Introspection as a Method and Introspection as a Feature of Consciousness

Inquiry 55 (1):1 - 16 (2012)
Abstract
Abstract If we take for granted that introspection is indispensable for the study of conscious mental states, the question arises what criteria have to be met in order for introspective reports to qualify as scientific evidence. There have been some attempts to argue (implicitly or explicitly) that it is possible to provide a satisfactory answer to this question while remaining agnostic with respect to questions about the nature of consciousness. Focusing on the aim of using introspection in order to generate phenomenological descriptions of conscious mental states, this paper argues that such an agnostic stance cannot be maintained, because the very meaning of ?introspection? remains fuzzy as long as we don't have a clear understanding of how the mind does it. I show that current debates revolve around some of the same issues that were already in the background of debates around 1900, and I argue that a satisfactory treatment of introspection as a method cannot be separated from the aim of providing a satisfactory treatment of introspection as a feature of consciousness
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