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The Subject of Experience$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777885.001.0001

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I and I

I and I

Immunity to Error through Misidentification of the Subject

(p.212) 11 I and I
The Subject of Experience

Galen Strawson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for the following claims about self-consciousness: [1] all uses of I (i.e. the word ‘I’ or thought-element I) are absolutely immune to error through misidentification relative to I, or ‘IEM’. [2] no genuine use of I in self-reference can fail to refer. Nevertheless [3] I isn’t univocal: it doesn’t always refer to the same thing, or kind of thing, even in the thought or speech of a single person. This is so even though [4] I always refers to its user, the subject of experience who speaks or thinks; [5] if I’m thinking about something specifically as myself, I can’t fail to be thinking of myself; [6] a genuine understanding use of I always involves the subject thinking of itself as itself, whatever else it does or doesn’t involve; [7] if I take myself to be thinking about myself, then I am thinking about myself.

Keywords:   ‘I’, subject of experience, self-reference, IEM, immunity to error through misidentification, self-consciousness

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