Reason and the first person

In C. Wright, B. Smith & C. Macdonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press (2000)
The first part of the paper focuses on the role played in thought and action by possession of the first‐person concept. It is argued that only one who possesses the I concept is in a position to fully articulate certain fundamental, a priori aspects of the concept of reason. A full understanding of the concept of reason requires being inclined to be affected or immediately motivated by reasons—to form, change or confirm beliefs or other attitudes in accordance with them—when those reasons apply to one's own attitudes. The cases where rational evaluations of acts and attitudes rationally motivate immediate implementation of the evaluations to shape the acts and attitudes are distinguished from cases where they do not, by the use of the first‐person concept to mark those acts and attitudes as one's own. The second part of the paper examines asymmetries between self‐knowledge and knowledge of other minds. The usual view that self‐knowledge has an immediate and a priori warrant, whereas knowledge of others’ minds rests on observation and inference is disputed. A sketch is given of knowledge of other minds that can be non‐inferential and can rest on an intellectual, non‐perceptual entitlement. When one seemingly understands an utterance in interlocution, one is a priori prima facie entitled to suppose that it comes from a rational source, and because knowledge of other minds can be immediate and epistemically grounded in intellectual, non‐empirical entitlements, it is distinguished from self‐knowledge not by being necessarily inferential or by being necessarily grounded in perception, but by being in some known contrast with thought known as one's own.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2003
DOI 10.1093/0199241406.003.0009
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,590
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Why Are We Certain That We Exist?Alexandre Billon - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):723-759.
Responses to O'Brien and Shoemaker.Richard A. Moran - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (3):402-19.
Self-Knowledge, Agency, and Force.Lucy F. O'Brien - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):580–601.
Self-Knowledge, Agency and Force.Lucy O'Brien - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):580-601.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Reasons, Impossibility and Efficient Steps: Reply to Heuer.Bart Streumer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):79 - 86.
Acting for Reasons: Reply to Dancy. [REVIEW]John Hyman - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):358-368.
Acting Intentionally and Acting for a Reason.Maria Alvarez - 2009 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):293-305.
Structural Irrationality.Thomas Scanlon - 2007 - In Geoffrey Brennan, Robert Goodin, Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), Common Minds: Themes From the Philosophy of Philip Pettit. Clarendon Press.
The Problem of Heaven.Brian Ribeiro - 2011 - Ratio 24 (1):46-64.
Reasons and Impossibility.Ulrike Heuer - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 147 (2):235 - 246.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

183 ( #24,433 of 2,168,526 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #82,720 of 2,168,526 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums