Re: Are First Person prime?

From: 1Z <>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 09:17:15 -0700

David Nyman wrote:
> 1Z wrote:
> > > I'll try to nail this here. I take 'ontology' to refer to issues of
> > > existence or being, where 'epistemology' refers to knowledge, or 'what
> > > and how we know'. When I say that our 'ontology' is manifest, I'm
> > > claiming (perhaps a little more cautiously than Descartes): 'I am
> > > that which experiences here'. I take these to be an ontological
> > > continuum or set of equivalences, not properties: I ->experience ->
> > > here. For reasons of economy, I see no need to postulate any other
> > > ontological status.
> > What about all the stuff that appears, subjectively , to be not-me ?
> >
> > If I ignore it, I am not making full use of my only epistemologial
> > resource.
> >
> > If I treat is as 1st-personal as well as third-personal, I am
> > overcomplicating things.
> Hi Peter
> I'd like to be really careful here to avoid getting into some of the
> same loops that so frustrated Alan on the FOR list! I may well be dead
> wrong in what I'm claiming, but at least I'd like us both to be clear
> on precisely what in fact this is.
> Firstly, my overall enterprise is to arrive at some general description
> of things that relies on as few explanatory entities as possible. Now,
> IMO we cannot avoid taking first person into account - I find I can't
> begin to have an intelligible discussion with anyone who doesn't accept
> this (not you clearly).

I don't even know what you mean by "first person".

You seem to think that the boundraries of the self are given by
non-fundamental structures and properties, likewise qualia.

> From this, if first person is to be a given,
> the simplest approach is to explore whether, ontologically speaking, we
> could take it to be the sole given, and my project has been to see
> where this leads. One of the difficulties has been to pin down the
> language to distinguish the different meanings associated with the term
> 'first person', so I've attempted to define certain usages (which I'm
> happy at any time to abandon for better ones). These are:
> 1) FP1g - primitive 'global' first person entity or context
> 2) FP1i - individual person delimited by primitive differentiation
> (which is agnostic to comp, physics, or anything else at this logical
> level)
> 3) FP2 - narrative references to first persons, as in 'David is a first
> person', an attribution, as opposed to 'David-as-first-person', a
> unique entity.
> 4) TP - third person, or structure-read-as-information, as opposed to
> structure-demarcating-an-entity
> Later on in the reply to Bruno from which you quote, and in some of the
> earlier posts, I make the point that starting from such a generalised
> or undifferentiated first person context we can see that certain sorts
> of structural differentiation can create delimited zones within the
> whole. Some of these zones take the form of individual first persons
> (FP1i).

Why shoukdn't FP1i be the most primitive 1st-person,
arising from 0-personality ?

> Within each FP1i person so constituted exists a 'set of
> capabilities' and a 'structural model of the world'. Which part of the
> FP1i acts as 'perceiver' and which 'perceptual model' is simply an
> aspect of function-from-structure. It happens to be the former that
> has the organisation for representing information and self-reporting,
> so it's the one that gets to enjoy 'experience'.
> Within the structural model of the world - our only means of
> representing, and through 'downloading', sharing information with other
> first persons - there will of course be regions that we variously label
> 'self' (e.g. 'my arm') or 'other' (e.g. Peter Jones'). The latter, I
> presume, would be an example of what you call 'stuff that appears,
> subjectively , to be not-me'. Of course I agree that 'If I ignore it,
> I am not making full use of my only epistemologial resource'. So, I
> don't ignore it.
> However, you go on: 'If I treat is as 1st-personal as well as
> third-personal, I am overcomplicating things'. My response to this is
> two-fold. First, of course, it is simply not the case that my
> representation of 'Peter Jones' is the same as its presumed referent in
> the world 'Peter Jones'. My assumption is that it is informationally
> connected with this referent, and to an extent co-varies with it, but
> it is well for me to remember that such representations are my
> reponsibility and not yours. But more fundamentally, and this is why I
> recapitulated my overall project at the outset, the intention is to
> simplify, not complicate. My representation of 'Peter Jones' is a part
> of my subjectivity, and it is a part I label 'third person' to
> distinguish it from 'self', an evolutionarily useful distinction.

All of that is structural and therefore seconfary to any prime

> Peter Jones in the world I take to be another first person entity
> (FP1i) that derives this status in virtue of being another delimited
> zone, appropriately structured, within FP1g, the single ontological
> context. Outside of my subjective model of the world, and that of
> other first persons, in no sense is Peter Jones in the world 'third
> person'. Only the *references* to Peter Jones are subjectively
> categorised as such within individual world-models, and these are FP2
> first-person analogs, or third person descriptions of first persons -
> as distinct from 'instantiated first persons'.
> Now it seems to me that all of the above has been accomplished without
> moving outside of a primitive first person ontology. I have
> distinguished various zones within this single context, and I've
> suggested how one information structure can be used to 'label' another
> (i.e. stand in relation to it) as 'third person' (description or
> narrative), 'self', or 'other', and all without deploying any other
> ontological type, other than metaphorically. That's what I'm trying to
> achieve.

You could have done the same starting from a 0-personal position.

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Received on Tue Aug 08 2006 - 12:20:45 PDT

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