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Keywords:

  • Chisholm;
  • reference;
  • intentionality;
  • de dicto;
  • de re;
  • de se;
  • intentional solipsism

Abstract: The problem of intentionality, or how mind and language can take things in the world as “intentional objects,” engaged Chisholm throughout his philosophical career. This essay reviews and discusses his seminal contributions on this problem, from his early work in “Sentences about Believing” and Perceiving during the 1950s to his last and most mature account in The First Person, published in 1981. Chisholm's final view was that de se reference, or a subject's directly taking himself as an intentional object, is fundamental and primitive, and that all other forms of intentional reference, such as de re and de dicto, can be understood on the basis of de se intentionality. The essay ends with a discussion of the worry that this account might lead to what may be called “intentional solipsism,” the proposition that the self is the only genuine object of intentional reference.