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The Metaphysics of Knowledge$
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Keith Hossack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206728

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206728.001.0001

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(p.194) 6 Persons
The Metaphysics of Knowledge

Keith Hossack (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues the discussion of consciousness, and applies it to persons. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 introduces the ‘Bafflement Argument’, that from the first-person perspective we can make no sense of borderline personal identity. Section 2 discusses logical features of the ‘I’-concept. Section 3 describes Lichtenberg's subjectless language, and introduces the ‘Lichtenbergian’ solipsist, who not only doubts the existence of ‘other minds’, but doubts his own existence also. Section 4 discusses how the Lichtenbergian solipsist could become an expert physicist and acquire the ‘my-body’-concept, without thereby acquiring the ‘I’-concept. Section 5 discusses how the solipsist could become a rational agent, section 6 how he could become an expert psychologist in the sense of functionalism, and Section 7 details how he could at last arrive at the ‘I’-concept by merging the objective functionalist conception of a psychological agent with the Lichtenbergian way of thinking of conscious states. Section 8 suggests that this undercuts the Bafflement Argument. Section 9 concludes that at the present time we are simply ignorant about the intrinsic nature of minds.

Keywords:   Bafflement Argument, personal identity, I-concept, Lichtenberg, functionalism, Lichtenbergian solipsist, my-body concept

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