Philosophy:Vertiginous question

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Short description: Philosophical argument by Benj Hellie

Benj Hellie's vertiginous question asks why, of all the subjects of experience out there, this one—the one corresponding to the human being referred to as Benj Hellie—is the one whose experiences are live? (The reader is supposed to substitute their own case for Hellie's.)[1]

A simple response is that this question reduces to "Why are Hellie's experiences live from Hellie's perspective," which is trivial to answer. However Hellie argues, through a parable, that this response leaves something out. His parable describes two situations, one reflecting a broad global constellation view of the world and everyone's phenomenal features, and one describing an embedded view from the perspective of a single subject.[further explanation needed] The former seems to align better with the simple response above,[why?] but the latter seems a better description of consciousness.

Hellie's argument is closely related to Caspar Hare's theories of egocentric presentism and perspectival realism, of which several other philosophers have written reviews.[2] Similar questions are also asked repeatedly by J. J. Valberg in justifying his horizonal view of the self.[3]

See also


  1. Hellie, Benj (2013). "Against egalitarianism". Analysis 73 (2): 304–320. doi:10.1093/analys/ans101. 
  2. McDaniel, Kris (January 2012). "On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects by Hare, Caspar - Review". Ethics 122 (2): 403–410. doi:10.1086/663578. 
  3. Valberg, J. J. (2007). Dream, Death, and the Self. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691128597. 

External links