Comments on “Non-existence: Scarlet Leviathan”

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I think this is honestly the

Emphere's picture

I think this is honestly the biggest cliffhanger you have on your website. Is it anywhere near the front of your writing list? If not, can you point towards some reading on the subject? Thank you!

"You are only a few other people"

Hmm, no, I’m afraid it’s nowhere near the front of the queue.

I’d recommend Brian Cantwell Smith’s On The Origin Of Objects. His analysis isn’t exactly the same as the one I’ll advocate, but it’s close.

While on the topic, Peter Unger wrote two papers about this, “I do not exist” and “Why there are no people.” I think that in both cases he was mistaken, but I have to admit those are two of the best titles in the history of academic writing.

In the similar work I Am You, Daniel Kolak notes:

I once remarked to Unger (in a conversation with him and Steve Stich) that it seemed to me ironic that he went from a view in which he believed he was no one and did not exist, to a view in which he exists for a while, he said, “Well, Dan, I was rather an impetuous young man when I had that radical thesis; you are now young and believe we are all the same person. When you get to be my age you too will mellow with your views and then probably you will believe you are only a few other people.” Stich almost fell off his chair laughing.

Thanks for the pointer!

Emphere's picture

Thank you, I had a look at the book and it seems really dense! [Especially after being exposed to your exceptionally clear writing on such complicated subjects] But I have little doubt that it will be worthwhile (as most of your reading list has been pretty interesting). For instance, I have been reading Dreyfus’ Being-in-the-World and the pereceptual shift that comes with it is really profound. It’s really interesting how adopting Heidegger’s lens on the world makes questions like “free will v/s determinism” just dissolve away, you know? But I can’t pinpoint exactly how.

That is indeed an amusing acnecdote. Coincidentally, I have Stich’s *Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science” on my reading list to better understand your arguments against cognitivism.

Dreyfus, Stich

Ah, that is interesting about reading Dreyfus!

Also interesting that you found Stich. I remember reading that in about 1987, and thinking it was good, but nothing about what it says!

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