It is often assumed that experiential reference, in particular the references we make using so-called essential indexicals (I, here, and now), is irreducible to other forms or reference. In focusing on Donnellan’s insights concerning the referential use of definite descriptions and empirical evidence coming from cognitive sciences (in particular Pylyshin’s work on situated vision), Eros Corazza discusses and defends this view. In so doing, he shows how experiential reference rests on a form of egocentric immersion underpinning agent-centered behaviours. It is further argued that our capacity to express de se thoughts (i.e. thoughts about ourselves) supervenes on the ability we have to master viewpoint-dependent thoughts. This constitutes the cognitive grounds upon which philosophical insights concerning the notions of essential indexicals, self-locating beliefs, and self-centered behaviours should be understood.

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Department of Philosophy

Corazza, E. (2018). On the essentiality of thoughts (and reference). In Expressing the Self: Cultural Diversity and Cognitive Universals (pp. 248–259). doi:10.1093/oso/9780198786658.003.0012