more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5661

[catalogued under 16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 3. Limits of Introspection]

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.

Gist of Idea

We identify experiences by their owners, so we can't define owners by their experiences


A.J. Ayer (The Concept of a Person [1963], žI)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'The Concept of a Person etc' [Macmillan 1973], p.84

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.