John Perry: Thinking and Talking About the Self
The Case of Borges' selves
"The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to… I
know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of
professors or in a biographical dictionary…. It would be an
exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let
myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and
this literature justifies me."
• Jorge Luis Borges "Borges and I"
The power of Borges' (very) short story turns on the fact that we have two quite different ways of thinking of ourselves; one, that we express with the first person, that is a special way of thinking of ourselves, the other, for which he uses his name, that allows us to think of ourselves more or less as others do. I'll explore these two different ways of thinking, and talking, about ourselves, and draw some conclusions about the structure of thought and language.