, Volume 184, Issue 2, pp 157-177
Date: 01 May 2010

Two kinds of first-person-oriented content

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Abstract

In this paper, I will argue that two kinds of first-person-oriented content are distinguished in more ways than usually thought and I propose an account that will shed new light on the distinction. The first kind consists of contents of attitudes de se (in a broad sense); the second kind consists of contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will present new data concerning the two kinds of first-person-oriented content, together with a novel account of propositional content in general, namely based on the notion of an attitudinal object. That notion solves two major problems with Lewis’s account of contents of attitudes de se and clarifies the difference between contents of attitudes de se and contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will propose an analysis of contents of the second kind in terms of what I call first-person-based genericity, a form of genericity most explicitly expressed by sentences with generic one. I show how the overall account explains the particular semantic properties of sentences giving rise to intuitions of relative truth that distinguish them from sentences with expressions interpreted de se. I will start by introducing Lewis’s account of attitudes de se and the problems that go along with that account. Introducing the notion of an attitudinal object, I will extend the account by an account of the truth conditions of the content of attitudes de se. I then discuss the second kind of first-person-oriented content, which is associated with intuitions of relative truth, and give an account of such contents on the basis of an analysis of generic one. Again making use of attitudinal objects, I will make clear what exactly distinguishes those contents from first-person-oriented contents of the first sort.