Self-Knowing Agents * By LUCY O'BRIEN

Analysis 69 (1):187-188 (2009)
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How is it that we think and refer in the first-person way? For most philosophers in the analytic tradition, the problem is essentially this: how two apparently conflicting kinds of properties can be reconciled and united as properties of the same entity. What is special about the first person has to be reconciled with what is ordinary about it. The range of responses reduces to four basic options. The orthodox view is optimistic: there really is a way of reconciling these apparently contradictory properties as contained within the same thing. The heretical views are pessimistic and content to be so: there is no such way, and that is because there is simply nothing to reconcile – because there is really nothing special about what is in question; or there is really nothing ordinary about it; or there is really nothing …



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Lucy O'Brien
University College London

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