Dianoia 52 (58):49-76 (2007)

Authors
Martin Francisco Fricke
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Abstract
In this paper, I reconstruct Davidson’s explanation of first person authority and criticize it in three main points: (1) The status of the theory is unclear, given that it is phenomenologically inadequate. (2) The theory explains only that part of the phenomenon of first person authority which is due to the fact that no two speakers speak exactly the same idiolect. But first person authority might be a more far-reaching phenomenon than this. (3) Davidson’s argument depends on the claim that “not getting one’s words wrong” is the same as “knowing what one’s words mean”. I argue that the two are not the same. In conclusion, I sketch some alternatives to Davidson’s account. I argue that the most promising one attempts to explain first person authority by examining how we acquire second-order beliefs. A well-known remark of Evans’s proves useful for such an account.
Keywords radical interpretation  self-ascription  self-knowledge  Gareth Evans
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