The Me in Avatars and iPhones

At The Philosophers Magazine Online, Julian Baggini recently interviewed philosopher David Chalmers. And since "A Piece of iMe: an interview with David Chalmers" asks aloud to what extent information aids like the iPhone are part of our minds as opposed to mere tools, I took notice. I'm a Chalmers fan.

Though he's not entirely sold on it, he reasons as follows: If an Alzheimer’s patient uses directions stored in his phone to get to his destination, and he understands that those directions were available on the device prior to looking them up, why shouldn't the device be considered part of his mind?

That idea popped back into my head recently while reading Terra Nova, a blog on virtual worlds. There, the blogger asks whether anyone else finds it unusual that an active participant in Second Life and World of Warcraft would refer to her avatar like this:

She said things like: 'It isn't a good fighter -- it was exploring and it got killed by wolves.'

This surprised me. Though it is perfect logical to see your avatar as a separate thing, I still would have expected her to say '*I* was exploring and *I* got killed by wolves.' Does the usage of the third person here sound strange to you too?



Wikipedia: mind