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De Se Assertion

Abstract : It has been long known (Perry (1977, 1979), Lewis (1981)) that de se attitudes, such as beliefs and desires that one has about oneself, call for a special treatment in theories of attitudinal content. The aim of this paper is to raise similar concerns for theories of asserted content. The received view, inherited from Kaplan (1989), has it that if Alma says "I am hungry," the asserted content, or what is said, is the proposition that Alma is hungry (at a given time). I argue that the received view has difficulties handing de se assertion, i.e. contents that one expresses using the first person pronoun, to assert something about oneself. I start from the observation that when two speakers say "I am hungry," one may truly report them as having said the same thing. It has often been held that the possibility of such reports comes from the fact that the two speakers are, after all, uttering the same words, and are in this sense "saying the same thing". I argue that this approach fails, and that it is neither necessary nor sufficient to use the same words, or words endowed with the same meaning, in order to be truly reported as same-saying. I also argue that reports of same-saying in the case of de se assertion differ significantly from such reports in the case of two speakers merely implicating the same thing. Finally, I outline a new account of the content of assertion, similar to Lewis's account of de se attitudes. The proposal is, roughly, when Alma says "I am hungry", the asserted content just the property of being hungry, and it is a property that Alma asserts of herself. I then propose to generalize the account to the other cases in a way that departs from Lewis's account, and I close by showing how my proposal handles the cases discussed in the first part of the paper.
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Contributor : Isidora Stojanovic <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 10:39:07 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 3:54:52 AM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00280484, version 5



Isidora Stojanovic. De Se Assertion. 2013. ⟨ijn_00280484v5⟩



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