It is widely believed that people have privileged and authoritative access to their own thoughts, and many theories have been proposed to explain this supposed fact. The Opacity of Mind challenges the consensus view and subjects the theories in question to critical scrutiny, while showing that they are not protected against the findings of cognitive science by belonging to a separate 'explanatory space'. The book argues that our access to our own thoughts is almost always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness (...) of our own circumstances and behavior, together with our own sensory imagery (including inner speech). In fact our access to our own thoughts is no different in principle from our access to the thoughts of other people, utilizing the conceptual and inferential resources of the same 'mindreading' faculty, and relying on many of the same sources of evidence. Peter Carruthers proposes and defends the Interpretive Sensory-Access (ISA) theory of self-knowledge. This is supported through comprehensive examination of many different types of evidence from across cognitive science, integrating a diverse set of findings into a single well-articulated theory. One outcome is that there are hardly any kinds of conscious thought. Another is that there is no such thing as conscious agency. Written with Carruthers' usual clarity and directness, this book will be essential reading for philosophers interested in self-knowledge, consciousness, and related areas of philosophy. It will also be of vital interest to cognitive scientists, since it casts the existing data in a new theoretical light. Moreover, the ISA theory makes many new predictions while also suggesting constraints and controls that should be placed on future experimental investigations of self-knowledge. (shrink)
People in the ancient world thought of vision as both an ethical tool and a tactile sense, akin to touch. Gazing upon someone—or oneself—was treated as a path to philosophical self-knowledge, but the question of tactility introduced an erotic element as well. In The Mirror of the Self , Shadi Bartsch asserts that these links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge are key to the classical understanding of the self. Weaving together literary theory, philosophy, and social history, Bartsch traces this (...) complex notion of self from Plato’s Greece to Seneca’s Rome. She starts by showing how ancient authors envisioned the mirror as both a tool for ethical self-improvement and, paradoxically, a sign of erotic self-indulgence. Her reading of the Phaedrus , for example, demonstrates that the mirroring gaze in Plato, because of its sexual possibilities, could not be adopted by Roman philosophers and their students. Bartsch goes on to examine the Roman treatment of the ethical and sexual gaze, and she traces how self-knowledge, the philosopher’s body, and the performance of virtue all played a role in shaping the Roman understanding of the nature of selfhood. Culminating in a profoundly original reading of Medea , The Mirror of the Self illustrates how Seneca, in his Stoic quest for self-knowledge, embodies the Roman view, marking a new point in human thought about self-perception. Bartsch leads readers on a journey that unveils divided selves, moral hypocrisy, and lustful Stoics—and offers fresh insights about seminal works. At once sexy and philosophical, The Mirror of the Self will be required reading for classicists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike. (shrink)
Holding content explicitly requires a form of self knowledge. But what does the relevant self knowledge look like? Using theory of mind as an example, this paper argues that the correct answer to this question will have to take into account the crucial role of language based deliberation, but warns against the standard assumption that explicitness is necessary for ascribing awareness. It argues in line with Bayne that intentional action is at least an equally valid criterion for awareness. This (...) leads to a distinction between different levels of implicitness. Postulating these different levels, it is argued, allows us to make better sense of the empirical literature on early false belief task abilities. (shrink)
Some sociological theories yield self-subverting or 'dangerous' knowledge. The functionalist theory of social deviance provides a case in point. The theory, first formulated by Durkheim, maintains that ostensibly anti-social deviants perform a number of socially indispensable functions. But what would happen if everyone knew this? They would cease to regard deviants as malefactors and would indeed come to esteem them as public benefactors. In that case, however, deviants could no longer perform their proper function. If they are to (...) play the part assigned to them by the theory, most people must remain unaware of their 'true' role in the drama of social life. This gives rise to the paradox of dangerous knowledge: The theory can be true only if its truths are not widely known; widespread ignorance is the precondition of its truth. But then, if its truths must not be publicly known, the theory is a piece of esoterica, not of science. I conclude by considering, and rejecting, several possible solutions to the 'dangerous knowledge' paradox. (shrink)
The problem of self-knowledge is one of the most fascinating in all of philosophy and has crucial significance for the philosophy of mind and epistemology. Gertler assesses the leading theoretical approaches to self-knowledge, explaining the work of many of the key figures in the field: from Descartes and Kant, through to Bertrand Russell and Gareth Evans, as well as recent work by Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, William Lycan and Sydney Shoemaker. -/- Beginning with an outline of the distinction between self-knowledge (...) and self-awareness and providing essential historical background to the problem, Gertler addresses specific theories of self-knowledge such as the acquaintance theory, the inner sense theory, and the rationalist theory, as well as leading accounts of self-awareness. The book concludes with a critical explication of the dispute between empiricist and rationalist approaches. (shrink)
According to Uriah Kriegel’s self-representational theory of consciousness, mental state M is conscious just in case it is a complex with suitably integrated proper parts, M1 and M2, such that M1 is a higher-order representation of lower-order representation M2. Kriegel claims that M thereby “indirectly” represents itself, and he attempts to motivate this claim by appealing to what he regards as intuitive cases of indirect perceptual and pictorial representation. For example, Kriegel claims that it’s natural to say that in (...) directly perceiving the front surface of an apple one thereby perceives the apple itself. Cases such as this are supposed to provide intuitive support for the principle that if X represents Y, and Y is highly integrated into complex object Z, then X indirectly represents Z. In this paper I provide counterexamples to Kriegel’s principle of indirect representation, before going on to argue that we can explain what is going on in those cases in which the subject seems to represent a complex whole by representing one its parts without positing indirect representations anyway. I then argue that my alternative approach is superior to Kriegel’s in a number of ways, thereby rendering his theory of consciousness implausible. (shrink)
"Self-knowledge" is commonly used in philosophy to refer to knowledge of one's particular mental states, including one's beliefs, desires, and sensations. It is also sometimes used to refer to knowledge about a persisting self -- its ontological nature, identity conditions, or character traits. At least since Descartes, most philosophers have believed that self-knowledge is importantly different from knowledge of the world external to oneself, including others' thoughts. But there is little agreement about what precisely distinguishes self-knowledge from knowledge in other (...) realms. Partially because of this disagreement, philosophers have endorsed competing accounts of how we acquire self-knowledge. These accounts have important consequences for the scope of mental content, for mental ontology, and for personal identity. (shrink)
Having entered into the problem structuring methods, system dynamics (SD) is an approach, among systems’ methodologies, which claims to recognize the main structures of socio-economic behaviors. However, the concern for building or discovering strong philosophical underpinnings of SD, undoubtedly playing an important role in the modeling process, is a long-standing issue, in a way that there is a considerable debate about the assumptions or the philosophical foundations of it. In this paper, with a new perspective, we have explored theory (...) of knowledge in SD models and found strange similarities between classic epistemological concepts such as justification and truth, and the mechanism of obtaining knowledge in SD models. In this regard, we have discussed related theories of epistemology and based on this analysis, have suggested some implications for moderating common problems in the modeling process of SD. Furthermore, this research could be considered a reword of system dynamics modeling principles in terms of theory of knowledge. (shrink)
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes (...) that external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problem of the criterion, a priori knowledge, and naturalized epistemology. Intended primarily for students taking a first class in epistemology, this lucid (...) and well-written text would also provide an excellent introduction for anyone interested in knowing more about this important area of philosophy. (shrink)
First published in 1984 as part of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell , Theory of Knowledge represents an important addition to our knowledge of Russell's thought. In this work Russell attempts to flesh out the sketch implicit in The Problems of Philosophy . It was conceived by Russell as his next major project after Principia Mathematica and was intended to provide the epistemological foundations for his work. Russell's subsequent difficulties in presenting his theory of knowledge, brought on (...) by what he considered to be devastating criticisms of Wittgenstein, led to both his abandonment of this work and to a major transformation in his thought. Theory of Knowledge , now available for the first time in paperback, gives us a picture of one of the great minds of the twentieth century at work. It is possible to see the unsolved problems left without disguise or evasion. This second edition has retained the full scholarly introduction. The photographs of the manuscript, appendices, and notes on textual matters have been eliminated to provide a concise and accessible guide to understanding both Russell's own thought and his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge guides the reader through the key issues and debates in contemporary epistemology. Lucid, comprehensive and accessible, it is an ideal textbook for students who are new to the subject and for university undergraduates. The book is divided into five parts. Part I discusses the concept of knowledge and distinguishes between different types of knowledge. Part II surveys the sources of knowledge, considering both a priori and a posteriori knowledge. Parts III and IV (...) provide an in-depth discussion of justification and scepticism. The final part of the book examines our alleged knowledge of the past, other minds, morality and God. O'Brien uses engaging examples throughout the book, taking many from literature and the cinema. He explains complex issues, such as those concerning the private language argument, non-conceptual content, and the new riddle of induction, in a clear and accessible way. This textbook is an invaluable guide to contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
Can we know anything for certain? There are those who think we can (traditionally labeled the "dogmatists") and those who think we cannot (traditionally labeled the "skeptics"). The theory of knowledge, or epistemology, is the great debate between the two. This book is an introductory and historically-based survey of the debate. It sides for the most part with the skeptics. It also develops out of skepticism a third view, fallibilism or critical rationalism, which incorporates an uncompromising realism about perception, (...) science, and the nature of truth. (shrink)
This book is an accessible introduction to contemporary epistemology, the theory of knowledge. It introduces traditional topics in epistemology within the context of contemporary debates about the definition, sources, and limits of human knowledge. Rich in examples and written in an engaging style, it explains the field while avoiding technical detail. It relates epistemology to work in cognitive science and defends a plausible version of explanationism regarding epistemological method.
Developed in collaboration with the International Baccalaureate Organization, Oxford's Course Companions provide extra support for students taking IB Diploma Programme courses. They present a whole-course approach with a wide range of resources, and encourage a deep understanding of each subject by making connections to wider issues and providing opportunites for critical thinking. This companion stimulates students to think about learning and knowledge from their own and from others' perspectives in a way that crosses disciplines and cultures. It encourages reflection, discussion, (...) critical thinking, and awareness or the ways in which knowledge is constructed, and will students to recognize the implications of knowledge for issues of global concern. Places students at the center of the course, with lively material providing opportunities for questioning, discussion, and interaction Invites students to add their own voices to those in the book, which include students, teachers, and professionals in various areas of knowledge Encourages students to frame their own perspectives with international awareness and recognition of the impact of knowledge on the world Contains guidance for current assessment, with support for the Theory of Knowledge essay and class presentation Written by experienced teachers, authors, and examiners, including recent deputy and chief examiners of Theory of Knowledge. (shrink)
A brief historical comment on scientific knowledge as Socratic ignorance -- Some critical comments on the text of this book, particularly on the theory of truth Exposition  -- Problem of Induction (Experience and Hypothesis) -- Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge -- Formulation of the Problem -- The problem of induction and the problem of demarcation -- Deductivtsm and Inductivism -- Comments on how the solutions are reached and preliminary presentation of the solutions -- Rationalism (...) and empiricism-deductivism and inductivism -- The possibility of a deductivist psychology of knowledge -- The Problem of Induction -- The infinite regression (Hume's argument) --The inductivist positions -- The Normal-Statement Positions -- The normal-statement positions: naive inductivism, strict positivism and apriorism -- Critique of strict positivism - twofold transcendence of natural laws -- The transcendental method - presentation of apriorism -- Critique of apriorism -- Kant and Fries -- Supplement to the critique of apriorism. (Psychologism and transcendentalism in Kant and Fries.-On the question of the empirical basis.) -- Probability Positions -- The probability positions - subjective belief in probability -- Statements about the objective probability of events -- Probability as an objective degree of validity of universal empirical statements -- One way of more closely defining the concept of the probability of a hypothesis (primary and secondary probability of hypotheses). The concept of simplicity -- The concept of the corroboration of a hypothesis - positivist, pragmatist and probabilistic interpretations of the concept of corroboration -- The infinite regression of probability statements -- Pseudo-Statement Positions -- The pseudo-statement positions: new formulation of the problem -- Natural laws as "instructions for the formation of statements" -- "True - false" or "useful - useless"? Consistent pragmatism --Difficulties of consistent pragmatism -- Tool and schema as purely pragmatic constructs -- Natural laws as propositional functions -- Conventionalism -- The pseudo-statement positions will temporarily be put away: conventionalism -- The three interpretations of axiomatic systems. (The circle of problems surrounding conventionalism) -- Conventionalist implicit and explicit definitions Propositional function and propositional equation -- Conventionalist propositional equations as tautological general implications -- Can axiomatic-deductive systems also be understood as consequence classes of pure propositional functions (of pseudo-statements)? -- The coordinative definitions of empiricism: synthetic general implications -- Conventionalist and empiricist interpretations, illustrated by the example of applied geometry -- Strictly Universal Statements and Singular Statements -- Implication and general implication -- General implication and the distinction between strictly universal and singular statements -- Universal concept and individual concept-class and element -- Strictly universal statements-the problem of induction and the problem of universals -- Comments on the problem of universals -- Back to the Pseudo-Statement Positions -- Return to the discussion of the pseudo-statement positions -- Symmetry or asymmetry in the evaluation of natural laws? -- The negative evaluation of universal statements. Critique of the strictly symmetrical interpretation of pseudo-statements -- An infinite regression of pseudo-statements -- An apriorist pseudo-statement position -- Interpretation of the critique up to this point; comments on the unity of theory and practice -- A last chance for the pseudo-statement positions -- Pseudo-Statement Positions and the Concept of Meaning -- The concept of meaning and logical positivism -- The concept of meaning and the demarcation problem-the fundamental thesis of inductivism -- Critique of the inductivist dogma of meaning -- Fully decidable and partially decidable empirical statements-the antinomy of the knowability of the world. (Conclusion of the critique of the pseudo-statement positions.) -- The dialectical and the transcendental corroboration of the solution -- Is the problem of induction solved? (shrink)
This comprehensive and accessible book is designed for use by students following the Theory of Knowledge course in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. The book is also useful for students following other critical thinking courses. The fundamental question in Theory of Knowledge is 'How do you know? In exploring this question, the author encourages critical thinking across a range of subject areas and helps students to ask relevant questions, use language with care and precision, support ideas with (...) evidence, argue coherently and make sound judgements. All chapters include the following features: - preliminary quotations to prompt critical thinking - questions and exercises to encourage students to actively engage with the material - reading resources to explore some of the topics in greater depth - illustrations to support the text Richard van de Lagemaat has more than 20 years' experience in international education. (shrink)
Translated by the noted classical scholar Francis M. Cornford, this edition of two masterpieces of Plato's later period features extensive ongoing commentaries by Cornford that provide helpful background information and valuable insights. The Theatetus offers a systematic treatment of the question, "What is knowledge?" with most of the dialogue taking place between Socrates and the student Theatetus. Among the answers they explore: knowledge as perception; knowledge as true belief; knowledge as true belief plus an account (i.e., a justified true belief); (...) as well as variations on each of these answers. The Sophist, a related dialogue, follows Socrates' cross-examination of a self-proclaimed true philosopher, the Stranger from Elea, on the distinction between philosophers, statesmen, and sophists. (shrink)
Philosophy as Fiction seeks to account for the peculiar power of philosophical literature by taking as its case study the paradigmatic generic hybrid of the twentieth century, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. At once philosophical--in that it presents claims, and even deploys arguments concerning such traditionally philosophical issues as knowledge, self-deception, selfhood, love, friendship, and art--and literary, in that its situations are imaginary and its stylization inescapably prominent, Proust's novel presents us with a conundrum. How should it be (...) read? Can the two discursive structures co-exist, or must philosophy inevitably undermine literature (by sapping the narrative of its vitality) and literature undermine philosophy (by placing its claims in the mouth of an often unreliable narrator)? In the case of Proust at least, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only can a coherent, distinctive philosophical system be extracted from the Recherche, once the narrator's periodic waywardness is taken into account; not only does a powerfully original style pervade its every nook, overtly reinforcing some theories and covertly exemplifying others; but aspects of the philosophy also serve literary ends, contributing more to character than to conceptual framework. What is more, aspects of the aesthetics serve philosophical ends, enabling a reader to engage in an active manner with an alternative art of living. Unlike the "essay" Proust might have written, his novel grants us the opportunity to use it as a practice ground for cooperation among our faculties, for the careful sifting of memories, for the complex procedures involved in self-fashioning, and for the related art of self-deception. It is only because the narrator's insights do not always add up--a weakness, so long as one treats the novel as a straightforward treatise--that it can produce its training effect, a feature that turns out to be its ultimate strength. (shrink)
Abstract In the contemporary literature on self-knowledge discussion is framed by and large by two competing models of self-knowledge: the observational (or perceptual) model and the constitutive model. On the observational model self-knowledge is the result of ?cognitively viewing? one's mental states. Constitutive theories of self-knowledge, on the other hand, hold that self-knowledge is constitutive of intentional states. That is, self-ascription is a necessary condition for being in a particular mental state. Akeel Bilgrami is a defender of the constitutive model. (...) I argue that the constitutive model gives rise to a regress problem. This paper will focus on that problem as well as its application to Bilgrami's version of the constitutive model. (shrink)
Rachael Briggs and Daniel Nolan attempt to improve on Nozick’s tracking theory of knowledge by providing a modified, dispositional tracking theory. The dispositional theory, however, faces more problems than those previously noted by John Turri. First, it is not simply that satisfaction of the theory’s conditions is unnecessary for knowledge – it is insufficient as well. Second, in one important respect, the dispositional theory is a step backwards relative to the original tracking theory: the (...) original but not the dispositional theory can avoid Gettier-style counterexamples. Future attempts to improve the tracking theory would be wise to bear these problems in mind. (shrink)
In this chapter I attempt to curb the pretensions of simulationism. I argue that it is, at best, an epistemological doctrine of limited scope. It may explain how we go about attributing beliefs and desires to others, and perhaps to ourselves, in some cases. But simulation cannot provide the fundamental basis of our conception of, or knowledge of, minded agency.
Sartre as guide -- Bad faith and sincerity -- The example of Stendhal -- Reflection and being like another -- Being natural -- The ubiquity of convention -- Being like another -- Authenticity and the democratic age -- Mimetism and equality -- Being oneself amid conventions -- Authenticity and the nature of the self -- Foundations of a theory of cognitive reflection -- Psychological interpretation -- The structure of cognitive self-reflection -- The self in cognitive reflection -- Representing and (...) reasoning -- A critique of autonomy -- Obligations and avowals -- A defense of first-person authority -- The persistence of the cartesian model -- The key to the mystery -- A final problem -- Ways of being oneself -- The domain of authenticity -- The instability of practical reflection -- Authenticity and conversion -- How to be virtuous -- The ends of reflection -- Reflection and its problems -- The self and time -- The importance of unexpected goods -- Socrates' mistake -- The limits of prudence -- Wisdom. (shrink)
This unusually innovative book treats reflexivity, not as a philosophical conundrum, but as a practical issue that arises in the course of scholarly research and argument. In order to demonstrate the concrete and consequential nature of reflexivity, Malcolm Ashmore concentrates on an area in which reflexive "problems" are acute: the sociology of scientific knowledge. At the forefront of recent radical changes in our understanding of science, this increasingly influential mode of analysis specializes in rigorous deconstructions of the research practices and (...) textual products of the scientific enterprise. Through a series of detailed examinations of the practices and products of the sociology of scientific knowledge, Ashmore turns its own claims and findings back onto itself and opens up a whole new era of exploration beyond the common fear of reflexive self-destruction. (shrink)
According to the majority of interpreters of Spinozist philosophy, his doctrine is independent of the modern notion of subjectivity. This study, however, shows that the theory of human knowledge presented in the Ethics can not be rightly understood without adding a certain concept of self-consciousness, and so must contain a theory of subjectivity. Moreover, this theory is reconstructed from Spinozist concepts: self-awareness is, for man, the manifestation of his conatus as a finite thinking unity existing in duration (...) . This reconstruction reveals that the doctrine of Spinoza provides a rather original modern notion of subjectivity, which is a modern alternative to the Cartesian one. (shrink)
Self-knowledge is based on several different forms of information, so distinct that each one essentially establishes a different 'self. The ecological self is the self as directly perceived with respect to the immediate physical environment; the interpersonal self, also directly perceived, is established by species-specific signals of emotional rapport and communication; the extended self is based on memory and anticipation; the private self appears when we discover that our conscious experiences are exclusively our own; the conceptual self or 'self-concept' draws (...) its meaning from a network of socially-based assumptions and theories about human nature in general and ourselves in particular. Although these selves are rarely experienced as distinct (because they are held together by specific forms of stimulus information), they differ in their developmental histories, in the accuracy with which we can know them, in the pathologies to which they are subject, and generally in what they contribute to human experience. (shrink)
While previous studies of Dewey's work have taken either a historical or topical focus, Shook offers an innovative, organic approach to understanding Dewey and eloquently shows that Dewey's instrumentalism grew seamlessly out of his idealism. He argues that most current scholarship operates under a mistaken impression of Dewey's early philosophical positions.
Harold Langsam has recently presented a novel observational account of self-knowledge. I critically discuss this account and argue that it fails to provide a uniform understanding of how we are able to know the contents of our own thoughts.
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Achievement (...) without achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)