Intention and Judgment-Dependence: First-Personal vs. Third-Personal Accounts

Philosophical Explorations 27 (1):41-56 (2023)
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ABSTRACT A Third-Person-Based or Third-Personal Judgment-Dependent account of mental content implies that, as an a priori matter, facts about a subject’s mental content are precisely captured by the judgments of a second-person or an interpreter. Alex Byrne, Bill Child, and others have discussed attributing such a view to Donald Davidson. This account significantly departs from a First-Person-Based or First-Personal Judgment-Dependent account, such as Crispin Wright’s, according to which, as an a priori matter, facts about intentional content are constituted by the judgments of the subject herself, formed under certain optimal or cognitively ideal conditions. I will argue for two claims: (1) Attributing a Third-Personal Judgment-Dependent account to Davidson is unjustified; Davidson’s view is much closer to a non-reductionist First-Personal Judgment-Dependent account. (2) Third-Personal accounts rest on a misconstrual of the role of an interpreter in the First-Personal accounts; the notion of an interpreter still plays an essential role in the latter ones.

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Ali Hossein Khani
Iranian Institute of Philosophy (IRIP)


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