Cartesians, Strawsonians and the univocal meaning of mental predicates

Acta Analytica 19 (32):91-106 (2004)
The paper examines the Cartesian and the Strawsonian answers to the question of why self-applied and other-applied mental predicates mean the same. While these answers relate to different, complementary aspects of this question, they seem and are usually considered as incompatible. Indeed, their apparent incompatibility constitutes a major objection to the Cartesian answer. A primary aim of the paper is to show that the Strawsonian answer does not pose a real problem to the Cartesian answer. Unlike other attempts to show this, the paper does not seek to undermine the Strawsonian answer. Indeed, its second aim is to defend this answer against these other attempts. The paper’s strategy in defending the Cartesian answer is to show that the framework underlying this answer can — indeed, for internal reasons, must — accommodate the Strawsonian answer. By showing this, the paper also shows that a Cartesian framework can provide a comprehensive answer to the aforementioned question, which is its third aim.
Keywords Descartes  Strawson  mental predicates  meaning  generality constraint  personal identity
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-004-1004-9
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