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Poster: Reyes

A Lewisian account of de se attitudes

Stephanie Reyes 

De se attitudes are a special class of propositional attitudes one would characteristically describe using “I” or other first-person pronouns, and those that we attribute to others using emphatic reflexives. In recent years, various semantic theories have been proposed to account for de se attitudes, one of which is Lewis’ centered worlds framework. Traditionally, de se attitudes have been understood to pose a series of challenging problems for orthodox ways of thinking about propositional attitude reports and beliefs (Castañeda 1966; Perry 1979; and Lewis 1979). In recent philosophical literature, many attempts have been made to reject the traditional view of de se attitudes, in favour of alternative explanations for the phenomenon of the de se. This thesis will affirm the phenomenon of de se attitudes by arguing that a Lewisian treatment of de se attitudes has explanatory force in modal, linguistic, epistemic, and metaphysical contexts. To motivate the appeal of the Lewisian framework, I will enrich his account to show that a centered worlds treatment of de se attitudes has the right machinery to deal with potential and current objections by Ninan (forthcoming), Magidor (forthcoming), and Cappelen and Dever (2013). By enriching Lewis’ framework, this thesis will conclude that his account is the most satisfactory semantic theory to understand the phenomenon of de se attitudes.