Scepticism, Dualism and Action
The ‘problem of other minds’, as it is traditionally understood, is a problem about my right to take certain of the things that I see around me as beings that, for example, feel pain, get angry, act and see. The problem might be presented in the form of the question: what justification do I have for taking these beings that I see around me to be people? The question, in its traditional form, assumes that there is a crucial contrast with regard to the need for justification between my thought of you as a person and my thought of this as a stone; it assumes that the former stands in need of justification in a way in which the latter does not. It is assumed, that is, that it is consistent with everything that I can actually observe of the other that he is not a being of the kind that feels pain and so on. What is crucial for that is something which, in some sense, lies behind the human being that I can observe.1; Thus, there is room for a sceptical doubt which needs to be removed, if possible, by some justification for thinking that what I observe points to the presence of that which is crucial.
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