Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy

Rachael Wiseman

University of Liverpool

Self-Knowledge Without Self-Ascription

15 June 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Thoughts that are candidates for self-knowledge are typically expressed using sentences with ‘I’ as the grammatical subject followed by a predicate-expression that contains a psychological verb and its object. ‘I see a lion’, ‘I intend to leave’, ‘I feel hot’, ‘I want a biscuit’. It is typical to suppose that when I say of myself ‘I ψ a’—where ‘ψ’ is a psychological verb—I self-ascribe the attribute given by the predicate-expression ‘ψ a’. It is this supposition that I would like to challenge. I think it gets the grammar of first-person thought wrong and that it does so in ways that matter not only because it gets that grammar wrong but also because it leaves us with a picture of ourselves and our place in the world that is ethically bad for us.