ENS, Pavillon Jardin, Conference room, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris
Many seem to think that indexical thoughts are particularly hard to share or to communicate. The reasoning behind that impression often boils down to the claim that one’s self-thoughts cannot be identical to another’s you-thoughts - since the first is de se, the second, de te. This is particularly disappointing since, in suitable contexts, I-thoughts and you-thoughts can be witnesses to successful communications. Analogously, there is a sense according to which, in suitable contexts, for you to believe just what I believe by uttering a first-personal utterance is for you to assent to what, in your mouth, would be a second-personal utterance. It would thus be very desirable if, sometimes, I-thoughts and you-thoughts could be identified. In this talk I intend to confront several arguments against that possibility. The arguments include considerations about action motivation, cognitive value and the Lewisian relativistic framework of propositional attitudes.