Fixing the reference of 'I': immunity to error through misidentification as a guide

Orbán, Krisztina (2014) Fixing the reference of 'I': immunity to error through misidentification as a guide. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

The first-­‐person pronoun seems to be very special; it has features which other kinds of singular terms lack. Uses of ‘I’ have guaranteed right reference (GRR), they cannot lack referent and a user of ‘I’ cannot use ‘I’ for the wrong object, and some uses of ‘I’ have immunity to error through misidentification (IEM). For an immune self-­‐ascription made on a basis (like proprioception) the subject cannot misidentify who is F. I will elaborate in great detail how to characterise these essential features: IEM and GRR. Peacocke and Campbell suggested a Reference-­‐fixing test for accounts of ‘I’. According to this test what fixes the reference of ‘I’ has to be able to account for the essential features of ‘I’ (GRR and IEM). I will use this test to evaluate the view I will propose, which I call the Simple View. I suggest that the subject uses ‘I’ or the object which she knows through internal ways of knowing. Examples of internal way of knowing are proprioception, introspection and nociception (painperception). What fixes the referent of ‘I’ is simply that the subject use ‘I’ for the object which she knows from the inside through internal ways of knowing. This explains how GRR is possible: why the subject cannot be wrong about the referent of ‘I’. And this explains IEM, why based on certain ways of knowing (internal ways of knowing) the self-­‐ascription is such that who has the property cannot be misidentified. I try to show that other ways to fix the referent cannot provide the most fundamental explanation of ‘I’ because none of them can account for the essential features of ‘I’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2015 17:21
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2015 17:30
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/105

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