) - Room for a View: On the Metaphysical Subject of Personal Identity", Kolak
- "Kripke (Saul) - The First Person", Kripke
- "Metzinger (Thomas) - Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity", Metzinger
- "Thomson (Garrett) - Counting subjects", Thomson
- "Valberg (J.J.) - The Uses of the First Person", Valberg
- "Valberg (J.J.) - What Makes First-Person Reference First Personal?", Valberg
- This is mostly a place-holder22. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (13/02/2018 00:07:12).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- I suppose either both or neither might count ontologically.
- Also, both might have enormous significance, yet not imply that an ontologically distinct entity had come on the scene.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018