Davidson on Self‐Knowledge: A Transcendental Explanation

Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (2):153-184 (2021)
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Davidson has attempted to offer his own solution to the problem of self-knowledge, but there has been no consensus between his commentators on what this solution is. Many have claimed that Davidson’s account stems from his remarks on disquotational specifications of self-ascriptions of meaning and mental content, the account which I will call the “Disquotational Explanation”. It has also been claimed that Davidson’s account rather rests on his version of content externalism, which I will call the “Externalist Explanation”. I will argue that not only are these explanations of self-knowledge implausible, but Davidson himself has already rejected them. Thus, neither can be attributed to Davidson as his suggested account of self-knowledge. I will then introduce and support what I take to be Davidson’s official and independent account of self-knowledge, that is, his “Transcendental Explanation”. I will defend this view against certain potential objections and finally against the objections made by William Child.
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