Some years ago I heard one of the Beatles in the course of a conversation about his career opine that 'after all I might easily have been someone else, mightn't I'. I remember not being sure about this proposition. One half knows what is being got at but on the other hand, it seems barely intelligible. Could I easily have been someone else? Ian g
Several years ago, in a fit of anger at her father, my daughter turned her anger on me and demanded that I explain to her why I had ever gotten involved with him. I pointed out to her that she had no right to be angry at me on these grounds, since she wouldn’t have existed had it not been for my involvement with him. Her origins are essential to her, and she wouldn’t have existed had it not been for these origins. Might she then have reasonably replied that she could have been someone else? I agree that this claim is barely coherent. It is true that she could have had many different attributes. She might not have developed certain interests; she might not have looked exactly the way that she looks. But that’s not to say that she could have been someone else; it’s to say that she– the very same person– could have had certain different attributes. For further thoughts that are relevant to this question, see 302 and 433 .