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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190226411

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190226411.001.0001

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The First Person and Self-Knowledge in Analytic Philosophy

The First Person and Self-Knowledge in Analytic Philosophy

(p.280) Chapter fifteen The First Person and Self-Knowledge in Analytic Philosophy

Sebastian Rödl

Oxford University Press

Socrates maintains that, as long as he lacks self-knowledge, it is silly to pursue any other knowledge. This cannot be true if self-knowledge is knowledge of a special object: the self. It can be true only if self-knowledge is distinguished by its manner of knowing. Socrates’ question cannot rule philosophy; it cannot rule human life, if self-knowledge, as knowledge of a certain area of reality, lies alongside knowledge of other areas of reality. There are three texts that circumscribe the space within which Analytic thought on self-knowledge moves: Castaneda’s “He*: A Study of Self-Consciousness”, the relevant chapter of Evans’ The Varieties of Reference, and Anscombe’s “The First Person.” These texts force upon us the question whether self-knowledge can be subsumed under a general concept of knowledge of things and how it can be thought if it cannot. I shall present a reading of the mentioned texts guided by this question.

Keywords:   self-knowledge, the first person, reference, self-consciousness, Hector-Neri Castañeda, Elizabeth Anscombe, Gareth Evans

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