Authors from Carl Jung to Aldous Huxley and Susan Blackmore explore the deep mysteries of what it means to be a person
Do you know what sort of animal you are? It’s rather important to know. If you call yourself a humanist, for instance, don’t you need some idea of what a human is so that you can make sure your behaviour accords with your ethics? If you think that humans are just a little lower than the angels, as the Judaeo-Christian tradition says, shouldn’t you know how much lower, so you can be appropriately aspirational but not frustrated or cocky?
And then there’s the problem of personal identity. When you say “I love you”, or “I‘m afraid”, how confident are you about wielding that mighty and mysterious pronoun? Are you as confident as modern neuroscientists that “you” are just the chemical events that happen in your brain? Does that explanation satisfy you?