The Misidentification of Immunity to Error through Misidentification

Journal of Philosophy 116 (12):663-677 (2019)
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Sidney Shoemaker credits Wittgenstein’s Blue Book with identifying a special kind of immunity to error that is characteristic of ‘I’ in its “use as subject”. This immunity to error is thought by Shoemaker, and by many following him, to be central to the meaning of ‘I’ and thus to the topics of self-knowledge, self-consciousness and personal memory. This paper argues that Wittgenstein’s work does not contain the thesis, nor any version of the thesis, that there is a use of ‘I’—‘use as subject’—which is ‘immune to error through misidentification’. It offers an interpretative corrective and shows that the passage in question is part of a deep challenge to IEM and to accounts of first-person thought that begin with the idea that there are two uses of the word ‘I’. With the corrective in place novel perspectives on the relation between self-consciousness and subjectivity become visible.



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Rachael Wiseman
University of Liverpool

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Perspectives on de se immunity.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):10089-10107.

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