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First Person Singular

Harnad, Stevan (2009) First Person Singular. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Brian Rotman argues that (one) 'mind' and (one) 'god' are only conceivable, literally, because of (alphabetic) literacy, which allowed us to designate each of these ghosts as an incorporeal, speaker-independent 'I' (or, in the case of infinity, a notional agent that goes on counting forever). I argue that to have a mind is to have the capacity to feel. No one can be sure which organisms feel, hence have minds, but it seems likely that one-celled organisms and plants do not, whereas animals do. So minds originated before humans and before language --hence, a fortiori, before writing, whether alphabetic or ideographic.

Item Type:Preprint
Additional Information:Review of: Brian Rotman: Becoming Beside Ourselves: Alphabet, ghosts, distributed human beings
Keywords:language, evolution, consciousness, writing, mind, multimedia
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:6418
Deposited By:Harnad, Stevan
Deposited On:12 Apr 2009 23:41
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

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Rotman, Brian (2008) Becoming Beside Ourselves: Alphabet, ghosts, distributed human beings. Duke University Press

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