Introspection is the process through which
people (and possibly some animals) become aware of their own current mental
states like thoughts and sensory experiences. Statements like ‘I have a red
afterimage’, ‘I am thinking about which route to take’, ‘I feel a pain in my toe’,
are taken to be introspective reports that are the products of introspection.
Disagreement still looms large about whether introspective awareness is a
quasi-perceptual process or merely a conceptual affair, i.e. can we attend to
or even sense our mental states, or merely think about them. Given that introspection
often leads to knowledge about one’s mental states, many scholars are also
interested in the epistemic properties, e.g. incorrigibility, certainty,
reliability, of introspective reports. This category also hosts articles on
introspectionism, a doctrine which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th
century, and which considers introspection to be the primary scientific method
for investigating mental states and processes.