Consciousness and self-reference

Erkenntnis 43 (2):151-80 (1995)
Reflection on the self's way of being "in" consciousness yields two arguments for a theory of self-reference not based in any way all all on self-cognition. First, I show that one theory of self-reference predicts an experience of the self because the theory inadequately analyzes the semantical facts about indexicality. I construct a dilemma for this cognitivism, which it cannot get out of, for it requires even solitary self-reference to be based on some original self-knowledge, which is not available. I describe my "kinetic model" of unspoken self-reference, and I show how it fits the facts of four forms of consciousness, all of which presuppose self-reference, rather than yield it. Second, a speaker uses the first person pronoun in sentences because she is aware of the unmediated role in agency of the beliefs she would express, and not because she is aware of herself in their content. The cognitive model, in contrast, succumbs to a vicious regress and is exposed as an obstacle to an understanding of consciousness
Keywords Cognition  Consciousness  Epistemology  Knowledge  Model  Self-reference
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DOI 10.1007/BF01128194
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