Reflections on Quasi-Indexicals, Self-Consciousness and Self-Knowledge

Giuseppe Mario Antonio Varnier


Abstract: Building on recent linguistic and philosophical research on quasi-indexicals, self-consciousness, anaphora, and discours indirect libre, I argue that they raise problems (as already pointed out by Castañeda and others) for the definition of (de se) self-knowledge understood according to the Classical Definition of Knowledge (conceived as expressing at least the necessary conditions for knowledge, if not a sufficient set of conditions). I call this extremely difficult problem the “non-detachment problem”. I show that, for this reason, self-knowledge must always be considered perspectival and non-third-personal, in the relevant cases. I also discuss and criticize the Lewis-Chierchia interpretation of de se attitudes. Furthermore, I discuss the role of the (a) self in the strict sense in an adequate account of so-called self-knowledge, and in a problem closely related to the “non-detachment problem”, that of the reconstruction of the cogito.

Keywords: Indexicals; Quasi-indexicals; Classical (tripartite) Definition of Knowledge; Self-knowledge; Self-consciousness


Considerazioni su quasi-indicali, autoriferimento e conoscenza di sé

Riassunto: Sulla base di recenti ricerche linguistiche e filosofiche sui quasi-indicali, l‘autocoscienza, l’anafora e il discours indirect libre, intendo sostenere che essi sollevano difficoltà, già anticipate da Castañeda e altri, per la definizione della conoscenza di sé (nel senso del de se), se essa è pensata secondo la definizione classica di conoscenza considerata almeno come condizione necessaria della conoscenza. Chiamo questo problema di difficilissima soluzione il “problema della non distaccabilità”. Cercherò di mostrare che, di conseguenza, la conoscenza di sé deve essere intesa come sempre “prospettica” e non di terza persona, nei casi rilevanti. Intendo poi discutere criticamente l’interpretazione di Lewis e Chierchia delle attitudini de se. Inoltre, discuto il ruolo del (o di un) in senso stretto in un resoconto adeguato della cosiddetta conoscenza di sé e in un problema prossimo a quello della “non distaccabilità”: il problema della ricostruzione del cogito.

Parole chiave: Indicali; Quasi-indicali; Definizione classica (tripartita) della conoscenza; Conoscenza di sé; autocoscienza


Indexicals; Quasi-indexicals; Classical (tripartite) Definition of Knowledge; Self-knowledge; Self-consciousness

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