Look into Paul Hosking's mirrors

By Tom Whyman

Is it really possible to be a solipsist? Even a philosopher like J.G. Fichte, bombastic post-Kantian  Idealist, who attempted to ground all knowledge in the 'I', ultimately realised that his 'I' would be  nothing, unless it was in contact with a substantial, external world; a world that, crucially, had other  people in it. For Fichte, the 'I' is called to an awareness of itself by a 'summons'; a summons which  could only be issued by another 'I' – another free and rational being. 


I am 'I'. I am certain of my own thinking – the only thing, as Descartes famously asserted, that no one could ever doubt. Cogito Ergo Sum. I know that I am conscious, that I am a point of experience  that exists both within, and somehow behind and off to the side of, the external world. Everyone  else, on the other hand, might be what contemporary philosophers of mind call a 'cognitive zombie':  an empty thing, that just looks like a minded, conscious individual – going through the motions of  what it is to be an 'I'. 


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May 11, 2022