Making Up Your Mind: How Language Enables Self‐Knowledge, Self‐Knowability and Personhood

European Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):3-26 (2016)
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If language is to serve the basic purpose of communicating our attitudes, we must be constructed so as to form beliefs in those propositions that we truthfully assert on the basis of careful assent. Thus, other things being equal, I can rely on believing those things to which I give my careful assent. And so my ability to assent or dissent amounts to an ability to make up my mind about what I believe. This capacity, in tandem with a similar capacity in respect of other attitudes, supports three important lessons. It means that I can know what I believe by seeing what commands my assent, that I can put aside the possibility of error in committing myself to holding such a belief, and that I can therefore perform as a person: I can organize my mind around commitments to which others are invited to hold me.
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