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I: The Meaning of the First Person Term$
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Maximilian de Gaynesford

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287826

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199287821.001.0001

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Questions of Expression

Questions of Expression

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 Questions of Expression
Source:
I: The Meaning of the First Person Term
Author(s):

Maximilian de Gaynesford (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199287821.003.0004

‘Independence’, or the claim that one can use I to express thoughts without having to identify what is being referred to, is a myth. It depends on a two-step argument from explanation: that it would make no sense to ask certain questions, and that we must appeal to ‘independence’ to explain this phenomenon. But other explanations are available, such as a pragmatic account. Alternatives are preferable since ‘independence’ not only threatens the referential character of I, its use to express thoughts about particular objects, and its communicative role, but also undermines a plausible account of the links between I-use and empirical identity criteria.

Keywords:   independence, identification, expression, nonsense, pragmatic, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Evans

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