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The lectures given by Béatrice Longuenesse when she held the Spinoza Chair at the UvA in 2017 have now been published by Oxford University Press. In the lectures, which have been gathered in a collection titled 'The First Person in Cognition and Morality', she investigates our use of the pronoun ‘I’.

Béatrice Longuenesse

What does our use of ‘I’ tell us about our relationship with ourselves, with others and with the world? Do we refer to ourselves as unique individuals, or rather as the carriers of thoughts that we share with all other human beings? In her lectures, Longuenesse explores these two contrasting aspects of ‘I’.

According to some philosophers, the word ‘I’ is the source of illusions, such as the illusion that you yourself are responsible for your thoughts and actions. Even so, for each individual, its use appears to be an indispensable tool to refer to themselves.

About the Spinoza Chair

Longuenesse held the Spinoza Chair in 2017. Since 1995, the Philosophy Department of the University of Amsterdam has annually appointed a high-profile foreign philosopher to the Spinoza Chair. As part of the appointment, the Spinoza professor gives a number of lectures intended for a wide audience that would like to keep abreast of current developments in philosophy.

Read more about the book The First Person in Cognition and Morality.

View recordings of the lectures: Perplexing I and Two unlikely bedfellows: Kant and Freud on Morality.