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Summary It is often held that a characteristic feature of some self-conscious thoughts, that is, thoughts with first-person content or 'I'-thoughts, is their immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first-person pronoun. The claim is that when thinking or expressing certain 'I'-thoughts, the subject can be mistaken with respect to the property that is being self-ascribed, but not with respect to the subject of the self-ascription. For example, when I judge on the basis of my experience that I have a toothache, I cannot be mistaken with respect to the point that it is really me who has the toothache. Many authors think that an understanding of immunity to error through misidentification is essential for a theory of self-consciousness and self-knowledge. However, there are many open questions with respect to, for instance, different varieties of immunity to error through misidentification, the distinction between logical and contingent immunity, the relation between judgments containing the first-person pronoun and those containing indexical and demonstrative terms, and alleged empirical counter-examples to the immunity principle.
Key works The phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification was first discussed by Wittgenstein 1958, who distinguished between the use of 'I' 'as subject' and the use of 'I' as object, where the former is thought to be immune to error through misidentification. The notion of immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first-person pronoun was introduced into the literature by Shoemaker 1968 whose work together with the work of Evans 1982 influenced much of the contemporary discussion. Pryor 1999 and Coliva 2006 distinguish different types of immunity. Campbell 1999 and Coliva 2002 discuss whether the phenomenon of thought insertion in schizophrenia constitutes a counter-example to the immunity principle. A recent collection of new essays on immunity is Prosser & Recanati 2012.
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  1. William P. Alston (1971). Varieties of Priveleged Access. American Philosophical Quarterly 8 (July):223-41.
    This paper distinguishes and interrelates a number of respects in which persons have been thought to be in a specially favorable epistemic position vis-A-Vis their own mental states. The most important distinction is a six-Fold one between infallibility, Omniscience, Indubitability, Incorrigibility, Truth-Sufficiency, And self-Warrant. Each of these varieties can then be sub-Divided as the kind of modality, If any, Involved. It is also argued that discussions of self-Knowledge have been hampered by a failure to recognize these distinctions.
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  2. Wolfgang Barz (2009). Irrtum durch Fehlidentifikation. Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 93 (93):7-15.
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  3. JosÉ Luis BermÚdez (2003). ‘I’-Thoughts and Explanation: Reply to Garrett. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212):432-436.
    Brian Garrett has criticized my diagnosis of the paradox of self-consciousness. In reply, I focus on the classification of 'I'-thoughts, and show how the notion of immunity to error through misidentification can be used to characterize 'I'-thoughts, even though an important class of 'I'-thoughts are not themselves immune to error through misidentification. 'I'-thoughts which are susceptible to error through misidentification are dependent upon those which are not. The dependence here has to do with how a thinker understands what would defeat (...)
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  4. J. L. Bermudez (2013). Immunity to Error Through Misidentification and Past-Tense Memory Judgements. Analysis 73 (2):211-220.
    Autobiographical memories typically give rise either to memory reports (“I remember going swimming”) or to first person past-tense judgements (“I went swimming”). This article focuses on first person past-tense judgements that are (epistemically) based on autobiographical memories. Some of these judgements have the IEM property of being immune to error through misidentification. This article offers an account of when and why first person past-tense judgements have the IEM property.
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  5. Jose Luis Bermudez (2012). Memory Judgments and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. Grazer Philosophische Studien 84 (1):123-142.
    First person judgments that are immune to error through misidentifi cation (IEM) are fundamental to self-conscious thought. The IEM status of many such judgments can be understood in terms of the possession conditions of the concepts they involve. However, this approach cannot be extended to first person judgments based on autobiographical memory. Th e paper develops an account of why such judgments have the IEM property and how thinkers are able to exploit this fact in inference.
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  6. José Luis Bermúdez (2003). 'I'-Thoughts and Explanation: Reply to Garrett. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212):432–436.
    Brian Garrett has criticized my diagnosis of the paradox of self-consciousness. In reply, I focus on the classification of 'I'-thoughts, and show how the notion of immunity to error through misidentification can be used to characterize 'I'-thoughts, even though an important class of 'I'-thoughts (those whose expression involves what Wittgenstein called the use of 'I' as object) are not themselves immune to error through misidentification. 'I'-thoughts which are susceptible to error through misidentification are dependent upon those which are not. The (...)
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  7. Jose Luis Bermudez (2003). The Elusiveness Thesis, Immunity to Error Through Misidentification, and Privileged Access. In Brie Gertler (ed.), Privileged Access: Philosophical Accounts of Self-Knowledge. Ashgate.
  8. Alexandre Billon (2011). Does Consciousness Entail Subjectivity? The Puzzle of Thought Insertion. Philosophical Psychology 26 (2):291 - 314.
    (2013). Does consciousness entail subjectivity? The puzzle of thought insertion. Philosophical Psychology: Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 291-314. doi: 10.1080/09515089.2011.625117.
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  9. Cordula Brand (2013). Gottfried Vosgerau, Mental Representation and Self‐Consciousness. From Basic Self‐Representation to Self‐Related Cognition, Paderborn: Mentis, 2009, 179 Pp., € 24.00, ISBN: 3897856271. [REVIEW] Dialectica 67 (2):248-252.
  10. Ingar Brinck (1998). Self-Identification and Self-Reference. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6.
    [1] To know who one is, and also know whether one's experiences really belong to oneself, do not normally present any problem. It nevertheless happens that people do not recognise themselves as they walk by a mirror or do not understand that they fit some particular description. But there are situations in which it really seems impossible to be wrong about oneself. Of that, Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote: " It is possible that, say in an accident, I should feel pain (...)
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  11. Ingar Brinck (1997). The Indexical 'I' the First Person in Thought and Language. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    The subjct of this book is the first person in thought and language. The main question is what we mean when we say 'I'. Related to it are questions about what kinds of self-consciousness and self-knowledge are needed in order for us to have the capacity to talk about ourselves. The emphasis is on theories of meaning and reference for 'I', but a fair amount of space is devoted to 'I'-thoughts and the role of the concept of the self in (...)
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  12. Christopher Buford (2009). Memory, Quasi-Memory, and Pseudo-Quasi-Memory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):465 – 478.
    Bishop Butler objected to Locke's theory of personal identity on the grounds that memory presupposes personal identity. Most of those sympathetic with Locke's account have accepted Butler's criticism, and have sought to devise a theory of personal identity in the spirit of Locke's that avoids Butler's circularity objection. John McDowell has argued that even the more recent accounts of personal identity are vulnerable to the kind of objection Butler raised against Locke's own account. I criticize McDowell's stance, drawing on a (...)
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  13. F. M. Burnet (1960). Theories of Immunity. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 3 (4):447-458.
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  14. Arnon Cahen & Kristina Musholt (forthcoming). Perception, Nonconceptual Content, and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. Inquiry:1-21.
    The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we clarify the notion of immunity to error through misidentification with respect to the first-person pronoun. In particular, we set out to dispel the view that for a judgment to be IEM it must contain a token of a certain class of predicates. Rather, the importance of the IEM status of certain judgments is that it teaches us about privileged ways of coming to know about ourselves. We then turn to examine how (...)
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  15. J. Campbell (1999). Immunity to Error Through Misidentification and the Meaning of a Referring Term. Philosophical Topics 26 (1/2):89-104.
  16. J. Campbell (1999). Schizophrenia, the Space of Reasons and Thinking as a Motor Process. The Monist 82 (4):609-625.
  17. Alessandro Capone (2013). Immunity to Error Through Misidentification, 'de Se', and Pragmatics. In Perspectives on pragmatis and philosophy. pp. 413-437..
  18. Glenn Carruthers (2011). The Nature of Representation and the Experience of Oneself: A Critical Notice on Gottfried Vosgerau's Mental Representation and Self-Consciousness. Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):411 - 425.
  19. Mariaflavia Cascelli (2016). Dilemma della prima persona e fenomenologia dell’azione: quanto è minimale l’autocoscienza? Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 7 (1):61-74.
    Riassunto : Negli ultimi anni sempre maggiore attenzione viene data alla possibilità che una forma minima, pre-riflessiva di auto-coscienza preceda l’auto-coscienza introspettiva. Diversi sono stati i tentativi fatti per sostenere che questa forma “sottile” di auto-coscienza sia un prerequisito necessario della coscienza. Dopo una breve considerazione dei problemi semantici ed epistemologici relativi all’uso del pronome di prima persona, questo articolo si concentrerà sulla letteratura che analizza le eccezioni al principio di immunità dall’errore per misidentificazione dalla prospettiva della fenomenologia dell’agentività. Il (...)
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  20. H. N. Castaneda, J. G. Hart & T. Kapitan (eds.) (1999). The Phenomeno-Logic of the I: Essays on Self-Consciousness. Indiana University Press.
    This unique volume will appeal to those interested in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence as well as students of Castaneda and Latin American philosophy.
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  21. Hector-Neri Castaneda (1987). Self-Consciousness, Demonstrative Reference, and the Self-Ascription View of Believing. Philosophical Perspectives 1:405-454.
  22. Hector-Neri Castañeda (1966). 'He': A Study in the Logic of Self-Consciousness. Ratio 8 (December):130-157.
  23. Marc Champagne (2013). Can “I” Prevent You From Entering My Mind? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (1):145-162.
    Shaun Gallagher has actively looked into the possibility that psychopathologies involving “thought insertion” might supply a counterexample to the Cartesian principle according to which one can always recognize one’s own thoughts as one’s own. Animated by a general distrust of a priori demonstrations, Gallagher is convinced that pitting clinical cases against philosophical arguments is a worthwhile endeavor. There is no doubt that, if true, a falsification of the immunity to error through misidentification would entail drastic revisions in how we conceive (...)
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  24. Cheryl K. Chen (2011). Bodily Awareness and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):21-38.
    Abstract: Some first person statements, such as ‘I am in pain’, are thought to be immune to error through misidentification (IEM): I cannot be wrong that I am in pain because—while I know that someone is in pain—I have mistaken that person for myself. While IEM is typically associated with the self-ascription of psychological properties, some philosophers attempt to draw anti-Cartesian conclusions from the claim that certain physical self-ascriptions are also IEM. In this paper, I will examine whether some physical (...)
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  25. Andrea Christofidou (2000). Self-Consciousness and the Double Immunity. Philosophy 75 (294):539-570.
    It is accepted that first-person thoughts are immune to error through misidentification. I argue that there is also immunity to error through misascription, failure to recognise which has resulted in mistaken claims that first-person thoughts involving the self-ascription of bodily states are, at best, circumstantially immune to error through misidentification relative to.
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  26. Annalisa Coliva (forthcoming). Stopping Points: ‘I’, Immunity and the Real Guarantee. Inquiry:1-23.
    The aim of the paper is to bring out exactly what makes first-personal contents special, by showing that they perform a distinctive cognitive function. Namely, they are stopping points of inquiry. First, I articulate this idea and then I use it to clear the ground from a troublesome conflation. That is, the conflation of this particular function all first-person thoughts have with the property of immunity to error through misidentification, which only some I-thoughts enjoy. Afterward, I show the implications of (...)
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  27. Annalisa Coliva (2006). Error Through Misidentification: Some Varieties. Journal of Philosophy 103 (8):407-425.
  28. Annalisa Coliva (2006). Error Through Misidentification. Journal of Philosophy 103 (8):403-425.
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  29. Annalisa Coliva (2002). Thought Insertion and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (1):27-34.
    John Campbell (1999) has recently maintained that the phenomenon of thought insertion as it is manifested in schizophrenic patients should be described as a case in which the subject is introspectively aware of a certain thought and yet she is wrong in identifying whose thought it is. Hence, according to Campbell, the phenomenon of thought insertion might be taken as a counterexample to the view that introspection-based mental selfascriptions are logically immune to error through misidentification (IEM, hereafter). Thus, if Campbell (...)
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  30. Katja Crone, Kristina Musholt & Anna Strasser (eds.) (2012). Facets of Self-Consciousness - Special Issue of Grazer Philosophische Studien (84). Rodopi.
  31. Frédérique de Vignemont (2011). A Self for the Body. Metaphilosophy 42 (3):230-247.
    Abstract: What grounds the experience of our body as our own? Can we rationally doubt that this is our own body when we feel sensations in it? This article shows how recent empirical evidence can shed light on issues on the body and the self, such as the grounds of the sense of body ownership and the immunity to error through misidentification of bodily self-ascriptions. In particular, it discusses how bodily illusions (e.g., the Rubber Hand Illusion), bodily disruptions (e.g., somatoparaphrenia), (...)
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  32. Frédérique De Vignemont, Bodily Immunity to Error.
    Are bodily self-ascriptions immune to error through misidentification? According to the Inside mode view, one cannot be mistaken about whose body part it is when experiencing them from the inside. Here I shall consider two possible objections to bodily immunity. On the one hand, I shall briefly envisage two cases of misidentification: somatoparaphrenia and the Rubber Hand illusion. I shall show that none of them challenges the immunity principle. On the other hand, I shall highlight a more serious issue for (...)
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  33. Daniel A. Dombrowski (1986). Noncombitant Immunity and St Thomas: Carrying the Debate Further. New Blackfriars 67 (791):216-221.
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  34. James M. Dow, Shoegenstein on Self-Ascription, Immunity to Error and I-as-Subject.
    Contemporary accounts of the self-ascription of experiences are wedded to two basic dogmas. The first is that self-ascription is immune to error through misidentification relative to the first person (IEM). The second dogma is that there is distinction between awareness of oneself qua subject and awareness of oneself qua object (the SCS/SCO distinction). In this paper, I urge that these dogmas are groundless. First, I illustrate that claims about immunity to error through misidentification are usually based upon claims about awareness (...)
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  35. Jordi Fernández (2014). Memory and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (3):373-390.
    The aim of this paper is to defend the view that judgments based on episodic memory are immune to error through misidentification. I will put forward a proposal about the contents of episodic memories according to which a memory represents a perception of a past event. I will also offer a proposal about the contents of perceptual experiences according to which a perceptual experience represents some relations that its subject bears to events in the external world. The combination of the (...)
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  36. Andrea Christo Fidou (2000). Self-Consciousness and the Double Immunity. Philosophy 75:539.
    It is accepted that first-person thoughts are immune to error through misidentification. I argue that there is also immunity to error through misascription, failure to recognise which has resulted in mistaken claims that first-person thoughts involving the self-ascription of bodily states are, at best, circumstantially immune to error through misidentification relative to ‘I’ and, at worst, subject to error. Central to my thesis is that, first, ‘I’ is immune to error through misidentification absolutely, and that if there is any problem (...)
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  37. Marina Folescu & James Higginbotham (2012). Two Takes on the De Se. In Simon Prosser & Francois Recanati (eds.), Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.
    In this article we consider, relying in part upon comparative semantic evidence from English and Romanian, two contrasting dimensions of the sense in which our thoughts, including the contents of imagination and memory, and extending to objects of fear, enjoyment, and other emotions directed toward worldly happenings, may be distinctively first-personal, or "de se," to use the terminology introduced in Lewis (1979), and exhibit the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification (hereafter: IEM) in the sense of Shoemaker (1968) and (...)
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  38. Luca Forgione (2012). Self-Consciousness and Indexicality. The Ubiquity of the Self. Paradigmi. Rivista di Critica Filosofica 2.
    Henrich (1966) has contributed to the revival of philosophical debates on subjectivity and its irreducibility, starting from Fichte’s notion of "insight", and focusing his attention on the reflective model of self-consciousness. Subsequent studies have followed the same line from different perspectives, emphasizing the basic role of pre-reflective self-consciousness as the condition of possibility of conscious experience. The so-called ubiquity thesis has been developed through analysis of indexical thinking.
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  39. Simon Prosser Francois Recanati (ed.) (2012). Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.
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  40. M. Frank (1995). Mental Familiarity and Epistemic Self-Ascription. Common Knowledge 4:30--50.
  41. Shaun Gallagher (2015). Seeing Without an I: Another Look at Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. In Annalisa Coliva, Volker Munz & Danièle Moyal-Sharrock (eds.), Mind, Language and Action: Proceedings of the 36th International Wittgenstein Symposium. De Gruyter. pp. 549-568.
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  42. Shaun Gallagher (2012). First-Person Perspective and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. In Miguens & Preyer (eds.), Consciousness and Subjectivity. Ontos Verlag. pp. 47--245.
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  43. Shaun Gallagher (2000). Self-Reference and Schizophrenia: A Cognitive Model of Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. In Dan Zahavi (ed.), Exploring the Self: Philosophical and Psychopathological Perspectives on Self-Experience. John Benjamins. pp. 203--239.
  44. Manuel García-Carpintero (forthcoming). De Se Thoughts and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. Synthese:1-23.
    I discuss an aspect of the relation between accounts of de se thought and the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. I will argue that a deflationary account of the latter—the Simple Account, due to Evans —will not do; a more robust one based on an account of de se thoughts is required. I will then sketch such an alternative account, based on a more general view on singular thoughts, and show how it can deal with the problems I (...)
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  45. Manuel García-Carpintero (2013). Self-Conception: Sosa on De Se Thought. In John Turri (ed.), Virtuous Thoughts: The Philosophy of Ernest Sosa. Springer. pp. 73--99.
    Castañeda, Perry and Lewis argued in the 1960’s and 1970’s that thoughts about oneself “as oneself” – de se thoughts – require special treatment, and advanced different accounts. In this paper I discuss Ernest Sosa’s approach to these matters. I first present his approach to singular or de re thought in general in the first section. In the second, I introduce the data that need to be explained, Perry’s and Lewis’s proposals, and Sosa’s own account, in relation to Perry’s, Lewis’s, (...)
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  46. Manuel García-Carpintero (2013). The Self File and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification. Disputatio 36:191-206.
    Recanati’s (2007, 2009) argues for a Lewisian subjectless view of the content of “implicit” de se thought, on the basis that we can thus better explain the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. The paper argues that this is not the case, and suggests that such a view is in tension with Recanati’s mental files approach to de re thought in general and the SELF concept in particular.
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  47. Brian J. Garrett (2003). Bermudez on Self-Consciousness. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (210):96-101.
    I argue that José Luis Bermúdez has not shown that there is a paradox in our concept of self-consciousness. The deflationary theory is not a plausible theory of self-consciousness, so its paradoxicality is irrelevant. A more plausible theory, 'the simple theory', is not paradoxical. However, I do think there is a puzzle about the connection between self-consciousness and 'I'-thoughts.
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  48. Rocco J. Gennaro (ed.) (2015). Disturbed Consciousness: New Essays on Psychopathology and Theories of Consciousness. MIT Press.
    In Disturbed Consciousness, philosophers and other scholars examine various psychopathologies in light of specific philosophical theories of consciousness. The contributing authors—some of them discussing or defending their own theoretical work—consider not only how a theory of consciousness can account for a specific psychopathological condition but also how the characteristics of a psychopathology might challenge such a theory. Thus one essay defends the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness against the charge that it cannot account for somatoparaphrenia (a delusion in which (...)
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  49. Rick Grush (2007). Evans on Identification-Freedom. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):605-617.
    Gareth Evans’ account of Identifi cation-freedom (IF), which he devel- ops in Chapters 6 and 7 of The Varieties of Reference (henceforth VR) is almost universally misunderstood.1 Howell is guilty of this same mis- understanding, and as a result claims to have mounted a criticism of Evans, when in fact he has not. I will take the occasion of Howell’s oth- erwise insightful article to clarify Evans’ position. Note that the bulk of Howell’s analysis is targeted at the phenomenon known (...)
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  50. Marie Guillot (2014). Connaissance de soi et connaissance du mien. Pour une approche phénoménale de l’immunité aux erreurs d’identification. In Jean-Marie Chevalier Benoit Gaultier (ed.), Connaître. Questions d’épistémologie contemporaine. Ithaque. pp. 281-302.
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