Blair, June
Philosophy Department
St. Mary's University
Halifax, Nova Scotia

June Blair
192 Rushton Road
Toronto, Ont. M6G 3J3

Strand: Other-specify: The paper is an application of systemics

Title: and the acquisition of knowledge. It uses systemics to explicate the philosophical problem and to suggest a solution for it.

"I-Statements": A Systemic View of the Philosophical Importance of First Person Statements

In twentieth century analytic philosophy, first person sensation statements (eg., I see red now) were supposed to have a special epistemic function. They were supposedly incorrigible and thus guaranteed the truth of what was said. The special relation to evidence and truth that was claimed for them was also criticized. But there was (and still is) ambivalence. These statements are different from third person statements. But is the difference of epistemic significance?

What is at issue is the relation between first person sensation statements and modality. A standard philosophical analysis of first person statements assumes that modality is a function of content (the ideational metafunction). However, Systemics claims that modality is part of the interpersonal metafunction. The systemic analysis of modality can explain why first person sensation statements cannot fulfill the epistemological function philosophers believed it could. The proposed epistemic function rests on a confusion about the nature of modality.