Dissertation Defense: Quentin Fisher
Candidate Name: Quentin Fisher
Advisor: Mark Lance, Ph.D.
Title: Being-Together: An Essay on the First-Person Plural
Abstract: This dissertation concerns the philosophy of the first-person. It consists of three principal philosophical studies, each concerning a set of concepts that, when taken together, form a skeletal though unified account of the first-person. The first part concerns the various uses of the first-person singular (‘I’) as well as first-person immunity to error through misidentification. The second part concerns the various uses of the first-person plural (‘we’). I argue there that (i) there are several distinct uses of the first-person plural pronoun, (ii) that each of these uses can be articulated inferentially, and (iii) that one use of the first-person plural—what I call the generic use—is conceptually basic. In the third part, I argue that the first-person plural pronoun is, at least on some of its uses, the grammatical mark of a certain form of self-conscious understanding, and it is this kind of self-conscious understanding that underwrites the possibility of speaking a language. I end by outlining some structural relations between the various uses of the first-person singular and the first-person plural. In the account offered here, the first-person singular and the first-person plural form a non-additive unitary structure. An account of the first-person must be an account of the first-person singular and plural.
Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm
New North, 204
37th and O St., N.W., Washington