In Response to Daniel Dennett's "Where Am I?"

1113 words 5 pages
One potential worry that one might have upon reading Daniel Dennett's "Where Am I?," is about the complications that might arise from Dennett categorizing his brain, who he calls Yorick, and his body, who he calls Hamlet, as two distinct entities. One may contend that the brain and the body are in fact only one entity, connected much in the same way that other people's brains and bodies seem to be connected—however that may be—with the exception of an unusually large temporal gap between Dennett's brain and Dennett's body in this case. Unfortunately, however, this worry is ultimately unclear and incoherent, but if expressed in different terms, it is possible to make sense of the underlying idea . In this paper, I will describe this worry, …show more content…

This is because there really is no problem with conceptually distinguishing between a brain and a body and speaking about one without the other. Therefore, no harm was done by Dennett in categorizing his brain and his body as two distinct entities and discussing them separately for the purposes of drawing out intuitions as to where the seat of the ‘self' may reside.
So what, then, is the real worry? As I mentioned above, after the operation, Dennett wonders why he believes that he is staring at his own brain instead of believing that he is "suspended in a bubbling fluid, being stared at by his own eyes" (ibid, 379). My belief is that ‘he' is neither his brain nor his body; rather, ‘he' is actually the connection between the two. In other words, Dennett is essentially the union of his brain and his body provided that they are connected in a certain way. Thus his brain and his body ultimately constitute two parts of who he is, much like a jacket and slacks constitute two parts of what a suit is.
Thus, Dennett's mistake is not in categorizing his brain and his body as two distinct entities; instead, it is the supposition, evidenced in the title of "Where Am I?," that Dennett's actual location can be pointed to, like a set of Cartesian coordinates.
One potential worry that can be brought against this view is this: When Dennett's body comes into contact with the underground warhead that his mission requires him to disable, the connection between