Self-notions

Abstract

”Self-beliefs” are beliefs of the sort one ordinarily has about oneself, and expresses with the first person. These contrast with the beliefs one has in ”Casta˜neda cases,” in which one has a belief about oneself without knowing it. This paper advances an account of the nature of self-belief. According to this account, self-belief is a special case of interacting with things via notions that serve as repositories for information about objects with certain important relations to the knower, and as motivators for actions the success of which is dependent on the object in that relation to the agent. Identity is such a relation, and ”self-notions” play this special role: they are the repositories for information gained in normally self-informative ways, and the motivators of types of action whose success normally depends on facts about the agent. Self-beliefs involve such self-notions, while the beliefs that one has about oneself in Casta˜neda cases do not.

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John Perry
University of California, Riverside

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