Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst (1990)

Recent literature in the Philosophy of Language has focused on a variety of puzzles about de se belief--belief about oneself formed by the use of the indexical 'I' or the reflexive pronoun 'she herself'. These puzzle cases suggest that de se belief cannot be represented in the traditional way as a two-place relation between an individual and a proposition. Nevertheless, there are some versions of this traditional analysis that have not been fully discussed in the literature. ;In this dissertation I examine a number of proposals for analyzing de se belief, and show how many of these entail privileged access for the agents of self-attributed belief. Privileged access for an agent takes the form of either a proposition or a belief that only the agent can entertain. Privileged access emerges as a consequence of two-place relations of belief between believers and propositions when the proposition is construed as a first-person proposition, a first-person propositional guise, an individual essence, or a Fregean 'I' thought. In all these cases I argue that privileged access for an agent leads to counter-intuitive consequences about sentence meaning and belief content. For this reason I investigate ways to avoid privileged access altogether. I conclude that the most viable alternatives are three-place relations of belief
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Attitudes de Dicto and de Se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
Assertion.Peter Geach - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (4):449-465.
The Thought: A Logical Inquiry.Gottlob Frege - 1956 - Mind 65 (259):289-311.

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