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Our use of ‘I’, or something like it, is implicated in our self-regarding emotions, in the concern to survive, and so seems basic to ordinary human life. But why does that pattern of use require a referring term? Don't Lichtenberg's formulations show how we could have our ordinary pattern of use here without the first person? I argue that what explains our compulsion to regard the first person as a referring term is our ordinary causal thinking, which requires us to find a persisting object as the mechanism that underpins the causal structure we naturally ascribe to the self. I thus argue against Peacocke's picture (2012), on which it's the cogito that explains one's knowledge of one's own existence.