First person: The demand for identification-free self-reference

Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):223-234 (1995)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I defend the thesis that identification-free self-reference is immune to error through mis-identification because even though self-reference and self-identification are distinct, they are not separable. This provides a critique and a reductio of Carol Rovane’s neo-Lockean analysis of ‘I’ in terms of a definite description, since no definite description or proper name can be substituted salva sensu or salva veritate for the singular term ‘I’. Furthermore, I distinguish between self-identification and self-ascription, and argue that even if there may be an error in self-ascription, the self-identification component – that is, the reference and identity of ‘I’ – remains unshaken. There is no way of losing track of the subject in ‘I’-thoughts, since there is no way of forming dynamic Fregean thoughts. I conclude by arguing that one’s capacity to think of oneself self-consciously is not exhausted by the presence or absence of linguistic devices such as ‘I’. Rather, it has to do with the metaphysics concerning the nature of the self.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,745

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

102 (#53,127)

6 months
9 (#1,260,759)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrea Christofidou
University of London

Citations of this work

Immunity to error and subjectivity.Robert J. Howell - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):581-604.
The new neo-Kantian and reductionist debate.Kathy Behrendt - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):331-350.
On Referring to Oneself.Maximilian de Gaynesford - 2004 - Theoria 70 (2-3):121-161.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Self-reference and self-awareness.Sydney S. Shoemaker - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (October):555-67.
De re senses.John Mcdowell - 1984 - Philosophical Quarterly 34 (136):283-294.
Understanding demonstratives.Gareth Evans - 1981 - In Herman Parret & Jacques Bouveresse (eds.), Meaning and understanding. New York: W. de Gruyter. pp. 280--304.

Add more references