Chapter

PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought

Jason Stanley

in Know How

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695362
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729768 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695362.003.0003
PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought

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Sentences that ascribe knowing how contain the unpronounced pronoun PRO, which has a de se, or first-personal meaning, in such sentences. On the account of knowing how defended in the book, then, knowing how to do something is a kind of first-personal, or de se knowledge. This chapter presents a novel account of the meaning of such uses of PRO, connecting the account of PRO in the theory of controlled PRO to a broader account of the nature of propositions according to which they contain ways of thinking of objects, including first-personal ways of thinking of objects. The propositional view of the de se is defended against the predicational view advocated by David Lewis and others. Various arguments for the predicational theory, for example from the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification, are considered and rejected.

Keywords: PRO; control theory; de se; David Lewis; Gareth Evans; modes of presentation; ways of thinking; immunity to error through misidentification

Chapter.  14638 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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