A constructivist picture of self-knowledge

Philosophy 71 (277):4-5 (1996)
How are we to account for the authority granted to first-person reports of mental states? What accounts for the immediacy of these self-ascriptions; the fact that they can be ascribed without appeal to evidence and without the need for justification? A traditional, Cartesian conception of the mind, which says that our thoughts are presented to us directly, completely, and without distortion upon mere internal inspection, would account for these facts, but there is good reason to doubt the cogency of the Cartesian view. Wittgenstein, in his later writings, offered some of the most potent considerations against the traditional view, and contemporary philosophy of mind is practically unanimous in rejecting some of the metaphysical aspects of Cartesianism. But anyone who repudiates Cartesianism shoulders the burden of finding another way to accommodate its apparent epistemological strengths
Keywords Argument  Cartesianism  Epistemology  Self-knowledge  Wittgenstein  Wright, C
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100041668
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