International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series


The Gift of Self

Stephen David Ross
Pages 75-95

Self Identity

Possession is preeminently the form in which the other becomes the same, by becoming mine. (Levinas, TI, 46) If perceptions are distinct existences, they form a whole only by being connected together. But no connexions among distinct existences are ever discoverable by human understanding. We only feel a connexion or determination of the thought to pass from one object to another. It follows, therefore, that the thought alone feels personal identity, when reflecting on the train of past perceptions that compose a mind, the ideas of them are felt to be connected together, and naturally introduce each other. (Burne, T, App., 635) The I think must accompany all my representations, for otherwise something would be represented in me which could not be thought: .... they must conform to the condition under which alone they can exist altogether in a common self-consciousness, because otherwise they would not all without exception belong to me. (Kant, CPR, 76-7)