Deliberation and the First Person

22 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2008

Date Written: February 8, 2008


Philosophers like Shoemaker and Burge argue that only self-conscious creatures can exercise rational control over their mental lives. In particular they urge that reflective rationality requires possession of the I-concept, the first person concept. These philosophers maintain that rational creatures like ourselves can exercise reflective control over belief as well as action. I agree that we have this sort of control over our actions and that practical freedom presupposes self-consciousness. But I deny that anything like this is true of belief.

Suggested Citation

Owens, David, Deliberation and the First Person (February 8, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

David Owens (Contact Author)

Kings College London ( email )

Philosophy Building
The Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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