more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5322

[catalogued under 16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Knowing the Self]

Full Idea

Self-consciousness is not a primitive datum, or in other words the observer's experiences are not intrinsically marked as his own.

Gist of Idea

Self-consciousness is not basic, because experiences are not instrinsically marked with ownership


A.J. Ayer (The Central Questions of Philosophy [1973], §VI.A)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'The Central Questions of Philosophy' [Penguin 1976], p.112

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?