Philosophical Studies

, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 109–128 | Cite as

In Defence of Burge's Thesis

  • Sarah Sawyer


Burge's thesis is the thesis that certain second-order self-ascriptionsare self-verifying in virtue of their self-referential form. The thesis hasrecently come under attack on the grounds that it does not yield a theory ofself-knowledge consistent with semantic externalism, and also on the groundsthat it is false. In this paper I defend Burge's thesis against both charges,in particular against the arguments of Bernecker, Gallois and Goldberg. Thealleged counterexamples they provide are merely apparent counterexamples, andthe thesis is adequate to its proper task. To think otherwise is simply tomisunderstand the thesis.


Semantic Externalism Apparent Counterexample Proper Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bernecker, S. (1996): 'Externalism and the Attitudinal Component of Self-Knowledge', Nous 30, 262-275.Google Scholar
  2. Brueckner, A. (1992): 'What an Anti-Individualist Knows A Priori', Analysis 52, 111-118.Google Scholar
  3. Brueckner, A. (1999): 'Two Recent Approaches to Self-Knowledge', Philosophical Perspectives 13, 251-271.Google Scholar
  4. Burge, T. (1977): 'Belief De Re', The Journal of Philosophy 74, 338-362.Google Scholar
  5. Burge, T. (1988): 'Individualism and Self-Knowledge', Journal of Philosophy 85, 649-663. Reprinted in Cassam, Q. (ed.) (1994): Self-Knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press. All page references to the reprint.Google Scholar
  6. Burge, T. (1996): 'Our Entitlement to Self-Knowledge', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society XCVI, 91-116.Google Scholar
  7. Burge, T. (1998): 'Reason and the First Person', in C. Wright, B. Smith and C. MacDonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds (pp. 243-270), Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burge, T. (1999): 'A Century of Deflation and a Moment about Self-Knowledge', Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 73, 25-46.Google Scholar
  9. Davidson, D. (1984): 'First Person Authority', Dialectica 38, 101-111.Google Scholar
  10. Davidson, D. (1987): 'Knowing One's Own Mind', Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association 60, 441-458.Google Scholar
  11. Falvey, K. and Owens, J. (1994): 'Externalism, Self-Knowledge, and Skepticism', Philosophical Review 103, 107-137.Google Scholar
  12. Gallois, A. (1996): The World Without, The Mind Within: An Essay on First-Person Authority, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Goldberg, S. (2000): 'Is “I Am Presently Thinking That p” Self-Verifying?' Presented at the Central States Philosophical Association Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.Google Scholar
  14. Heil, J. (1988): 'Privileged Access', Mind 97, 238-251.Google Scholar
  15. MacDonald, C. (1998): 'Externalism and Authoritative Self-Knowledge', in C. Wright, B. Smith and C.MacDonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds (pp. 123-154). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Noonan, H.W. (1993): 'Object-Dependent Thoughts: A Case of Superficial Necessity but Deep Contingency?', in J. Heil and A. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation (pp. 283-308), Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  17. Peacocke, C. (1996): 'Entitlement, Self-Knowledge, and Conceptual Redeployment', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society XCVI, 117-158.Google Scholar
  18. Peacocke, C. (1999): Being Known, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Shoemaker, S. (1994): 'Self-Knowledge and “Inner Sense”', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54, 249-314.Google Scholar
  20. Wright, C. (1991): 'On Putnam's Proof that we are not Brains-in-a-Vat', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 91, 67-94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Sawyer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KansasLawrenceUSA

Personalised recommendations