PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS ISSN 2043-0728
Issue No. 228
14th December 2018
List Manager's Issue
I. 'Why am I not Someone Else?' by Erdinc Sayan
II. 'Comment on Erdinc Sayan's 'Why am I not Someone Else?'' by Craig Skinner
III. 'All Minds Great and Small: a Defence of Panpsychism' by Craig Skinner
IV. 'The 'I' Conundrum: Two Short Pieces' by Geoffrey Klempner
FROM THE LIST MANAGER
'I might not have existed, but someone exactly like me might have existed in my place.'
That assertion -- which I have referred to in various places as the 'idiotic conundrum' on account of its seeming ineffability -- forms the basis of this Issue 228 of Philosophy Pathways.
On 6th October, in my Glass House Philosopher blog (page 90) I announced that I would no longer be 'spilling words on the Internet.' So far, I have kept to my word. I write most days, but for my own eyes only. Possibly, at some time in the indefinite future, a book may come out of this, but I'm not counting on it.
The reason for temporarily breaking my self-imposed silence is a promise I made back in September to Dr Erdinc Sayan, a retired Professor of Philosophy from Ankara, Turkey, whose article published in this issue came like a bolt from the blue. Here was someone who had seen what I saw, and moreover had the courage to face up to the challenge. As Dr Sayan states in his email to me, 'I am so glad that I ran into a philosopher like yourself who has felt the deep mystery in questions like, 'Why am I not someone else?'... Most people who read or listened to my paper did not look [like] they felt the question in their hearts at all.'
My own contribution to this topic can be found in Issue 213 of Philosophy Pathways, 6th July 2017: 'I might not have been the author of this article'. However, the question is one I have been grappling with for over two decades. Here, I have included two very short pieces written in 2000 and 2018 just to give a flavour of my thoughts on this topic. The first piece was originally written as an answer on 'Ask a Philosopher' LINK. The second piece comes from the 'Philosophy Pathways blog' LINK.
Also in this issue are two pieces by Craig Skinner, an Editor of Philosophy Pathways and a member of the expert panel of 'Ask a Philosopher'. Craig and I exchanged several emails on this topic. His first article is a commentary on Erdinc Sayan. The second, 'All Minds Great and Small: a Defence of Panpsychism' argues for his own view, in the form of a philosophical dialogue.
(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2018
I. 'WHY AM I NOT SOMEONE ELSE?' BY ERDINC SAYAN
'Why am I not someone else?' and its kindred questions, 'Why wasn't I born, say, in the 7th century or in the 30th century?', 'Why was I born in this country and not another one?', 'Was it necessary that I be born to these parents and not to some other parents?' are formidable philosophical questions, which are not only difficult to answer but also difficult to even comprehend [...]
(c) Erdinc Sayan 2018
II. 'COMMENT ON ERDINC SAYAN 'WHY AM I NOT SOMEONE ELSE?'' BY CRAIG SKINNER
In his informed, thought-provoking and entertaining piece, Sayan grapples with his title question, skirts around suggested solutions without endorsing any, and concludes that it may be one of the universe's 'grand mysteries'. He focuses the discussion by postulating or referencing a number of scenarios in which he has an identical twin -- a natural one, or a duplicate (clone in this world), or an indiscernible counterpart in an exact duplicate parallel universe -- in each case asking why he doesn't have his twin's body while the twin has his [...]
(c) Craig Skinner 2018
III. 'ALL MINDS GREAT AND SMALL: A DEFENCE OF PANPSYCHISM' BY CRAIG SKINNER
'I'm not saying rocks have a rich inner life or that an orbiting electron longs to be free, coursing through a wire with its fellows as an electric current.' 'Well, what are you saying?' 'I'm saying that the best explanation of mind and matter is that both are features of all things from quarks to rocks and humans. So yes, an electron has a touch of mind as well as a smidgeon of mass. The rock has rather more of each, but neither is therein organized into a unity as in, say, a dolphin' [...]
(c) Craig Skinner 2018
IV. 'THE 'I' CONUNDRUM: TWO SHORT PIECES' BY GEOFFREY KLEMPNER
... we've got something when there might have been nothing. We have got this world, when there might have been some other world. Now, you are looking in that bathroom mirror, and you think, 'Hang on a second, why is there this face in the mirror? Why am I me? Why is there such an individual as I?' Leibniz's theory implies there had to be [someone] matching your precise physical and mental description, because that is what was required to make this the best of all possible worlds. But where does I come into the picture? [...]
(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2000, 2018