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Bodily Awareness and Immunity to Error through Misidentification



Abstract: Some first person statements, such as ‘I am in pain’, are thought to be immune to error through misidentification (IEM): I cannot be wrong that I am in pain because—while I know that someone is in pain—I have mistaken that person for myself. While IEM is typically associated with the self-ascription of psychological properties, some philosophers attempt to draw anti-Cartesian conclusions from the claim that certain physical self-ascriptions are also IEM. In this paper, I will examine whether some physical self-ascriptions are in fact IEM, and—if they are—what role that fact is supposed to play in arguments for the anti-Cartesian claim that self-consciousness is consciousness of oneself as a material object. I will argue that if we accept the assumptions required to show that physical self-ascriptions are IEM, then IEM cannot play the role it needs to play in these anti-Cartesian arguments.