The Paradox of Self–Consciousness Revisited



The so–called paradox of self–consciousness suggests that self–consciousness, understood as the capacity to think about oneself in a first–person way, cannot be explained. The author of the paradox contends that the only way to avert this result is by invoking the notion of nonconceptual first–person thought. This contention is rooted in adherence to the Linguistic Priority Principle, which dictates that pre–and nonlinguistic creatures lack concepts. I argue that the latter claim is dubious, and that the paradox of self–consciousness can be better disarmed by denying the dependence of first–person conceptual thought on first–person language.