Swapping myths from East and West
David Bakhurst talks about a seminar organised for him during his 1983 research year in Moscow by Mikhailov the author of “Загадка человеческого Я». Bakhurst uses a sci-fi kind of thought experiment (drawn from Bernard Williams’ “the Self and the Future” which is presented as showing the way analytical philosophy would tackle the problem of individuality. This seems to make the assumption that the technology needed for Fedorov’s resurrection of past generations is available, and uses that to demonstrate that the individual might be identified as a collection of memories rather than a body. And that further, the collection of memories could be connected up to a new body.
The discussion was published in English 12 years later ( Studies in East European Thought, Vol. 47, No. 1/2 (Jun., 1995). Mikhailov tackles the apparent separateness of people in a way that also connects with part of what Fedorov thought – The idea of individuals as a continuation of the lives of their ancestors: “When the child is in the mother’s womb we confidently say that the child is part of the life-activity of the mother’s organism.” This is true both biologically and also because the human being necessarily acts within a pre-existing culture. However the new individual cannot simply take up one of the pre-existing individualities: “The child cannot simply adopt the point of view of the adult. She cannot “internalize” actions. She can’t take up the mother’s position.”
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