Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 Y - You


You: Personal pronoun to address another person.

That I can address you by "you" and you can address me in the same way is a familiar fact of speech since one learned to speak. Even so, it normally involves assumptions that, though also quite ordinary, are quite far going:

That there are other persons, who have their own feelings, desires and beliefs; that you are an entity that is rather like me, and can be to a considerable extent understood from my own experiences, just as my own experiences can be to a considerable extent understood from your experiences.

The reason this is a far going assumption, even though every human being is raised using it, is that the experiences of others are not given to us. And indeed, Berkeley uses especially this fact in his Alciphron to try to justify the assumption of God, along the line of "If you admit other people's experiences exist, even if all you see of them is their external behaviour, then why not admit that God exists?"


See also: Other minds, Person, Personalism, Qualia, Solipsism



 Original: Jul 21, 2006                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top