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By Ramchandra Gandhi (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1349015733

ISBN-13: 9781349015733

ISBN-10: 134901575X

ISBN-13: 9781349015757

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That you identify me in addressing me is borne out by the fact that in addressing me you put me in possession of the thought 'He means me'. And yet you identify me without referring to me! I think this is a fact of some fundamental importance, but easy to lose sight of. The notion of identification has been on the whole understood either in terms of the phenomenon of recognition or in terms of the activity of identifying some items or other for a hearer in conversation with him. We also talk about the identification of persons along these lines, thereby ignoring the fact that there is a unique mode of identification of persons, the mode of identification which consists in addressing them or in being addressed by them.

Yielding the unacceptable conclusion that one is an attributeless entity, a bare particular, that as a matter of empirical fact, one is a soul. But this danger can be overcome easily if we constantly remind ourselves of the communicative original ground of the notion of a soul. I have so far talked about the notion of a soul in a rather self-centred manner. Our experience of soul is wider. When I cast another person, you, in the role of an audience ('you' arise for me in this way), I regard you as a soul - as yourself and not, or not merely, as a certain sort of creature.

Not that one is a bare particular, only that for an act of addressing to take place, it is essential that one imagine one's audience quite simply as himself, a unique but bare particular, and not, in the same act, as a creature of a particular sort. So self-consciousness would seem to have these two faces. The conviction of self-identity which pervades it would spring from an actual experience of being involved in an act of addressing, or from an act of imagining that one was involved in an act of addressing.

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The Availability of Religious Ideas by Ramchandra Gandhi (auth.)

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