Last week we examined the personhood of The Flesh in the Eleventh Doctor episodes, The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People, from series six. Finding themselves on an acid mine located on an island, the Doctor, Amy and Rory are quickly captured by the miners and introduced to the Flesh. The Flesh, the worst kept secret of the government, is programmable living matter that is capable of taking a form (typically human) and sent to do the really dangerous work of acid mining. The humans in charge of the mine believe that the Flesh lacks sentience and as such is essentially disposable. Sentience, or at least the ability to have a rich inner mental life, is a crucial characteristic of personhood. It wasn’t until the Flesh rose up and plotted the downfall of the miners to prevent their own deaths that humanity realized that the Flesh are people too. The rebel Flesh provided evidence of that rich inner life necessary to demonstrate that they are people. But hidden behind the demonstration of a rich inner life is a far more important question for epistemology, how do I know that anyone besides myself as a mind like mine?
The Eleventh Doctor and his ganger looked pretty similar on the outside, but what about the inside (and I don’t mean the two hearts)? The Eleventh Doctor may know that he has a mind to think all his clever thoughts, but can he think that the ganger has a similar mind with its own clever thoughts? This problem, known as the problem of other minds, is what we turn our minds (or at least what I’ll be turning my mind to because I can’t know if you have a mind) to tomorrow.