Understanding "I"

Understanding "I" : Language and Thought

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No words in English are shorter than "I" and few, if any, play a more fundamental role in language and thought. In Understanding "I": Thought and Language Jose Luis Bermudez continues his longstanding work on the self and self-consciousness. Bermudez develops a model of how language-users understand sentences involving the first person pronoun "I". This model illuminates the unique psychological role that self-conscious thoughts (typically
expressed using "I") play in action and thought - a unique role often summarized by describing "I" as an essential indexical.

The book opens with an argument directly supporting the indispensability of "I"-thoughts in explaining action. After motivating a broadly Fregean approach linguistic understanding it critically examines Frege's own remarks on "I" as well as the Fregean account offered by Gareth Evans. The main part of the book develops an account of the sense of "I" that explains a cluster of related phenomena, including essential indexicality, immunity to error through misidentification, the shareability of
"I"-thoughts, the relation between "I" and "you", and the role of autobiographical memory in self-consciousness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 142 x 209 x 15mm | 308g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198796218
  • 9780198796213
  • 2,098,922

Table of contents

1: "I": An essential indexical
2: Sense and understanding
3: Frege and Evans on the sense of "I"
4: Privacy, objectivity, symmetry
5: Token-sense and type-sense
6: "I": Token-sense and type-sense
7: Explaining immunity to error through misidentification
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Review quote

Jose Bermudez's book is a welcome effort ... the book is an ambitious, original, and instructive effort to defend the philosophical significance of the first-person perspective * Herman Cappelen, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Jose Luis Bermudez

Educated at St Pauls School, London and King's College Cambridge, Jose Luis Bermudez is Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, where he previous served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He has held positions at the universities of Cambridge and Stirling, as well as at Washington University in St Louis. His books include The Paradox of Self-Consciousness, Thinking Without Words, Philosophy of Psychology, A Contemporary Introduction,
Decision Theory and Rationality, and Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Mind.
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