First-person knowledge and authority

In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Language Mind and Epistemology: On Donald Davidson's Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers (1994)
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Let us call a thought or belief whose content would be expressed by a sentence of subject-predicate form (by the thinker or someone attributing the thought to the thinker) an ‘ascription’. Thus, the thought that Madonna is middle-aged is an ascription of the property of being middle-aged to Madonna. To call a thought of this form an ascription is to emphasize the predicate in the sentence that gives its content. Let us call an ‘x-ascription’ an ascription whose subject is x, that is, an ascription such that the subject of the sentence which would express its content is x. Let us call a ‘self-ascription’ an ascription whose subject is identical with the ascriber. Let us call a ‘reflexive ascription’ a selfascription such that either (i) in the sentence the ascriber would use to attribute correctly the ascription to himself he would use the first person pronoun to refer to himself both as the ascriber and as the subject of the ascription, as in a sentence of the form, I believe that I ö

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Kirk Ludwig
Indiana University, Bloomington


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