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Understanding Self-Locating Thought

Dr. Andy Egan

Thursday, October 27, 2011, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Department of Philosophy

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Pretty much everybody agrees that there's an interesting, distinctive phenomenon of self-locating thought - there's something distinctive, for example, about the kind of doxastic state that tends to give rise to sincere assertions of "my pants are on fire", or "I am the messy shoppper". There's much less agreement on what kind of theoretical apparatus to use to model the phenomenon. One big fight in this neighborhood is between people who follow David Lewis and go for a theory in which self-locating thoughts have a distinctive sort of *content*, and between those who follow John Perry and go for a theory in which self-locating thoughts have an ordinary sort of content, but employ a distinctive sort of *mode of presentation*. I'll try to make the case for a Lewisian, fancy-content sort of account, by undermining some of the arguments against and concerns about such views, and by arguing that a Lewisian account makes for a theory that fits better with the methods of decision theory and formal epistemology.

Dr. Andy Egan