Self‐Knowledge and Illusions of Transcendence

Christopher Peacocke

in Being Known

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238607
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598197 | DOI:
 Self‐Knowledge and Illusions of Transcendence

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Thinkers who have postulated a transcendental subject of experience have responded to an epistemological insight about first‐person thought with a metaphysical error. The distinctive features of the first person that has produced the illusion is not immunity to error through misidentification, but a certain kind of representational independence. Representationally independent uses of the first person are those in which the thinker rationally forms a present‐tense first‐person belief, but not by endorsing the content of some conscious state, which itself has a first‐person representational content. Mis‐characterization of this phenomenon provides an explanation of the source of the illusion that there is a transcendental subject of experience.

Keywords: first person; immunity to error through mis‐identification; representation; subject of experience; transcendental

Chapter.  16166 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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