Perspectival attitudes and assertions

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)

Abstract

This thesis examines two types of perspectival attitudes and assertions: those about oneself, such as "I am in Martyrs Kirk Library" or "my house is on fire", and those about matters of personal tastes, such as "Super Mario is a fun game" or "century eggs are disgusting". The aim of this thesis is to challenge some published arguments in favour of the relativist, centred-worlds framework for these attitudes and assertions and to offer novel explanations for relevant phenomena including the inferior status of testimony about taste matters, the acquaintance inference of taste assertions, the connection between de se attitudes and actions, and the non-reducibility of de se attitudes to non-de se attitudes. I argue that the centred-worlds framework is not a well-motivated framework for these two types of attitudes and assertions. In addition, I propose that taste assertions are governed by a special knowledge-why norm, and de se attitudes have impossible-worlds contents.
Date of Award29 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorDerek Nelson Ball (Supervisor) & Simon James Prosser (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • De se attitude
  • Taste assertion
  • Centred world
  • De se exceptionalism
  • Acquaintance inference
  • Impossible worlds

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 10 June 2026

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