Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Jonathan Kvanvig, A.J. Ayer and Michael Lavers

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2 ideas

16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Knowing the Self
Self-consciousness is not basic, because experiences are not instrinsically marked with ownership [Ayer]
     Full Idea: Self-consciousness is not a primitive datum, or in other words the observer's experiences are not intrinsically marked as his own.
     From: A.J. Ayer (The Central Questions of Philosophy [1973], VI.A)
     A reaction: This is a very Humean, ruthlessly empiricist view of the matter. Plenty of philosophers (existentialists, or Charles Taylor) would say that our experiences have our interests or values built into them. Why are they experiences, and not just events?
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 3. Limits of Introspection
We identify experiences by their owners, so we can't define owners by their experiences [Ayer]
     Full Idea: Normally we identify experiences in terms of the persons whose experiences they are; but this will lead to a vicious circle if persons themselves are to be analysed in terms of their experiences.
     From: A.J. Ayer (The Concept of a Person [1963], I)
     A reaction: This (from a leading empiricist) is a nice basic challenge to all empiricist accounts of personal identity. One might respond my saying that the circle is not vicious. There are two interlinked concepts (experience and persons), like day and night.