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Speaking My MindExpression and Self-Knowledge$
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Dorit Bar-On

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276288

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199276285.001.0001

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Using “I” ‘as Subject’: Cartesian Reference or No Reference?

Using “I” ‘as Subject’: Cartesian Reference or No Reference?

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 Using “I” ‘as Subject’: Cartesian Reference or No Reference?
Source:
Speaking My Mind
Author(s):

Dorit Bar-On (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199276285.003.0002

The uniquely secure status of avowals apparently has something to do with the special way an avowing subject refers to herself by the pronoun ‘I’, as opposed to referring to herself by some description. However, the author argues in this chapter that excessive focus on the way ‘I’ refers has led people astray. In particular, she criticizes the view that we must see ‘I’ as referring to some special object, a Cartesian ego, as well as Anscombe’s view that ‘I’ in fact, does not refer at all. Both accounts fail to respect the Semantic Continuity of avowals with other empirical reports.

Keywords:   ‘I’, Anscombe’s ‘No Reference View’, Cartesian ego, reference, uses of

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