Re: Are First Person prime?

From: George Levy <>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 13:11:40 -0700

1Z wrote:

>>I don't even know what you mean by "first person".
>David Nyman wrote:
>It's a bit late in the day perhaps to tell me you 'don't even know what
>I mean by first person'! However, I'll have another go. I'm concerned
>to distinguish two basic meanings, which failing to specify IMO causes
>a lot of confusion:
>1) First person 1 (FP1) - the point-of-view that is directly claimed by
>an individual (FP1i) such as David or Peter, or what is generally meant
>when the word 'I' is directly uttered by such a person.
>2) First person 2 (FP2) - representations of an FP1 point-of-view as
>modelled within members of the FP1 community. The usage of 'David' or
>'Peter' in point 1) exemplifies one type of such representation, whose
>presumed referent is an FP1i person.
Here is an explanation more grounded in Physics:
The concept of "first person" comes directly from the Everett
manyworlds, Schoedinger cat experiment and the quantum suicide
(thought) experiment. In a quantum suicide the subject of the experiment
does not see himself dying. He can only see himself continuing living
along a branch of the manyworld in which his experiment went awry. His
perception is first person. Witnesses to the experiment are likely to
see the subject die and their point of view is third person. Thus first
person and third person imply some kind of "relativity" contingent on
the observer's own existence.

More generally, one can assume that the laws of physics themselves are
contingent on the observer -ie. the world is being destroyed every
nanoseconds or faster when it diverges into MW branches not supporting
life. - the only worlds we can observe are those worlds upholding those
physical laws supporting life. According to this hypothesis our primary
perception of the world is first person.

Thus first person perception of the world comes about when our own
existence is contingent on our observation.
Third person perception comes about in situations when our own existence
is not contingent on our observation.


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Received on Tue Aug 08 2006 - 16:16:13 PDT

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