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I have direct and unmediated knowledge of what I myself think, feel and see, but I do not and never can have unmediated knowledge of what anyone else thinks or feels or sees; therefore it would appear to be a requirement of proper method to confine my questioning, at least in the first instance, to what I directly know. With this thought in mind I have tried to make myself concentrate on my experience as being personally and uniquely mine, and to frame my questions about it in terms of ‘I’; but this feels strained and unnatural, something I am forcing myself to do; and as soon as I stop being self-conscious about it I relapse into ‘we’ again. It appears to be another of those apprehensions that I cannot account for and yet cannot shake off—that there is something that we all are, and that its sharedness is essential to what it is, and that my metaphysical questions are about it. I have tried to find justification for this conviction, but in vain, and yet I have it.

Bryan Magee (from Confessions of a Philosopher, 1997)

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