Friday, June 24, 2011

on reducing the first person to the third.

Is there a possible world qualitatively identical to this one wherein I am the one reading this blog and you are the one who wrote it?

If your answer is “no”, you must think that there are certain qualities that are actually true of you and not actually true of me without which you would not be you. What are those qualities?


My answer:

It depends on what might count as a quality. If a necessary feature of qualities is that each one can be multiply instantiated (i.e., they can occur in more than one subject at the same time), then my answer is “yes.” I think it’s possible that every quality (in this sense) that is actually true of me could be true of you and vice-versa.

But, if it’s not necessary for a quality to be multiply instantiated, then my answer is “no.” What quality that is actually true of me without which I would not be me? My Derekeity, or Derekness. If I lose that, then I most surely would not be me.

But since Derekeity is the only thing I need to be the particular person that I am, it’s entirely possible that you could be the one who wrote this blog and I be the one who is reading it. So long as your unique and incommunicable attribute is attached to the person who writes this blog and my Derekeity is attached to the person who reads it, then it’s possible.



What the hell is Derekeity?

I can’t describe it, because any adjective I might use would be picking out qualities that are possibly true of persons distinct from me, and Derekeity is wholly unique and incommunicable.

If you can’t describe it, how can we know what it is like?

Here’s how. Get to know me, and then list every single characteristic you know is true of me that might be captured by a possible common adjective or some conjunction thereof. The attribute or characteristic that you’re aware of and that’s left over or is not captured on the list is identical to my Derekeity.

I call this method the distillation method of knowing persons.



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