Which immunity to error?

Philosophical Studies 130 (2):273-83 (2006)
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A self-ascription is a thought or sentence in which a predicate is self-consciously ascribed to oneself. Self-ascriptions are best expressed using the first-person pronoun. Mental self-ascriptions are ascriptions to oneself of mental predicates (predicates that designate mental properties), non-mental self-ascriptions are ascriptions to oneself of non-mental predicates (predicates that designate non-mental properties). It is often claimed that there is a range of self-ascriptions that are immune to error through misidentification relative to the first-person pronoun (IEM for short). What this means, and exactly which self-ascriptions are properly classed as IEM, is a topic hotly disputed. Some claim that only mental self-ascriptions are IEM, others claim that some non-mental self-ascriptions are IEM. Before this question can be decided, it needs to be judged exactly what it means to say that a self-ascription is IEM. And here we stumble across the fact that there are, at least, two non-equivalent ways of defining the phenomenon1. I will be claiming that one of these definitions should be rejected.



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Joel Smith
University of Manchester

Citations of this work

First-Person Thought.Daniel Morgan & Léa Salje - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):148-163.
Self-Consciousness.Joel Smith - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Immunity, thought insertion, and the first-person concept.Michele Palmira - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3833-3860.
Introspective misidentification.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1737-1758.

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Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Reference and Consciousness.John Campbell - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

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