The Second-Person Perspective

Inquiry 55 (1):33 - 49 (2012)
Abstract The rise of social neuroscience has brought the second-person perspective back into the focus of philosophy. Although this is not a new topic, it is certainly less well understood than the first-person and third-person perspectives, and it is even unclear whether it can be reduced to one of these perspectives. The present paper argues that no such reduction is possible because the second-person perspective provides a unique kind of access to certain facts, namely other persons' mental states, particularly, but not only, in social contexts. The paper starts with the idea that perspectives are ways of epistemic access that determine an epistemic subject's recognition of a certain object. While the first-person perspective is subjective because it is based on, and directed at, the epistemic subject's experiences, the third-person perspective, which is based on objective evidence and gives access to all kinds of entities, is objective. The second-person perspective, by contrast, is intersubjective because it is a relation between an epistemic subject and another sentient being's mental states. It involves the epistemic subject's replication of those states, a basic self/other distinction and a basic awareness of the relevant situational differences between the epistemic subject and the other being. This is why the second-person perspective is a perspective on a perspective, which involves a basic awareness of perspectivalness, even if second-person perspective taking may be subpersonal to a large extent
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2012.643623
 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
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,442
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
A. Goldman (1993). The Psychology of Folk Psychology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1):15-28.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
John J. Drummond (2007). Personal Perspectives. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (S1):28-44.
Joseph Neisser (2008). Subjectivity and the Limits of Narrative. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (2):51-66.
Max Velmans (1996). Consciousness and the "Causal Paradox". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (3):538-542.
John J. Drummond (2007). Phenomenology: Neither Auto- nor Hetero- Be. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):57-74.
Patrick Stokes (2014). Crossing the Bridge: The First-Person and Time. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (2):295-312.
John Barresi (2007). Consciousness and Intentionality. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (1-2):77-93.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

88 ( #54,640 of 1,925,098 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #107,643 of 1,925,098 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.