Teaching & learning guide for: The ins and outs of introspection

Philosophy Compass 3 (5):1100-1102 (2008)
Abstract
Philosophical interest in introspection has a long and storied history, but only recently – with the 'scientific turn' in philosophy of mind – have philosophers sought to ground their accounts of introspection in psychological data. In particular, there is growing awareness of how evidence from clinical and developmental psychology might be brought to bear on long-standing debates about the architecture of introspection, especially in the form of apparent dissociations between introspection and third-person mental-state attribution. It is less often noticed that this evidence needs to be interpreted with due sensitivity to distinctions between different types of introspection, for example, introspection of propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires) vs. introspection of phenomenally conscious states (pains, emotional feelings). As contemporary debates about the machinery of introspection – and debates about mindreading in general – move forward, these distinctions are likely to figure more prominently. Author Recommends: Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 22–38. Defends a sophisticated form of the theory-theory of introspection, according to which we come to know at least some of our mental states (e.g., propositional attitudes) by reasoning from an innate folk-psychological theory. Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 39–63. Introduces and defends the idea of introspection as 'displaced perception'. Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 223–57. Defends a version of the 'inner sense' view of introspection in which mental state types are classified via their neural properties, and mental contents are classified via 'redeployment'. Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1993): 1–14. A noted psychologist defends a version of the theory-theory of introspection, citing evidence of developmental symmetries between first-person and third-person mental-state attribution. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 53–67. Develops the idea of ascent routines – the rough analog of 'displaced perception' for the introspection of propositional attitudes. Uta Frith and Francesca Happé, 'Theory of Mind and Self-Consciousness: What Is It Like to Be Autistic?'Mind and Language 14 (1999): 1–14. Appeals to evidence from autism to motivate the idea that first-person and third-person mental-state attribution have a common basis. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding other Minds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 150–99. Presents a comprehensive critique of leading theories of introspection (especially the theory-theory), then introduces and defends the authors' preferred alternative, the 'monitoring mechanism' account. Jesse Prinz, 'The Fractionation of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2004): 40–57. Develops the idea that introspection admits of several varieties. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2004): 129–43. Defends a hybrid view of introspection for propositional attitudes, according to which both theoretic inference and monitoring play a role. Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Theory-theory Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1993): 1–14. Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 22–38. Week 2: Displaced perception and semantic ascent Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 39–63. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 53–67. Week 3: Monitoring theory Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding Other Minds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 150–99. Week 4: Hybrid approaches Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 223–57. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2004): 129–43. Focus Questions:1. What distinguishes 'inside access' from 'outside access' views of introspection?2. To what extent is the theory-theoretic approach to introspection wedded to the idea that first-person and third-person mindreading are mechanistically symmetric capacities?3. What reasons are there for distinguishing between different types of introspection, and why might those taxonomic distinctions matter for theory construction in this area?4. In what sense, if any, are personality traits introspectible?5. Debates about third-person mindreading have revolved around the relative merits of theory-theory and simulation theory, whereas debates about introspection have taken a slightly different focus. For example, no one has defended a simulation-theoretic account of introspection. Why might that be?
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