Self-Knowledge, Responsibility, and the Third Person



Richard Moran's Authority and Estrangement offers a subtle and tantalizing exploration of asymmetries that arise between first-person and third-person self-knowledge. According to Moran's central claim, the distinction of first-person self-knowledge is to engage the responsibility of the person. I will focus my remarks on this issue. I wish to raise some questions about the nature of the third-person perspective, and about how assuming it affects the responsibility of the person. In this connection, I examine in some detail Moran's main examples of third-person loss of responsibility. Moran's discussions are rich and provocative, and the questions I sketch out all too briefly here are primarily pleas for clarification.