more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5664

[catalogued under 16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 1. Self and Consciousness]

Full Idea

It may not make sense to talk of states of consciousness except as the experiences of some conscious subject; and it may well be that this conscious subject can not be identified except by reference to his body.

Gist of Idea

Consciousness must involve a subject, and only bodies identify subjects


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

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'The Concept of a Person etc' [Macmillan 1973], p.113

A Reaction

It strikes me that Ayer deserves more credit as a pioneer of this view. It tracks back to what may turn out to be the key difficulty for Descartes - how do you individuate a mental substance? I may identify me, but how do I identify you?