Open individualism is the view in the philosophy of self, according to which there exists only one numerically identical subject, who is everyone at all times, in the past, present and future.[1]: 617  It is a theoretical solution to the question of personal identity, being contrasted with "Empty individualism", the view that personal identities correspond to a fixed pattern that instantaneously disappears with the passage of time, and with "Closed individualism", the common view that personal identities are particular to subjects and yet survive over time.[1]: xxii 

History Edit

The term was coined by philosopher Daniel Kolak,[2] though this view has been described at least since the time of the Upanishads, in the late Bronze Age; the phrase "Tat tvam asi" meaning "You are that" is an example.[citation needed] Others who have expressed similar views (in various forms) include the philosophers Averroes,[3] Arthur Schopenhauer,[4] and Arnold Zuboff,[5] mystic Meher Baba,[6] stand-up comedian Bill Hicks,[7] writer Alan Watts,[8] as well as renowned physicists Erwin Schrödinger,[9] Freeman Dyson,[10] and Fred Hoyle.[11]

In fiction Edit

Leo Tolstoy in the short story "Esarhaddon, King of Assyria", tells how an old man appears before Esarhaddon and takes the king through a process where he experiences, from a first-person perspective, the lives of humans and non-human animals he has tormented. This reveals to him that he is everyone and that by harming others, he is actually harming himself.[12]

In the science fiction novel October the First Is Too Late, Fred Hoyle puts forward the "pigeon hole theory" which asserts that "each moment of time can be thought of as a pre-existing pigeon hole" and the pigeon hole currently being examined by your consciousness is the present and that the spotlight of consciousness does not have to move in a linear fashion; it could potentially move around in any order.[13] Hoyle considers the possibility that there might be one set of pigeon holes for each person, but only one spotlight, which would mean that the "consciousness could be the same".[11]

"The Egg", a short story by Andy Weir, is about a character who finds out that they are every person who has ever existed.[14]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Kolak, Daniel (2007-11-03). I Am You: The Metaphysical Foundations for Global Ethics. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 978-1-4020-3014-7.
  2. ^ Thomson, Garrett (2008-06-01). "Counting subjects". Synthese. 162 (3): 373–384. doi:10.1007/s11229-007-9249-7. ISSN 1573-0964. S2CID 43009328.
  3. ^ Ivry, Alfred (2012), "Arabic and Islamic Psychology and Philosophy of Mind", in Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 2019-09-07
  4. ^ Barua, Arati, ed. (2017). Schopenhauer on Self, World and Morality: Vedantic and Non-Vedantic Perspectives. Springer Singapore. ISBN 978-9811059537.
  5. ^ Zuboff, Arnold (1990). "One Self: The Logic of Experience" (PDF). Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. 33 (1): 39–68. doi:10.1080/00201749008602210.
  6. ^ Baba, Meher (2015). The Everything and the Nothing (PDF) (2nd ed.). Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sheriar Foundation. ISBN 978-1880619131. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-04-30.
  7. ^ "Mushroom scene from, American - The Bill Hicks Story". YouTube. May 18, 2014.
  8. ^ Watts, Alan (1966). The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (PDF) (1st ed.). New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0394417257.
  9. ^ Schrödinger, Erwin (1992). What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521427081.
  10. ^ Dyson, Freeman J. (1979). Disturbing the Universe (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0060111083.
  11. ^ a b Hoyle, Fred (1966). October the First Is Too Late (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0060028459.
  12. ^ Tolstoy, Leo (1906). Twenty-three Tales. Translated by Maude, Aylmer and Louise. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 256–263.
  13. ^ Webb, Stephen (2017). All the Wonder that Would Be: Exploring Past Notions of the Future. Cham: Springer International Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 978-3-319-51759-9. OCLC 985702597.
  14. ^ Prisco, Giulio (2015-07-18). "A short story about Open Individualist resurrection by Andy Weir, author of The Martian". Turing Church. Archived from the original on 2020-11-08. Retrieved 2020-05-04.

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