On the Impossibility of Solitary Persons

Tuomas William Manninen


Lynne Baker outlines an application of the material constitution view to
personhood (in Baker 2000) on which (human) persons are constituted by (human)
organisms so that the two are not identical and yet they are not distinct
entities. Something is a person by virtue of having a first-person perspective.
Although Baker's proposal has received a fair share of criticism, virtually none
has been directed at what Baker identifies as one of her most controversial
claims, that the first-person perspective is relational. Despite being
sympathetic to Baker’s constitution view of personhood, I take this
controversial claim to be flawed. I will demonstrate how Baker’s claim connects
with the discussion of Wittgenstein's private language argument, and argue that
the impossibility of solitary speakers entails the impossibility of solitary


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; person; constitution view; private language; language; community view

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