Self-Conception: Sosa on De Se Thought

In John Turri (ed.), Virtuous Thoughts: The Philosophy of Ernest Sosa. Springer. pp. 73--99 (2013)
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Castañeda, Perry and Lewis argued in the 1960’s and 1970’s that thoughts about oneself “as oneself” – de se thoughts – require special treatment, and advanced different accounts. In this paper I discuss Ernest Sosa’s approach to these matters. I first present his approach to singular or de re thought in general in the first section. In the second, I introduce the data that need to be explained, Perry’s and Lewis’s proposals, and Sosa’s own account, in relation to Perry’s, Lewis’s, and his own views on de re thought. In the third section I present the account I prefer – a “token-reflexive” version of Perry’s original account that Perry himself came to adopt in reaction to Stalnaker’s criticisms. In the final section I take up Recanati’s recent arguments, from a viewpoint on de se thought very similar to Sosa’s, to the effect that such an account is in a good position to explain the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. I argue there that that is not the case, and I conclude by suggesting that the token-reflexive account fits better both with the data and with Sosa’s Fregean take on de re thought in general.

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Manuel García-Carpintero
Universitat de Barcelona


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