First Person Singular: Review of: Brian Rotman: Becoming Beside Ourselves: Alphabet, ghosts, distributed human beings [Book Review]

Brian Rotman argues that (one) “mind” and (one) “god” are only conceivable, literally, because of (alphabetic) literacy, which allowed us to designate each of these ghosts as an incorporeal, speaker-independent “I” (or, in the case of infinity, a notional agent that goes on counting forever). I argue that to have a mind is to have the capacity to feel. No one can be sure which organisms feel, hence have minds, but it seems likely that one-celled organisms and plants do not, whereas animals do. So minds originated before humans and before language --hence, a fortiori, before writing, whether alphabetic or ideographic.
Keywords language  writing  literacy  mind  consciousness
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