The philosophical significance of the De Se

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):253-276 (2017)
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Inspired by Castañeda, Perry and Lewis argued that, among singular thoughts in general, thoughts about oneself ‘as oneself’ – first-personal thoughts, which Lewis aptly called de se – call for special treatment: we need to abandon one of two traditional assumptions on the contents needed to provide rationalizing explanations, their shareability or their absoluteness. Their arguments have been very influential; one might take them as establishing a new ‘effect’ – new philosophical evidence in need of being accounted for. This is questioned by the skeptical arguments in recent work by Cappelen & Dever and Magidor, along lines that a few discrepant voices had already announced earlier. Skeptics content that the evidence does not really call for revising traditional theories of content. I will discuss their challenges – first and foremost, concerning action explanations – aiming to make the case that the ‘De Se effect’ is no illusion: de se attitudes require us to revise one of the two tenets of traditional views.



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Manuel García-Carpintero
Universitat de Barcelona

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References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.

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