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Giddens talks about the belief people have in their own continuity. Calls it “Ontological security”. But… Do they really? It seems to me one of those things that can only be proven by a questionaire.

I mean, if you go around asking “Hey, do you believe in your own continuity?” i am pretty confident ereryone and their cat will answer “But of course!”. On the other hand, i am also positive the same people did not waste one single second of their lives wondering whether or not it is wise to assume their egos to be continuous. I think it is a safe bet that fewer than 1 in a million human beings got ellaborate enough in their epistemological musings to conclude into “ontological continuity”.

If someone can’t even understand the phrase, how can we attest his belief in such?

And still, it seems reasonable enough to say everyone believes in the continuity of their beings. Why? Simply because there is no way to phrase the asking without biasing the person to answer accordingly.

This question — and there are plenty alike — can’t be understood without a framework that stablishes for example what is “existence”. But no framework like this is even possible without biased assumptions.

Let’s just say this sort of question tries to access inner structures of the person, but the access to those structures can’t be direct or neutral, having to always go through the constraints of language.

Language uses association and there is nothing to associate to when dealing with some issues. What do you associate to “belief on self-continuity”? There simply is no such thing.

Nevertheless, this kind of questionaire bias is all too frequent. As an exercise: try to identify ideas that seem reasonable only in questionaires.


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