[just a short note from around May 20, 2014]
A person, we tend to say, is not simply an object. Each of us would be at least inclined to say about herself or himself “I am not just an object”.
What are we trying to say in such a case?
Maybe I should keep a journal of my talks with Răzvan (my older son, 7 y.o.). This Friday, after taking him from school, he told me: “I have learned that the brain is the most important organ in our bodies. It controls all the other organs and it controls you as well.”. He went on with “the brain does this” and “the brain does that” and “the brain knows that… ” and “the brain wants you to… “.
All my attempts to convince him that it was wrong to talk about a brain as if it was a person living in one’s head have failed. Trying to show him that this would be a conceptual mistake just did not work. And then I’ve told him that the problem with this way of talking was that one could always avoid responsibility for what one did – relegating it to the brain (“I did nothing wrong, my brain did.”).
This made sense to him. He said: “So maybe the teacher was wrong.” – “See”, I replied, “you don’t say that her brain was wrong”. He laughed. Problem solved. I think there is a philosophical moral to this.