Three Questions About Immunity to Error Through Misidentification
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It has been observed that, unlike other kinds of singular judgments, mental self-ascriptions are immune to error through misidentification: they may go wrong, but not as a result of mistaking someone else’s mental states for one’s own. Although recent years have witnessed increasing interest in this phenomenon, three basic questions about it remain without a satisfactory answer: what is exactly an error through misidentification? What does immunity to such errors consist in? And what does it take to explain the fact that mental self-ascriptions exhibit this sort of immunity? The aim of this paper is to bring these questions into focus, propose some tentative answers and use them to show that one prominent attempt to explain the immunity to error through misidentification of mental self-ascriptions is unsuccessful.
KeywordsSimple Explanation False Identification Minimal Evidence Epistemic Assurance Singular Proposition
Thanks to Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, John Hawthorne, Guy Longworth, Aidan McGlynn, Daniel Morgan, François Recanati, Sven Rosenkranz, Assaf Weksler and Crispin Wright for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Thanks also to the participants of the LOGOS Colloquium in Barcelona, the second HUJI Graduate Conference in Jerusalem and the 2013 NIP / Institut Jean-Nicod Workshop “Thinking of Oneself” in Paris. The research leading to this paper has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013 under grant agreement no. FP7-238128, and from the Swiss National Science Foundation Sinergia Project ‘Grounding – Metaphysics, Science, and Logic’ (Project 147685).
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