We rely on language to know the minds of others, but does language have a role to play in knowing our own minds? To suppose it does is to look for a connection between mastery of a language and the epistemic relation we bear to our inner lives. What could such a connection consist in? To explore this, I shall examine strategies for explaining self-knowledge in terms of the use we make of language to express and report (...) our mental states. Success in these strategies will depend on the view we take of speakers' understanding of the words they use to speak their minds. The key is to avoid circularity in the account of how they know what they mean; for if knowing what one is saying in speaking a language provides a means of knowing one's own mind, it cannot simply be a part of it. I shall look at ways in which we might proceed here, and examine whether the strategy can make room for a genuinely first-person point of view. But first let me try to motivate the problem of self-knowledge. (shrink)
Knowledge of one's own sensations, desires, intentions, thoughts, beliefs, and other attitudes is characteristically different from other kinds of knowledge: it has greater immediacy, authority, and salience. This volume offers a powerful and comprehensive look at current work on this topic, featuring closely interlinked essays by leading figures in the field that examine philosophical questions raised by the distinctive character of self-knowledge, relating it to knowledge of other minds, to rationality and agency, externalist theories of psychological content, and knowledge (...) of language. (shrink)
This is an anthology of ?fteen papers concerning various philosophical problems related to the topic of self-knowledge. All but one of the papers were previously unpublished, and all but two are descendants of presentations at a conference on self-knowledge held at the University of St Andrews in 1995. The collection.
In the author's words: "This book is an honest attempt to understand what it means to be educated in today's world." His argument is this: No matter how important science and technology seem to industry or government or indeed to the daily life of people, as a society we believe that those educated in literature, history, and other humanities are in some way better informed, more knowing, and somehow more worthy of the descriptor "well educated." This 19th-century conception of (...) the educated mind weighs heavily on our notions on how we educate our young. When we focus on intellectual and scholarly issues in high school as opposed to issues, such as communications, basic psychology, or child raising, we are continuing to rely on outdated notions of the educated mind that come from elitist notions of who is to be educated and what that means. To accommodate the realities of today's world it is necessary to change these elitist notions. We need to rethink what it means to be educated and begin to focus on a new conception of the very idea of education. Students need to learn how to think, not how to accomplish tasks, such as passing standardized tests and reciting rote facts. In this engaging book, Roger C. Schank sets forth the premises of his argument, cites its foundations in the Great Books themselves, and illustrates it with examples from an experimental curriculum that has been used in graduate schools and with K-12 students. Making Minds Less Well Educated Than Our Own is essential reading for scholars and students in the learning sciences, instructional design, curriculum theory and planning, educational policy, school reform, philosophy of education, higher education, and anyone interested in what it means to be educated in today's world. (shrink)
SHORT ABSTRACT: A number of accounts of the relationship between third-person mindreading and first-person metacognition are compared and evaluated. While three of these accounts endorse the existence of introspection for propositional attitudes, the fourth (defended here) claims that our knowledge of our own attitudes results from turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves. The different types of theory are developed and evaluated, and multiple lines of evidence are reviewed, including evolutionary and comparative data, evidence of confabulation when self-attributing attitudes, phenomenological evidence (...) of “unsymbolized thinking”, data from schizophrenia, and data from autism. (shrink)
Our Own Minds presents an account of the nature and development of self-consciousness. Bogdan describes the mind of the infant as outward looking, turning in on itself only at a relatively late stage of development. This it does as a response to the increasingly sophisticated sociocultural pressures it faces throughout infancy and early childhood. The book is difficult to follow (about which, more later) but the main line of argument is this: to begin with, infants are attuned to their (...) physical and sociocultural environment, employing an early form of intuitive psychology, a practical capacity to interact with conspecifics, referred to by Bogdan as 'naïve psychology' (129). However, infants are faced with a series of sociocultural tasks (109-12), the implementation of which requires them to develop various executive capacities (105-9) which 'install' a form of self-consciousness, dubbed by Bogdan 'extrovert self-consciousness' (99-100). The increasingly demanding nature of these sociocultural tasks has the consequence that, around the age of 4, intuitive psychology undergoes a shift, becoming 'commonsense psychology' (129-30). This enables children to represent others' propositional attitudes and to think 'offline' (129-30). These new abilities and associated executive capacities, in their turn, 'install' a new form of self-consciousness, 'introvert self-consciousness' (159). Whilst the child's intuitive psychology and self-consciousness continue to develop until adolescence (33), this is where the book's central argument ends. (shrink)
What is it to “know your own mind”? In ordinary English, this phrase connotes clear headed decisiveness and a firm resolve but in the language of contemporary philosophy, the indecisive and the susceptible can know their own minds just as well as anybody else. In the philosopher’s usage, “knowing your own mind” is just a matter of being able to produce a knowledgeable description of your mental state, whether it be a state of indecision, susceptibility or even confusion. (...) What exercises philosophers is the fact that people seem to produce these descriptions of their own mental lives without any pretence of considering evidence or reasons of any kind and yet these descriptions are treated by the rest of us as authoritative, at least in a wide range of cases. How can this be? (shrink)
Various researchers have suggested that below 7 years of age children do not recognize that they are the authority on knowledge about themselves, a suggestion that seems counter-intuitive because it raises the possibility that children do not appreciate their privileged first-person access to their own minds. Unlike previous research, children in the current investigation quantified knowledge and even 5-year-olds tended to assign relatively more to themselves than to an adult (Studies 1 and 2). Indeed, children's estimations were different from (...) ratings made by their mothers: Their mothers sometimes rated themselves as knowing more about their child than they rated their child as knowing (Study 2). While previous research seemed to suggest that children shift from viewing their mother to viewing themselves as the authority on knowledge about them (the children), these new findings surprisingly suggest the opposite. (shrink)
The notion of simulation in dreaming of threat recognition and avoidance faces difficulties deriving from (1) some typical characteristics of dream artifacts (some “surreal,” some not) and (2) metaphysical issues involving the need for some representation in the theory of a perspective subject making use of the artifact. [Hobson et al.; Revonsuo].
Researchers from the 1940's through the present have found that normal, sighted people can echolocate - that is, detect properties of silent objects by attending to sound reflected from them. We argue that echolocation is a normal part of our conscious, perceptual experience. Despite this, we argue that people are often grossly mistaken about their experience of echolocation. If so, echolocation provides a counterexample to the view that we cannot be seriously mistaken about our own current conscious experience.
An attractive semantic theory presented by Richard K. Larson and Peter Ludlow takes a report of propositional attitudes, e.g 'Tom believes Judy Garland sang', to report a believing relation between Tom and an interpreted logical form constructed from 'Judy Garland sang'. We briefly outline the semantic theory and indicate its attractions. However, the definition of interpreted logical forms given by Larson and Ludlow is shown to be faulty, and an alternative definition is offered which matches their intentions. This definition is (...) then shown to imply that Tom does not know his own mind, a result without intuitive support. A third definition is offered to deal with this problem. (shrink)
This paper addresses a problem about epistemic warrant. The problem is posed by philosophical arguments for externalism about the contents of thoughts, and similarly by philosophical arguments for architecturalism about thinking, when these arguments are put together with a thesis of first person authority. In each case, first personal knowledge about our thoughts plus the kind of knowledge that is provided by a philosophical argument seem, together, to open an unacceptably ‘non-empirical’ route to knowledge of empirical facts. Furthermore, this unwelcome (...) prospect of transferring a ‘non-empirical’ warrant from premises about our own mental states and about philosophical theory to a conclusion about external environment or internal architecture seems to depend upon little more than the possibility of knowledge by inference. (The use of the scare-quoted term ‘non-empirical’ is explained a couple of paragraphs further on.). (shrink)
Knowledge of one's own states of mind is one of the varieties of self-knowledge. Do any nonhuman animals have the capacity for this variety of self-knowledge? The question is open to empirical inquiry, which is most often conducted with primate subjects. Research with a bottlenose dolphin gives some evidence for the capacity in a nonprimate taxon. I describe the research and evaluate the metacognitive interpretation of the dolphin's behaviour. The research exhibits some of the difficulties attached to the task of (...) eliciting behaviour that both attracts a higher-order interpretation while also resisting deflationary, lower-order interpretations. Lloyd Morgan's Canon, which prohibits inflationary interpretations of animal behaviour, has influenced many animal psychologists. There is one defensible version of the Canon, the version that warns specifically against unnecessary intentional ascent. The Canon on this interpretation seems at first to tell against a metacognitive interpretation of the data collected in the dolphin study. However, the model of metacognition that is in play in the dolphin studies is a functional model, one that does not implicate intentional ascent. I explore some interpretations of the dolphin's behaviour as metacognitive, in this sense. While this species of metacognitive interpretation breaks the connection with the more familiar theory of mind research using animal subjects, the interpretation also points in an interesting way towards issues concerning consciousness in dolphins. (shrink)
J. David Velleman casts foreknowledge of one's own next move as psychologically active. As agents, we form prior intentions about what we will do next. Such prior intentions are licensed self-fulfilling beliefs or directive cognitions. These cognitions differ from ordinary predictions in their psychological relation to the evidence, in that they precede that crucial part of the evidence which consists in the fact that they have been formed. However, once formed, these cognitions are epistemologically unremarkable: they are directly justified by (...) evidence, which saliently includes the fact of their own existence. I argue that Velleman distorts both the epistemology and the etiology of self-knowing agency. Self-knowing agents typically know what they will do next non-evidentially, and yet their knowledge of their own next move is formed in response to their (perspective-relative) epistemic grounds. Velleman's account of self-knowing agency is doubly distortive because it ignores the role of the purely first-person point of view which typically characterizes such agency. In developing an alternative account of self-knowing agency, I argue that the kind of knowledge that we typically have of what we are about to do is like the kind of knowledge we have when we non-evidentially know what our own current, conscious propositional thoughts are. We can non-evidentially know what we think in virtue of having made up our minds what to think. Likewise, we can non-evidentially know what we are about to do in virtue of having settled on what to do next. (shrink)
The idea that introspection is transparent—that we know our minds by looking out to the world, not inwards towards some mental item—seems quite appealing when we think about belief. It seems that we know our beliefs by attending to their content; I know that I believe there is a café nearby by thinking about the streets near me, and not by thinking directly about my mind. Such an account is thought to have several advantages—for example, it is thought to (...) avoid the need to posit any extra mental faculties peculiar to introspection. In this paper I discuss recent attempts to extend this kind of outwards-looking account to our introspective knowledge of desire. According to these accounts, we know our desires by attending to what in the world we judge to be valuable. This, however, does not deal satisfactorily with cases where my value judgments and introspective knowledge of my desires come apart. I propose a better alternative for the proponent of transparency, but one that requires giving up on the supposed metaphysical advantages. (shrink)
Carruthers considers and rejects a mixed position according to which we have interpretative access to unconscious thoughts, but introspective access to conscious ones. I argue that this is too hasty. Given a two-level view of the mind, we can, and should, accept the mixed position, and we can do so without positing additional introspective mechanisms beyond those Carruthers already recognizes.
The idea that we have special access to our own mental states has a distinguished philosophical history. Philosophers as different as Descartes and Locke agreed that we know our own minds in a way that is quite different from the way in which we know other minds. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, this idea came under serious attack, first from philosophy (Sellars 1956) and more recently from developmental psychology.1 The attack from developmental psychology arises (...) from the growing body of work on. (shrink)
The idea that we have special access to our own mental states has a distinguished philosophical history. Philosophers as different as Descartes and Locke agreed that we know our own minds in a way that is quite different from the way in which we know other minds. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, this idea came under serious attack, first from philosophy (Sellars 1956) and more recently from developmental psychology.1 The attack from developmental psychology arises (...) from the growing body of work on “mindreading”, the process of attributing mental states to people (and other organisms). During the last 15 years, the processes underlying mindreading have been a major focus of attention in cognitive and developmental psychology. Most of this work has been concerned with the processes underlying the attribution of mental states to other people. However, a number of psychologists and philosophers have also proposed accounts of the mechanisms underlying the attribution of mental states to oneself. This process of reading one’s own mind or becoming self-aware will be our primary concern in this paper. (shrink)
Externalism in the philosophy of mind has been thought by many to pose a serious threat to the claim that subjects are in general authoritative with regard to certain of their own intentional states.<sup>1</sup> In a series of papers, Tyler Burge (1985_a_, 1985_b_, 1988, 1996) has argued that the distinctive entitlement or right that subjects have to self- knowledge in certain cases is compatible with externalism, since that entitlement is environmentally neutral, neutral with respect to the issue of the individuation (...) dependence of subjects' intentional states on factors beyond their bodies. His reason is that whereas externalism—the view that certain intentional states of persons are individuation-dependent on objects and/or phenomena external to their bodies—is a metaphysical thesis, authoritative self-knowledge is an epistemological matter. This being so, there is no reason to suppose that the two need conflict with one another. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested that Berkeley adheres to an empirical criterion of meaning, on which a term is meaningful just in case it signifies an idea (i.e., an immediate object of perceptual experience). This criterion is thought to underlie his rejection of the term ‘matter’ as meaningless. As is well known, Berkeley thinks that it is impossible to perceive matter. If one cannot perceive matter, then, per Berkeley, one can have no idea of it; if one can have no idea (...) of it, then one cannot speak meaningfully of it. But if this is Berkeley’s position, then there is a puzzle, because Berkeley also explicitly claims that it is impossible to perceive/have ideas of minds. So if he is relying on a criterion on which terms get their meaning by referring to ideas, then, just as Berkeley rejects talk of material substance, so, too, must he reject talk of mental substance. Famously, however, Berkeley insists that there is no parity between the cases of material and mental substance. It is typically suggested that the disparity between matter and minds rests on the fact that although one cannot strictly speaking perceive minds, nonetheless Berkeley thinks that one can have experiential access to minds via reflection, and that this access allows for meaningful talk of minds. Of course, one can only have reflective experience of one’s own mind. But what of other minds, which one cannot reflectively experience? Here the usual tactic is to suppose that, although one cannot have direct reflective experience of other minds, nonetheless one can indirectly experience such minds via analogy to our own minds, and that this indirect experience grounds the meaningfulness of talk of other minds. In this paper, I argue that the reasoning behind Berkeley’s ‘likeness principle,’ that an idea can only be like another idea, can be generalized to argue against this experience-based account of our access to other minds. I claim instead that Berkeley allows for the meaningfulness of talk of other minds by expanding the criterion of meaning in a different way. I argue that Berkeley holds a criterion of meaning on which a term is meaningful just in case it signifies either an object of experience or an object that one has reason to posit on the basis of experience, i.e., an object that is necessary to explain our experiences. When an object is neither experienced nor explains our experiences, then and only then is Berkeley willing to reject it as meaningless. Thus he writes of “the word matter,” that “it is no matter whether there is such a thing or no, since it no way concerns us: and I do not see the advantage there is in disputing about we know not what, and we know not why” (Principles, §77.) The word is not meaningless merely because we do not know what matter might be; it is meaningless because we also do not know why it should be. Correspondingly, I argue that the term ‘mind’ is meaningful because although we have no experience of minds, nonetheless they play an important role in explaining our experiences. (shrink)
Dennett argues that we can be mistaken about our own conscious experience. Despite this, he repeatedly asserts that we can or do have unchallengeable authority of some sort in our reports about that experience. This assertion takes three forms. First, Dennett compares our authority to the authority of an author over his fictional world. Unfortunately, that appears to involve denying that there are actual facts about experience that subjects may be truly or falsely reporting. Second, Dennett sometimes seems to say (...) that even though we may be mistaken about what our conscious experience is, our reports about. (shrink)
Roth claims that in constituting the sorts of events they want to connect, historians conceive matters that may not correlate with any inventory of elements eligible for admission by natural science. Given “the liabilities incurred by the very questions historians choose to ask,” the question of historical explanation is a problem of our own making. “Previous challenges to the epistemic legitimacy of historical explanations lose their point,” for no one can ask what kind of science or what kind of explanation (...) history is, since it is none! This is, unsurprisingly, an unacceptable outcome for me. A case can be made for intersubjective assertability of a historical interpretation and the contestation of it - however tentatively, fallibly, partially - without a complete collapse into the aesthetics of form or the politics of the formulator. The task of the philosophy of history is to work out the reconciliation of the performative with the constative in historical writing and in historical appraisal. (shrink)
This paper looks at the attribution of moral responsibility in the light of Kant's claim that the maxims of our actions should be universalizable. Assuming that it is often difficult for us to judge which actions satisfy this test, it suggests one way of translating Kantian morality into practice. Suppose that it is possible to read each action, via its maxim, as a communication addressed to the world: as an attempt to set the terms on which we should interact with (...) one another. The paper suggests that respect for the actor requires us to take this communication seriously. When we suppose that an action is wrong, we then have a powerful reason to dispute its message: to hold the actor responsible for her deed. Although we are often unreliable judges ‘in our own case’, our mutual attributions of responsibility show us judging together, what the moral law should mean in practice. (shrink)
Citizens of liberal, affluent societies are regularly encouraged to support reforms meant to improve conditions for badly-off people in the developing world. Our economic and political support is solicited for causes such as: banning child labor, implementing universal primary education, closing down sweatshops and brothels, etc. But what if the relevant populations or individuals in the developing world do not support these particular reforms or aid programs? What if they would strongly prefer other reforms and programs, or would rank the (...) various benefits that might be offered differently than seems reasonable to the Western, liberal supporters of these campaigns and organizations? What is the proper liberal response here? I argue that the proper liberal response is to support those programs and reforms that the global poor most value. The bulk of the paper is devoted to arguing against the popular liberal argument which states that we can safely disregard the preferences of the oppressed when they seem very unreasonable because these individuals suffer from “adaptive preferences.” This typically is taken to mean that their preferences are “not their own” in an important sense. I put forward various different proposals for why adaptive preferences can be safely dismissed, but ultimately argue that they are not persuasive. And if it is no longer legitimate to appeal to adaptive preferences as a basis for disregarding what oppressed people want, then I argue that to do so is straightforward paternalism, and so is unjustifiable in all but the most extreme cases. Finally, I argue for the following concrete recommendations: Given that resources are not infinite, we should (1) Support programs that give oppressed people increased access to information, such as access to technology, (2) support those reforms and aid programs that the oppressed themselves regard as most important, with special emphasis on those opportunities for education that they deem valuable, and (3) refrain from supporting coercive policies intended to thwart adaptive preferences. (shrink)
Children have a spontaneous interest in the world around them - whether the workings of the earth, sun, and stars, the nature of number, time and space, or the functioning of the body. Yet what is there in children's minds that is the key to their knowledge? This book examines what children can and do know, based on extensive studies from a range of different cultures. Topics include 'theory of mind' - the knowledge that others may have beliefs that (...) differ from one's own and from reality, astronomy and geography, food, health and hygiene, processes of life and death, number and arithmetic, as well as autism and brain research on language and attention. -/- Since what children say and do may not really reflect the depth of their knowledge of the world around them, our goal should be to discover new methods to accurately test children's knowledge, instead of trying to understand the range of failing answers they might give on the many tests that have been devised to determine what they know. Contrary to earlier studies, it is now established that in many areas considerable knowledge is within the grasp of young children with benefits for their later development. For example, although certain number concepts - in particular, fractions, proportions, and infinity - can be difficult to grasp, children generally do not need to undergo a fundamental change in their thinking and reasoning to master these. What the author of this book proposes is that children often display a capacity for understanding that we simply overlook. -/- Written by a renowned developmental psychologist, this book presents a fascinating exploration of children minds, and how we can better understand them. -/- For more information and video clip, please visit: http://alacode.psico.units.it/index.html. (shrink)
What is involved in the consciousness of a conscious, "occurrent" propositional attitude, such as a thought, a sudden conjecture or a conscious decision? And what is the relation of such consciousness to attention? I hope the intrinsic interest of these questions provides sufficient motivation to allow me to start by addressing them. We will not have a full understanding either of consciousness in general, nor of attention in general, until we have answers to these questions. I think there are constitutive (...) features of these states which can be identified by broadly philosophical investigation, and in the early part of this paper I will try to do some of that identification. -/- Beyond the intrinsic interest of the topic, the nature of such conscious attitudes is highly pertinent to a philosophical account of psychological self-knowledge. So I will also say something about the significance of the constitutive features of these conscious attitudes for a philosophical account of how it can be that a thinker has a distinctive kind of knowledge of some of his mental states. The general challenge in this area is to find anything intermediate between the unexceptionable but uninformative, on the one hand, and the absolutely unbelievable on the other. (shrink)
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? (shrink)
You are, I suspect, exceedingly good at knowing what you intend to do. In saying this I pay you no special compliment. Knowing what one intends is the normal state to be in. And this cries out for some explanation. How is it that we are so authoritative about our own intentions? There are two different approaches that one can take in answering this question. The first credits us with special perceptual powers which we use when we examine (...) our own minds. On this view we detect our own mental states in much the same way that we detect the state of the world around us; but the powers we direct inward are much less prone t o error than those we direct outwards. The alternative approach denies that there is such a thing as inward perception. On this view the whole idea the we detect our own mental states using some kind of internal perceptual apparatus is misguided; a wholly different account is needed. (shrink)
Idealism is an ontological view, a view about what sorts of things there are in the universe. Idealism holds that what there is depends on our own mental structure and activity. Berkeley of course held that everything was mental; Kant held the more complex view that there was an important distinction between the mental and the physical, but that the structure of the empirical world depended on the activities of minds. Despite radical differences, idealists like Berkeley and Kant share (...) what Ralph Barton Perry called "the cardinal principle of idealism," namely, the principle that "being is dependent on the knowing of it."1 I believe that Hilary Putnam intends his "internal realism" to be a version of idealism in this broad sense; although many of his arguments concern semantic notions like truth and reference, he takes these semantic arguments to have ontological consequences. This is strongly suggested, for instance, by his claim that "'objects' themselves are as much made as discovered, as much products of our conceptual invention as of the 'objective' factor in experience."2 Or again there is this rather Kantian metaphor: "the mind and the world jointly make up the mind and the world."3 But just what is Putnam's ontology? (shrink)
How do I know whether there are any minds beside my own? This problem of other minds in philosophy raises questions which are at the heart of all philosophical investigations--how it is that we know, what is in the mind, and whether we can be certain about any of our beliefs. In this book, Anita Avramides begins with a historical overview of the problem from the Ancient Skeptics to Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, Reid, and Wittgenstein. The second part (...) of the book investigates the views of influential contemporary philosophers such as Strawson, Davidson, Nagel and Searle. (shrink)
Although we never made time to talk it out thoroughly, Margaret Wilson and I shared an interest in, and enthusiasm for, the tenth chapter in Locke’s Essay IV, entitled ‘Of Our Knowledge of the Existence of a GOD.’ In the present paper, written in sad tribute to her work and her person, I shall expound that deep, subtle, intricate, flawed chapter. While I shall evaluate its arguments as I go, I chiefly aim just to make clear what happens in those (...) nineteen sections, which I shall refer to by their numbers alone. They aim to show that ‘we are capable of knowing . . . that there is a GOD’ by cogently inferring this from secure premises. A god is any being that is ‘eternal, most powerful, and most knowing;’ given such a being, Locke adds laconically, ‘it matters not’ whether we call it God. This line of argument will be my topic in sections B through E. Two subsidiary themes in the chapter concern matter. One is this: given that there is a god, is it (or he) material or immaterial? Although he argues at length for God’s immateriality, Locke remarks in 13 that this in itself is of little moment. Someone with an otherwise correct theology is in good shape even if he wrongly thinks God to be made of matter - except, Locke adds, for a risk that he runs. Philosophers who are ‘devoted to matter,’ if they think God to be material, will comfortably conclude that everything is matter and will then ‘let slide out of their minds’ their theology, i.e. their view that the material world includes ‘an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent being.’ Section 13 also argues that if the materialists do thus drift into atheism, ‘they destroy their own [materialist] hypothesis.’ This is too clever by half; it is neither well done nor instructive, and I shall not expound it. Some of the Chapter’s richest treasures concern God’s immateriality.. (shrink)
How do you know your own beliefs? And how well do you know them? The two questions are related. I’ll recommend a pluralist answer to the first question. The answer to the second question, I’ll suggest, varies depending on features of the case.
Explaining the mind by building machines with minds runs into the other-minds problem: How can we tell whether any body other than our own has a mind when the only way to know is by being the other body? In practice we all use some form of Turing Test: If it can do everything a body with a mind can do such that we can't tell them apart, we have no basis for doubting it has a mind. But (...) what is "everything" a body with a mind can do? Turing's original "pen-pal" version (the TT) only tested linguistic capacity, but Searle has shown that a mindless symbol-manipulator could pass the TT undetected. The Total Turing Test (TTT) calls for all of our linguistic and robotic capacities; immune to Searle's argument, it suggests how to ground a symbol manipulating system in the capacity to pick out the objects its symbols refer to. No Turing Test, however, can guarantee that a body has a mind. Worse, nothing in the explanation of its successful performance requires a model to have a mind at all. Minds are hence very different from the unobservables of physics (e.g., superstrings); and Turing Testing, though essential for machine-modeling the mind, can really only yield an explanation of the body. (shrink)
This chapter argues that the conceptual problem of other minds cannot be properly addressed as long as we subscribe to an individualistic model of how we stand in relation to our own experiences and the behaviour of others. For it is commitment to this picture that sponsors the strong first/third person divide that lies at the heart of the two false accounts of experiential concept learning sketched above. This is the true source of the problem. To deal successfully with (...) it we must reconsider our assumptions about the way in which we learn our concepts of experience, self and other, and the order in which we do so. Specifically, we must recognize the intersubjective character of the learning process and we must abandon the idea that we gain a secure grasp of the self/other dichotomy prior to learning our concepts of experience. Focusing on these issues allows us to understand the asymmetrical nature of such concepts. In order to bring these points into sharp relief, the next section is devoted to reviewing the major features of Brewer’s approach to the very same problem in his contribution to this volume, ‘Emotion and Other Minds’. Although his proposal makes some moves in the right direction, I argue that he does not go far enough. In particular, in focusing exclusively on demonstrative reference, he fails to challenge crucial aspects of the individualistic model that are responsible for generating the problem. Still, using his work as a springboard, it becomes clear exactly which fundamental assumptions need to be revised if we are to understand the context in which we learn our psychological concepts. (shrink)
It has often been claimed that ourbelieving some proposition is dependent uponour not being committed to a non-epistemicexplanation of why we believe that proposition.Very roughly, I cannot believe that p andalso accept a non-epistemic explanation of mybelieving that p. Those who have assertedsuch a claim have drawn from it a range ofimplications: doxastic involuntarism, theunacceptability of Humean naturalism, doxasticfreedom, restrictions upon the effectiveness ofpractical (Pascalian) arguments, as well asothers. If any of these implications are right,then we would do well to (...) have a precisestatement of the nature of this phenomenoncentral to first-person doxastic explanations,as well as of our reasons for believing that itholds. Both of these are lacking in theliterature. This paper is an attempt toelucidate and defend this claim. (shrink)
Storrs McCall appeals to a particular true but improvable sentence of formal arithmetic to argue, by appeal to its irrefutability, that human minds transcend Turing machines. Metamathematical oversights in McCall's discussion of the Godel phenomena, however, render invalid his philosophical argument for this transcendentalist conclusion.
My professional interest originally focused on curriculum planning and development, but for the last 30 years I have been researching, publishing and teaching in the field of human rights education. Suddenly, I became a human rights educator. Suddenly? No, nothing in our personal and professional life is the result of an abrupt occurrence. We are subjects of a particular history, a succession of events and narratives, located in time, space and circumstances. I constructed myself, consciously or unconsciously, as a human (...) rights educator as a consequence of many personal factors. Being the son of the first Rabbi in Chile, I felt, at a very early age, that I was different and suffered from discriminatory behaviour, prejudice and intolerance. In addition, I started to learn about the Holocaust. I lived in a poor neighbourhood and poverty had a profound impact on me. During the 1960s and 1970s many political changes took place in Chile. Severe human rights violations occurred, not only in Chile but also in the different contexts of many other Latin American countries. I became much more aware of, and sensitive to, human rights and their ethical implications. I decided to make use of my educational knowledge towards recovering democracy. I became a strong supporter of human rights education as an ethical and moral imperative throughout Latin America. (shrink)
It has been contended that we can never be truly responsible for anything we do: we do what we do because of the way we are, so we cannot be responsible for what we do unless we are responsible for the way we are; and we cannot be responsible for the way we are when we first make decisions in life, so we can never become responsible for the way we are later in life. This article argues that in our (...) consciously chosen actions we respond rationally to whole ‘gestalt’ experiences in ways that cannot be pre determined by pre choice circumstances and laws of nature and/or computational rules; and that this means we are partly responsible for what we do, even if we are not responsible for the way we are. (shrink)
Psychologists distinguish between intentional systems which have beliefs and those which are also able to attribute beliefs to others. The ability to do the latter is called having a `theory of mind', and many cognitive ethologists are hoping to find evidence for this ability in animal behaviour. I argue that Dennett's theory entails that any intentional system that interacts with another intentional system (such as vervet monkeys and chess-playing computers) has a theory of mind, which would make the distinction all (...) but meaningless. This entailment should not be accepted; instead, Dennett's position that intentional behaviour is best predictable via the intentional stance should be rejected in favour of a pluralistic view of behaviour prediction. I introduce an additional method which humans often use to predict intentional and non-intentional behaviour, which could be called the inductive stance. (shrink)
The best grounds for accepting contextualism concerning knowledge attributions are to be found in how knowledge-attributing (and knowledge-denying) sentences are used in ordinary, nonphilosophical talk: What ordinary speakers will count as “knowledge” in some non-philosophical contexts they will deny is such in others. Contextualists typically appeal to pairs of cases that forcefully display the variability in the epistemic standards that govern ordinary usage: A “low standards” case (henceforth, “LOW”) in which a speaker seems quite appropriately and truthfully to ascribe knowledge (...) to a subject will be paired with a “high standards” case (“HIGH”) in which another speaker in a quite different and more demanding context seems with equal propriety and truth to say that the same subject (or a similarly positioned subject) does not know. The contextualist argument based on such cases is driven by the premises that the positive attribution of knowledge in LOW is true, and that the denial of knowledge in HIGH is true. And where the contextualist has constructed HIGH and LOW wisely, those premises are in turn powerfully supported by the two mutually reinforcing strands of evidence that both of the claims intuitively seem true, and that both claims are perfectly appropriate. The resulting argument for contextualism is very powerful indeed, but I am on the offensive making that case in another paper: “The Ordinary Language Basis for Contextualism and the New Invariantism.”. (shrink)
Dorit Bar-On develops and defends a novel view of avowals and self-knowledge. Drawing on resources from the philosophy of language, the theory of action, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind, she offers original and systematic answers to many long-standing questions concerning our ability to know our own minds. We are all very good at telling what states of mind we are in at a given moment. When it comes to our own present states of mind, what we say goes; (...) an avowal such as "I'm feeling so anxious" or "I'm thinking about my next trip to Paris," it is typically supposed, tells it like it is. But why is that? Why should what I say about my present mental states carry so much more weight than what others say about them? Why should avowals be more immune to criticism and correction than other claims we make? And if avowals are not based on any evidence or observation, how could they possibly express our knowledge of our own present mental states? Bar-On proposes a Neo-Expressivist view according to which an avowal is an act through which a person directly expresses, rather than merely reports, the very mental condition that the avowal ascribes. She argues that this expressivist idea, coupled with an adequate characterization of expression and a proper separation of the semantics of avowals from their pragmatics and epistemology, explains the special status we assign to avowals. As against many expressivists and their critics, she maintains that such an expressivist explanation is consistent with a non-deflationary view of self-knowledge and a robust realism about mental states. The view that emerges preserves many insights of the most prominent contributors to the subject, while offering a new perspective on our special relationship to our own minds. (shrink)
On Being With Others is an outstanding and compelling work that uncovers one of the key questions in philosophy: how can we claim to have knowledge of minds other than our own? Simon Glendinning's fascinating analysis of this problem argues that it has polarized debate to such an extent that we do not know how to meet Wittgenstein's famous challenge that "to see the behavior of a living thing is to see its soul". This book sets out to (...) discover whether Wittgenstein's remark can be justified by drawing on both the analytic and continental traditions. (shrink)
In 2007 a social scientist and a designer created a spatial installation to communicate social science research about the regulation of emerging science and technology. The rationale behind the experiment was to improve scientific knowledge production by making the researcher sensitive to new forms of reactions and objections. Based on an account of the conceptual background to the installation and the way it was designed, the paper discusses the nature of the engagement enacted through the experiment. It is argued that (...) experimentation is a crucial way of making social science about science communication and engagement more robust. (shrink)