Kant and the First Person

C. Thomas Powell

in Kant's Theory of Self-Consciousness

Published in print August 1990 | ISBN: 9780198244486
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680779 | DOI:
Kant and the First Person

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • History of Western Philosophy


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the views of Immanuel Kant on the first person as they relate to his theory of self-consciousness and compares them with those of Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe. In recent years, a good deal of literature has developed around the location of a philosophical/linguistic datum: that the first-person pronoun is completely immune from reference failure. In fact, this datum is actually two, since there are two ways of failing to achieve a reference that are not possible when one uses the expression ‘I’. The first kind of reference failure is the referential equivalent of shooting at one's shadow: the attempted reference fails precisely because no referent exists. The second kind of reference failure is more a matter of shooting an innocent bystander: the attempted reference actually does refer, but to the wrong referent.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; first-person pronoun; Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe; self-consciousness; reference failure; reference-failure immunity; apperception

Chapter.  13696 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.