The communication of de se attitudes poses a problem for “participant- neutral” analyses of communication in terms of propositions expressed or proposed updates to the common ground: when you tell me “I am an idiot”, you express a first person de se attitude, but as a result I form a different, second person attitude, viz. that you are an idiot. I argue that when we take seriously the asymmetry between speaker and hearer in semantics this problem disappears. To prove this (...) I propose a concrete model of communication as the transmission of information from the speaker’s mental state to the hearer’s. My analysis is couched in Discourse Representation Theory, a formal semantic framework that linguists use for modeling conversational common ground updates, but that can also be applied to describe the individual speech participants’ dynamically changing mental states. (shrink)
There has recently been a wave of attempts to make sense of the role of de se thoughts in linguistic communication. A majority of the attempts assume a Perryan or a Lewisian view of de se thought. Views with these assumptions, I suggest, come in four varieties: uncentering (Egan 2007, Kölbel 2013, Moss 2012), recentering (Heim 2004, Weber 2012), multicentering (Kindermann 2014, Ninan 2010, Torre 2009), and no centering (Kaplan 1989, Perry 1979). I argue first that all four varieties of (...) centering are committed to what I call a shifting operation on the hearer's part. I argue second that, against common assumption, there is no real choice to make between the views. By showing that attempts to establish an advantage for some view over the others fail across the board, I make the case for neutralism regarding the varieties of centering – the claim that coverage of the empirical data is exactly the same for each view, and that the views are broadly equal in simplicity and elegance. (shrink)
This chapter provides a critical overview of various influential accounts of de se attitudes including those proposed by Frege, Lewis and Perry. It also addresses the charge that there is nothing distinctive about de se attitudes. The second half outlines a widely accepted and influential model of communication and various complications that arise in applying this model to the communication of de se thoughts. The final section provides an overview of the papers in this volume.
What is the relationship between Frege’s puzzle and the puzzle of the de se? An increasingly influential view claims that the de se puzzle is merely an instance of Frege’s puzzle and that the idea that de se attitudes pose a distinctive theoretical challenge rests on a myth. Here we argue that this view is misguided. There are important differences between the two puzzles. First, unlike Frege puzzle cases, de se puzzle cases involve unshareable Fregean senses. Second, unlike Frege puzzle (...) cases, de se puzzle cases cannot be resolved by objective information alone. Further, there seem to be pure cases of each puzzle: instances of the de se puzzle which do not have a Fregean structure, and instances of Frege’s puzzle, which do not involve de se attitudes. We conclude that the two puzzles are fundamentally different and that the traditional theory of attitudes needs to be amended. (shrink)
De se attitudes seem to play a special role in action and cognition. This raises a challenge to the traditional way in which mental attitudes have been understood. In this chapter, we review the case for thinking that de se attitudes require special theoretical treatment and discuss various ways in which the traditional theory can be modified to accommodate de se attitudes.
This thesis deals with the phenomenon of attitude reporting. More specifically, it provides a unified semantics of de re and de se belief reports. After arguing that de se belief is best thought of as a special case of de re belief, I examine whether we can extend this unification to the realm of belief reports. I show how, despite very promising first steps, previous attempts in this direction ultimately fail with respect to some relatively recent linguistic data involving quantified (...) and infinitival reports, logophoric constructions, and monstrously shifted indexicals. Formalizing my idea of a contextual resolution of acquaintance relations in a dynamic framework, I arrive at an alternative analysis that handles all these data. (shrink)
This paper deals with the semantics of de dicto , de re and de se belief reports. First, I flesh out in some detail the established, classical theories that assume syntactic distinctions between all three types of reports. I then propose a new, unified analysis, based on two ideas discarded by the classical theory. These are: (i) modeling the de re/de dicto distinction as a difference in scope, and (ii) analyzing de se as merely a special case of relational de (...) re attitudes. The resurrection of these ideas takes place in a dynamic setting. My formalization of the first idea involves a modification of the presupposition-as-anaphora resolution algorithm for DRT. The second involves treating acquaintance relations as second-order presuppositions, to be bound in the context by means of higher-order unification, or accommodated if necessary. The resulting framework requires no syntactic distinctions between different modes of attitude, with the exception of a specific subclass of de se reports characterized by special ‘ de se pronouns’ (i.e. PRO and logophors). These special pronouns are handled in syntax; everything alse is passed on to the pragmatic resolution module as it appears on the surface. The more sophisticated contextual resolution process nonetheless ensures adequate output truth conditions for a variety of classical and novel puzzles. In particular, I compare the new pragmasemantic system to the classical, syntactic analysis with respect to iterated and quantified reports, and monstrously shifted indexicals. (shrink)
Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...) the de se have primarily focused on de se thoughts of individuals. This paper looks at where these two lines of investigations intersect: collective de se thoughts, such as bands' and teams' beliefs and desires that are essentially about themselves. There is a surprising problem at this intersection: the most prominent framework for modeling de se thoughts, the framework of centered worlds, cannot model a special class of collective de se thoughts. A brief survey of this problem's solution space shows that collective de se thoughts pose a new challenge for modeling mental content. (shrink)
Higginbotham (2003) argued that certain linguistic items of English, when used in indirect discourse, necessarily trigger first-personal interpretations. They are: the emphatic reflexive pronoun and the controlled understood subject, represented as PRO. PRO is special, in this respect, due to its imposing obligatory control effects between the main clause and its sub- ordinates (Chierchia (1989)). Folescu & Higginbotham (2012), in addition, argued that in Romanian, a language whose grammar doesn’t assign a prominent role to PRO (if it assigns it a (...) role at all), de se triggers are correlated with the subjunctive mood of certain verbs. That pa-per, however, didn’t account for the grammatical diversity of the reports that display immunity to error through misidentification (IEM henceforth) in Romanian: some of these reports are expressed by using de se triggers; others are not. Their IEM, moreover, is not systematically lexically controlled by the verbs, via their theta-roles; it is, rather, determined by the meaning of the verbs in question. Given the data from Romanian, I will argue, the phenomenon of IEM cannot be fully explained starting either from the syntactical or the lexical structure of a language. (shrink)
It has recently been proposed that the framework of semantic relativism be put to use to describe mental content, as deployed in some of the fundamental operations of the mind. This programme has inspired in particular a novel strategy of accounting for the essential egocentricity of first-personal or de se thoughts in relativist terms, with the advantage of dispensing with a notion of self-representation. This paper is a critical discussion of this strategy. While it is based on a plausible appeal (...) to cognitive economy, the relativist theory does not fully account for the epistemic profile that distinguishes de se thinking, as some of its proponents hope to do. A deeper worry concerns the reliance of the theory on a primitive notion of “centre” that hasn’t yet received enough critical attention, and is ambiguous between a thin and a rich reading. I argue that while the rich reading is required if the relativist analysis of the de se is to achieve its most ambitious aims, it also deprives the theory of much of its explanatory power. (shrink)
What kind of thing do you believe when you believe that you are in a certain place, that it is a certain time, and that you are a certain individual? What happens if you get lost, or lose track of the time? Can you ever be unsure of your own identity? These are the kind of questions considered in my thesis. Beliefs about where, when and who you are are what are called in the literature de se, or self-locating beliefs. (...) This thesis examines how we can represent de se beliefs, and how we can reason about de se uncertainty. In the first part of the thesis, I present and motivate a specific account of the content of de se belief, based on the one given by David Lewis. On this account, the content of de se beliefs are centred propositions. I defend this view against a rival account, put forward by Robert Stalnaker, according to whom the content of de se beliefs are ordinary propositions. In the second part of the thesis, I explore how we can reason probabilistically about de se uncertainty. I start by defining probabilities over centred propositions, and investigate what probabilities mean in this context. As it turns out, all the main interpretations of probability can be extended to centred propositions. The only trouble seems to arise for the Bayesian principle of updating via conditionalization. After giving a diagnosis of the problem, I offer a solution by formulating a natural extension of conditionalization, which I argue preserves the essential features of Bayesian reasoning. In the final chapter, I apply my view and show that it leads to a natural resolution of a puzzle that is generally taken to be a test case for any account of centred updating. (shrink)
The Sleeping Beauty puzzle has dramatized the divisive question of how de se beliefs should be integrated into formal theories of rational belief change. In this paper, I look ahead to a related question: how should de se beliefs be integrated into formal theories of rational choice? I argue that standard decision theoretic frameworks fail in special cases of de se uncertainty, like Sleeping Beauty. The nature of the failure reveals that sometimes rational choices are determined independently of one’s credences (...) in the kinds of ‘narrow’ de se propositions that Sleepy Beauty has set in relief. Consequently, in addition to pinpointing a failure of standard decision theoretic frameworks, this result casts doubt on a large class of strategies for determining principles for the rationally updating de se beliefs in cases like Sleeping Beauty, and also calls into question the importance of making such a determination at all. (shrink)
Inspired by Castañeda (1966, 1968), Perry (1979) and Lewis (1979) showed that a specific variety of singular thoughts, thoughts about oneself “as oneself” – de se thoughts, as Lewis called them – raise special issues, and they advanced rival accounts. Their suggestive examples raise the problem of de se thought – to wit, how to characterize it so as to give an accurate account of the data, tracing its relations to singular thoughts in general. After rehearsing the main tenets of (...) two contrasting accounts – a Lewisian one and a Perrian one – in the first section of this paper, in the second I will present a proposal of my own, which is a specific elaboration of the Perrian account. In the first section I will indicate some weaknesses of Perry’s presentation of his view; the proposal I will articulate in the second overcomes them. I will conclude with a brief discussion of reasons for preferring one or another account, in particular regarding the issue of the communication of de se thoughts. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. Thought experiments about de se attitudes and Jackson’s original Knowledge Argument are compared with each other and discussed from the perspective of a computational theory of mind. It is argued that internal knowledge, i.e. knowledge formed on the basis of signals that encode aspects of their own processing rather than being intentionally directed towards external objects, suffices for explaining the seminal puzzles without resorting to acquaintance or phenomenal character as primitive notions. Since computationalism is ontologically neutral, the account also (...) explains why neither Lewis’s two gods nor Mary’s surprise in the Knowledge Argument violate physicalism. (shrink)
This paper defends Lewis’ (1979a) influential treatment of de se attitudes from recent criticism (Cappelen and Dever, 2013; Holton, 2015) to the effect that a key explanatory notion—self-ascription—goes unexplained. It is shown that Lewis’ treatment can be reconstructed in a way which provides clear responses. This sheds light on the explanatory ambitions of those engaged in Lewis’ project.
Shows that both anaphoricity and egocentric de se binding play a crucial role in the interpretation of tense in discourse. Uses the English backwards shifted reading of the past tense in a mistaken time scenario to bring out the tension between these two features. Provides a suitable representational framework for the observed clash in the form of an extension of DRT in which updates of the common ground are accompanied by updates of each relevant agent's complex attitudinal state.
Leibniz' first problem with contingency stems from his doctrine of divine creation (not his later doctrine of truth) and is solved via his concepts of necessity per se, etc. (not via his later concept of infinite analysis). I scrutinize some of the earliest texts in which the first problem and its solution occur. I compare his "per se modal concepts" with his concept of analysis and with the traditional concept of metaphysical necessity. I then identify and remove the main obstacle (...) to Leibniz' employment of these concepts by reflecting on his concept of a world and comparing and contrasting it with contemporary conceptions. Finally I sketch the place that this early problem and its solution had in the context of his mature philosophy. A disagreement between Sleigh and Adams which hinges on the assumption that there is just one problem with competing solutions is seen to dissolve in this light. (shrink)
In this article we consider, relying in part upon comparative semantic evidence from English and Romanian, two contrasting dimensions of the sense in which our thoughts, including the contents of imagination and memory, and extending to objects of fear, enjoyment, and other emotions directed toward worldly happenings, may be distinctively first-personal, or "de se," to use the terminology introduced in Lewis (1979), and exhibit the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification (hereafter: IEM) in the sense of Shoemaker (1968) and (...) elsewhere. The different dimensions of the de se, we will argue, come apart in the following sense: some first-personal propositions, memories, and fears are about oneself as an experiencer of the contents in question, and others not; and some that are about the experiencer are not given as about oneself. (shrink)
It is rather uncontroversial that there are different ways to report de se attitudes, but there is still disagreement about the number and the nature of the different mechanisms at work. Following Anand (2006), I distinguish three types of de se reporting: one a special case of de re, another expressed by shifted indexicals, and a third expressed by dedicated de se pronouns. For the first two I propose reductions to de re and de dicto reporting, respectively, couched in a (...) dynamic framework where presupposition resolution takes center stage. For the third, I part ways with all current proposals in offering what is essentially a de re analysis of dedicated de se pronouns. I motivate this radical departure with examples of de se pronouns binding de re reflexives, as recently brought into the spotlights by Charlow (2010) and Sharvit (2010). (shrink)
En este artículo se presenta un análisis sobre el método de la historia de vida en educación a partir de los hallazgos logrados en este campo por el grupo de investigación Historia y Prospectiva de la universidad Latinoamericana. HISULA. Como estrategia de comprensión del proceso de construcción de la identidad profesional docente. Palabras clave: Historias de vida, educación, identidad profesional, formación de educadores, Historia y Prospectiva de la Universidad Latinoamericana. HISULA. Este artículo es resultado del proyecto de investigación “Historias de (...) vida de maestras rurales, indígenas y afrodescendientes. Un estudio comparado en los municipios de Soracá, Puerto Boyacá y Güicán de la sierra”. SGI. UPTC: 2004, financiado por la Dirección de Investigaciones de la Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, a través del programa Joven Investigador UPTC-2016 y desarrollado por el grupo de investigación HISULA. (shrink)
Chierchia (1989) and others have used the contrast between George hopes that he will win and Georges hopes to win in mistaken-self-identity scenarios, to argue for dedicated de se LFs. The argument, further strengthened by evidence of shiftable indexicals, appears applicable against any reductionist account that sees de se as merely a particular subtype of de re. My Acquaintance Resolution framework is an attempt at such a reduction, and this paper seeks to extend that theory with a logical principle of (...) introspection for belief, to account for the data within a unified treatment of de re and de se. (shrink)
Percus & Sauerland (2003) use quantified belief reports of the form 'Only Peter thinks he's...' to argue for dedicated de se LFs. The argument is targeted against any reductionist account that sees de se as merely a particular subtype of de re, viz. a de re belief about oneself from a first person perspective, requiring nothing but an account of de re attitudes. My acquaintance resolution framework is an attempt at just such a reduction and in this paper I extend (...) that theory with a projection mechanism to allow local accommodation of acquaintance relations. With this extension we can account for their data, as well as for some related data involving quantified belief reports familiar from arguments in the de se literature. Note: the embedded video of Peter's mistaken self-identity is urlhttp://ncs.ruhosting.nl/emar/dese.mpgavailable in .mpg here. (shrink)
Ji Kang’s “An Essay on Nourishing Life” has, for much of its history, been overshadowed by his more famous work “Sound is without Grief or Joy.” Be that as it may, “An Essay on Nourishing Life” is also an important text in that it delves into the interdependence of the heart-mind, spirit, and vital breath, and into how harmony between them is the key to ensuring physical longevity. In addition to investigating this aspect of his thought, this paper will (...) also discuss Ji Kang’s attention to the vicissitudes of knowledge and desire and to the need to temper them with tranquility and stillness. “An Essay on Nourishing Life” can thus be read as an extension of classical Daoist theories of self-cultivation while at the same time elaborating upon them by bringing together their disparate components into a coherently unified doctrine. (shrink)
I show how a de se belief ascription such as "Privatus believes that he himself is rich" may be dealt with by means of a scope distinction over and above that one separating de dicto and de re ascriptions. The idea is, roughly, that 'Privatus...himself' forms in this statement a unity, a single "spread" sign that is at the same time in a de re and de dicto position. If so, H-N. Castañeda's contention that the "quasi-indicator" 'he himself' ('she herself', (...) 'it itself') belongs to a "unique, irreducible logical category" of singular terms is, at best, misleading. Further, my account is superior to the well-known theories of R. Chisholm and D. Lewis, according to which de se ascriptions state that the believer "directly attributes properties to himself or herself". 1. Introduction 2. Chisholm and Lewis on de se belief ascriptions 3. Fregean and Sellarsian theories of belief ascriptions 4. Geach on the reflexive pronoun 5. Admiring and self-admiring 6. A solution to the problem de se belief ascriptions 7. Belief de se 8. Conclusion. (shrink)
Starting from an anecdote reported by Ernst Mach in the Analysis of Sensations, the author shows how the distinction between intentionality de re and intentionality de se can contribute to solving the individuation problem, at least for those individuals who are capable of self-referentiality. Intentionality is expressed linguistically in the form of the oratio obliqua, in the context of which the subordinate can be false even when the whole is true. The analysis of the conditions of falsity of the subordinate (...) tells us that this can be false either because the predicate does not fit to the subject or by a failure of reference, conceived according to the descriptive theory of reference. The intentionality de se is peculiar precisely by the fact that in this case the reference cannot fail and uniquely individuates the haecceitas of the intentional subject. (shrink)
Following González Vergara (2006a, 2009, 2012), the presence of the morpheme se in Spanish is explained by a lexical phenomenon that modifies the logical structure of sentences in which it appears. This phenomenon decreases the importance of the Actor and favors the Undergoer. According to this proposal, this phenomenon expresses itself, in most of the Spanish sesentences, as a lexical rule that makes unspecific the highest ranking argument. Taking the above as a basis, this paper explores and proposes explanations for (...) se alternating verbs of the type of matar(se), morir(se), dormir(se), despertar(se), terminar(se), adelgazar(se), engordar(se), envejecer(se), mejorar(se), controlar(se), crecer(se) y aparecer(se) in the framework of the Role and Reference Grammar. (shrink)
In English, we use the word "I" to express thoughts that we have about ourselves, and we use the reflexive pronouns "himself" and "herself" to attribute such thoughts to others. Philosophers and linguists call such thoughts, and the statements we use to express them, de se. De se thoughts and statements, although they appear often in our day-to-day lives, pose a series of challenging problems for both linguists and philosophers. This interdisciplinary volume examines the structure of de se thought, various (...) issues concerning the semantics and pragmatics of our discourse about it, and also what it reveals about how humans think about themselves and the world around them. (shrink)
This paper examines three accounts of the sleeping beauty case: an account proposed by Adam Elga, an account proposed by David Lewis, and a third account defended in this paper. It provides two reasons for preferring the third account. First, this account does a good job of capturing the temporal continuity of our beliefs, while the accounts favored by Elga and Lewis do not. Second, Elga’s and Lewis’ treatments of the sleeping beauty case lead to highly counterintuitive consequences. The proposed (...) account also leads to counterintuitive consequences, but they’re not as bad as those of Elga’s account, and no worse than those of Lewis’ account. (shrink)
Ciò che qui chiamo Materialismo indiano non deve intendersi come scuola filosofica unica ed univocamente impostata, bensì come insieme di correnti di pensiero, propugnanti differenti punti di vista, ma tutte collocate entro l’orizzonte concettuale che nega ciò che in Occidente si usa chiamare Trascendente. Inoltre, com’è ovvio, bisogna distinguere tra un Materialismo filosofico – che prenderò in considerazione qui – ed un Materialismo, per così dire, popolare – al quale mi riferirò solo se necessario. Due sono le impostazioni materialiste che (...) intendo trattare: l’una riguarda i sostenitori dell’esistenza di cinque elementi materiali (bhūtapañcakavādin) che chiamerò, seguendo Ramkrishna Bhattacharya, proto-Materialisti, l’altra concerne i sostenitori dell’esistenza di quattro elementi materiali (bhūtacatuṣṭayavādin), tra cui i Cārvāka. (shrink)
This article tries to highlight the explicit political aim and the importance for our present of the thought of the «late» Michel Foucault. Through the analysis of the role that truth plays in the pagan and Christian techniques of the self, it opposes a truth that we have to discover in ourselves in order to refuse it (Christianity) or to adhere to it (ethics of authenticity) to a truth conceived as a force of transformation of logos into ethos , of (...) the discourse into a way of life. (shrink)
Estratto da Jean-Paul Sartre, "Critica della ragione dialettica, Tomo II: L’intelligibilità della storia", trad. it. di F. Cambria, Christian Marinotti Edizioni, Milano 2006, pp. 409-426.Testo nella traduzione italianaTesto originale francese.
The article aims to offer a few hypotheses on an analysis of the phenomenology of moral action in Nietzsche, especially in relation to Nietzsche’s formula “become who you are”, through two crucial concepts to the creation of man by the action: experience (Erlebnis) and ‘cultivation’. Man becomes what he is only in life and under the concrete conditions of his existence, without the remote suspicion of, as Nietzsche wrote, “what he is” and in this case, it is a process that (...) unfolds through his experiences. Understood as pathos or counter-concept of reason, experience acts cultivating the man in a phenomenological process of human ‘cultivation’ toward ‘becoming what one is’. (shrink)
Vittorio Guidano, fondatore della psicoterapia cognitivista post-razionalista, ha offerto alcuni spunti di riflessione sui cambiamenti del senso di identità che presumibilmente si sono succeduti nel corso delle epoche storiche in relazione ai diversi contesti di vita. Dell’interesse per questo tema testimonia una lezione, di cui l’autrice riporta alcuni stralci sinora inediti. La lezione si è tenuta a Roma, presso l’APC- Associazione di Psicoterapia Cognitiva, in data 26 gennaio del 1999, nell’ambito di un training di formazione in psicoterapia. Il tema discusso (...) è l’influenza della scrittura alfabetica nel dar forma all’esperienza umana, un argomento su cui è possibile intrecciare proficuamente le analisi di Guidano e le riflessioni di Carlo Sini. (shrink)
The essay investigates the problem of Self-construction in latest Nietzsche’s thought and its relation with the question of decadence. The identity crisis of Western civilisation, the break-up of the ethical and cultural ground of modern European societies, become at the same time the opportunity for a radical renewal of humanity, the starting point for a great «anthropotechnical experiment» aimed at shaping a new human «type», a new model for a Post-Christian ethos.
This paper concerns two points of intersection between de se attitudes and the study of natural language: attitude ascription and communication. I first survey some recent work on the semantics of de se attitude ascriptions, with particular attention to ascriptions that are true only if the subject of the ascription has the appropriate de se attitude. I then examine – and attempt to solve – some problems concerning the role of de se attitudes in linguistic communication.
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. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe received picture of linguistic communication understands communication as the transmission of information from speaker's head to hearer's head. This picture is in conflict with the attractive Lewisian view of belief as self-location, which is motivated by de se attitudes – first-personal attitudes about oneself – as well as attitudes about subjective matters such as personal taste. In this paper, I provide a solution to the conflict that reconciles these views. I argue for an account of mental attitudes and communication (...) on which mental content and speech act content is understood as sets of multicentered worlds – roughly, possible worlds ‘centered’ on a sequence of individuals at a time. I develop a Stalnakerian model of communication based on multicentered worlds content, and I provide a suitable semantics for personal pronouns and predicates of personal taste. The resulting picture is one on which the point of conversation is the coordination of individual perspectives. (shrink)