Michael Powell

Previous Education

BA, Liberal Arts, St. John's College, Annapolis, 2016


Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, Philosophy of Language, Kant, History of Analytic Philosophy

Recent Courses

PHIL 29200-01/29300-01 Junior/Senior Tutorial

Topic: The First Person Perspective

It is often remarked that one occupies a unique perspective on oneself, that, paradigmatically, one relates to oneself in a very different manner than one does to others. There are various ways of bringing out what is unique about this perspective. We will explore two in particular in this course. The first involves the idea of ‘first person authority’; the second involves the idea of ‘immunity to error through misidentification’. We will examine a number of philosophical debates surrounding these themes. Some questions to be explored: 

Are first-personally authoritative self-ascriptions (e.g. ‘I think it will rain tomorrow’) to be understood as cases of self-knowledge? If so, how are we to account for such knowledge? If not, what alternatives do we have for accounting for these self-ascriptions and the authority with which they are made? 

Does ‘I’ refer? If so, to what does it refer, and how does it manage to refer to it? 

How does the first person perspective differ from, and how is it related to, both the second and the third person perspectives? 

Readings will include selections from: Anscombe, Bar-On, McDowell, Moran, Rödl, Strawson, and Wittgenstein.


Meets with Jr/Sr section. Open only to intensive-track and philosophy majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2021-2022 Winter