About this topic
Summary

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.

Key works

The topic of introspection has a long tradition in philosophy: Locke 1700 and Kant 1991 are considered important forerunners of the inner-sense account of introspection which has been argued for in greater detail by Armstrong 1968 and Lycan 1996. Shoemaker 1994 has criticized the inner-sense account in a series of articles, whereas Dretske 1995 and Tye 2000 have proposed influential transparency-based accounts of introspection of sensory states, highlighting the importance of drawing an appearance-reality distinction in introspective reports. Other important views include self-monitoring accounts by Alvin 2006 and Nichols & Stich 2003, and self-fulfillment theories, e.g. Burge 1988.

Introductions Schwitzgebel 2010 and Gertler 2015 provide highly accessible introductions to the topic. Gertler 2003 and Smithies & Stoljar 2012 are useful collections of articles on introspection and self-knowledge.
  Show all references
Related categories
Siblings:See also:
412 found
Search inside:
(import / add options)   Order:
1 — 50 / 412
  1. William Y. Adams, Introspectionism Reconsidered.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  2. Timothy Allen & Joshua May (2014). Does Opacity Undermine Privileged Access? International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):617-629.
    Carruthers argues that knowledge of our own propositional attitudes is achieved by the same mechanism used to attain knowledge of other people's minds. This seems incompatible with "privileged access"---the idea that we have more reliable beliefs about our own mental states, regardless of the mechanism. At one point Carruthers seems to suggest he may be able to maintain privileged access, because we have additional sensory information in our own case. We raise a number of worries for this suggestion, concluding that (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  3. I. An (2001). Introspective Misidentification. In Andrew Brook & R. DeVidi (eds.), Self-Reference and Self-Awareness. John Benjamins. pp. 30--205.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  4. Rudi Anders (2016). Is Objectivity Possible?: Can Introspection Help? Australian Humanist, The 120:17.
    Anders, Rudi Mathematics is objective and unambiguous, but as soon as mathematics is applied to anything in the human world, human values complicate the issues. Two apples for two people equals one apple for each person, but compassion for a starving person, or other human values, can alter the outcome.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  5. Daniel E. Anderson (1965). Introspection. Southern Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):115-121.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  6. Santiago Arango-Muñoz (2014). Metacognitive Feelings, Self-Ascriptions and Metal Actions. Philosophical Inquiries 2 (1):145-162.
    The main aim of this paper is to clarify the relation between epistemic feel- ings, mental action, and self-ascription. Acting mentally and/or thinking about one’s mental states are two possible outcomes of epistemic or metacognitive feelings. Our men- tal actions are often guided by our E-feelings, such as when we check what we just saw based on a feeling of visual uncertainty; but thought about our own perceptual states and capacities can also be triggered by the same E-feelings. The first (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  7. D. M. Armstrong (1963). Is Introspective Knowledge Incorrigible? Philosophical Review 72 (4):417.
  8. Denis G. Arnold (1997). Introspection and its Objects. Journal of Philosophical Research 22 (April):87-94.
    Traditionally conceived, introspection is a form of nonsensuous perception that allows the mind to scrutinize at least some of its own states while it is experiencing them. The traditional account of introspection has been in disrepute ever since Ryle argued that the very idea of introspection is a logical muddle. Recent critics such as William Lyons, John Searle, and Sydney Shoemaker argue that this disrepute is well-deserved. Three distinct objections to the traditional account of introspection are considered and rejected. It (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  9. George F. Arps (1912). Introspective Analysis of Certain Tactual Phenomena. Psychological Review 19 (5):337-351.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  10. Bruce Aune (1963). Feelings, Moods, and Introspection. Mind 72 (April):187-208.
  11. Murat Aydede, Is the Experience of Pain Transparent? Introspecting Phenomenal Qualities.
    I distinguish between two claims of transparency of experiences. One claim is weaker and supported by phenomenological evidence. This I call the Transparency Datum. Introspection of standard perceptual experiences as well as bodily sensations is consistent with, indeed supported by, the Transparency Datum. I formulate a stronger transparency thesis that is entailed by (strong) representationalism about experiential phenomenology. I point out some empirical consequences of strong transparency in the context of representationalism. I argue that pain experiences, as well as some (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  12. Murat Aydede (ed.) (2005). Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. MIT Press.
    What does feeling a sharp pain in one's hand have in common with seeing a red apple on the table? Some say not much, apart from the fact that they are both conscious experiences. To see an object is to perceive an extramental reality -- in this case, a red apple. To feel a pain, by contrast, is to undergo a conscious experience that doesn't necessarily relate the subject to an objective reality. Perceptualists, however, dispute this. They say that both (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   14 citations  
  13. Murat Aydede (2003). Is Introspection Inferential? In Brie Gertler (ed.), Privileged Access: Philosophical Accounts of Self-Knowledge. Ashgate.
    I introduce the Displaced Perception Model of Introspection developed by Dretske which treats introspection of phenomenal states as inferential and criticize it.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   3 citations  
  14. Murat Aydede (2001). Naturalism, Introspection, and Direct Realism About Pain. Consciousness and Emotion 2 (1):29-73.
    This paper examines pain states (and other intransitive bodily sensations) from the perspective of the problems they pose for pure informational/representational approaches to naturalizing qualia. I start with a comprehensive critical and quasi-historical discussion of so-called Perceptual Theories of Pain (e.g., Armstrong, Pitcher), as these were the natural predecessors of the more modern direct realist views. I describe the theoretical backdrop (indirect realism, sense-data theories) against which the perceptual theories were developed. The conclusion drawn is that pure representationalism about pain (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   8 citations  
  15. Murat Aydede & Guven Guzeldere (2005). Concepts, Introspection, and Phenomenal Consciousness: An Information-Theoretical Approach. Noûs 39 (2):197-255.
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic struc-ture that closely (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (11 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   13 citations  
  16. Murat Aydede & D. Price (2005). The Experimental Use of Introspection in the Scientific Study of Pain and its Integration with Third-Person Methodologies: The Experiential-Phenomenological Approach. In Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. MIT Press. pp. 243--273.
    Understanding the nature of pain depends, at least partly, on recognizing its subjectivity (thus, its first-person epistemology). This in turn requires using a first-person experiential method in addition to third-person experimental approaches to study it. This paper is an attempt to spell out what the former approach is and how it can be integrated with the latter. We start our discussion by examining some foundational issues raised by the use of introspection. We argue that such a first-person method in the (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   3 citations  
  17. Murat Aydede & Donald D. Price (2005). Introspection and Unrevisability: Reply to Commentaries. In Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/Mit Press.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  18. Alexander Bain (1893). The Respective Spheres and Mutual Helps of Introspection and Psychophysical Experiment in Psychology. Mind 2 (5):42-53.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  19. Katalin Balog (2012). Acquaintance and the Mind-Body Problem. In Simone Gozzano & Christopher S. Hill (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16.
    In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   10 citations  
  20. Hiranmoy Banerjee (2003). Introspectible Consciousness: What Philosophers Can Do About It. In Perspectives on Consciousness. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
  21. Samuel H. Baron & Carl Pletsch (eds.) (2016). Introspection in Biography: The Biographer's Quest for Self-Awareness. Routledge.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  22. Zsuzsa Baross (1985). Disease and Social Theory: A Problem of Conversation. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 6 (2).
    The paper offers a critical examination of introspection and stoicism as two apparently opposing responses to pain, and examines their adequacy as theoretical postures vis-a-vis the life-world. Following Wittgenstein, who suggests that introspection is fundamentally at fault, the paper moves to consider the theoretic stoicism of Durkheim as a possible alternative for inquiry. It comes to the conclusion, however, that stoicism, just as introspection fails to develop a strong theoretical interest in pain when it refuses to make the problem pain (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  23. Wolfgang Barz (2014). Introspection as a Game of Make‐Believe. Theoria 80 (4):350-367.
    The aim of this article is to provide an account of introspective knowledge concerning visual experiences that is in accordance with the idea of transparent introspection. According to transparent introspection, a person gains knowledge of her own current mental state M solely by paying attention to those aspects of the external world which M is about. In my view, transparent introspection is a promising alternative to inner sense theories. However, it raises the fundamental question why a person who pays attention (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  24. Tim Bayne & Maja Spener (2010). Introspective Humility. Philosophical Issues 20 (1):1-22.
    Viewed from a certain perspective, nothing can seem more secure than introspection. Consider an ordinary conscious episode—say, your current visual experience of the colour of this page. You can judge, when reflecting on this experience, that you have a visual experience as of something white with black marks before you. Does it seem reasonable to doubt this introspective judgement? Surely not—such doubt would seem utterly fanciful. The trustworthiness of introspection is not only assumed by commonsense, it is also taken for (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   7 citations  
  25. K. Baynes & Michael S. Gazzaniga (2000). Consciousness, Introspection, and the Split-Brain: The Two Minds/One Body Problem. In Michael S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The New Cognitive Neurosciences: 2nd Edition. MIT Press.
  26. Michael Beaton (2009). Qualia and Introspection. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):88-110.
    The claim that behaviourally undetectable inverted spectra are possible has been endorsed by many physicalists. I explain why this starting point rules out standard forms of scientific explanation for qualia. The modern ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ is an updated way of defending problematic intuitions like these, but I show that it cannot help to recover standard scientific explanation. I argue that Chalmers is right: we should accept the falsity of physicalism if we accept this problematic starting point. I further argue that (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  27. H. Beaunis (1909). Comment Fonctionne Mon Cerveau: Essai de Psychologie Introspective. Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 67:29 - 40.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  28. Christian Beenfeldt (2015). On Introspection and Introspectionism. Think 14 (40):65-72.
    For some time now, the topics of introspection, inner experience and so-called first-person approaches to the mental, have been the subject of attention in philosophy, psychology and consciousness studies. Indeed, some philosophers think that a central task of the latter field is to systematically relate and integrate data about subjective experience and data about behavior and brain processes.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  29. Christian Beenfeldt (2013). The Philospohical Background and Scientific Legacy of E. B. Titchener's Psychology: Understanding Introspectionism. Springer.
    ​This volume offers a new understanding of Titchener’s influential system of psychology popularly known as introspectionism, structuralism and as classical introspective psychology. Adopting a new perspective on introspectionism and seeking to assess the reasons behind its famous implosion, this book reopens and rewrites the chapter in the history of early scientific psychology pertaining to the nature of E. B. Titchener’s psychological system. -/- Arguing against the view that Titchener’s system was undone by an overreliance on introspection, the author explains how (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  30. Christian Beenfeldt (2010). Knowing Oneself? An Essay on Comtean Skepticism About Introspective Self-Observation'. Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 45:51-70.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  31. Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.) (1995). The Body and the Self. MIT Press.
  32. Sven Bernecker (2000). Knowing the World by Knowing One's Mind. Synthese 123 (1):1-34.
    This paper addresses the question whetherintrospection plus externalism about mental contentwarrant an a priori refutation of external-worldskepticism and ontological solipsism. The suggestionis that if thought content is partly determined byaffairs in the environment and if we can havenon-empirical knowledge of our current thoughtcontents, we can, just by reflection, know about theworld around us – we can know that our environment ispopulated with content-determining entities. Afterexamining this type of transcendental argument anddiscussing various objections found in the literature,I argue that the notion (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  33. Roger E. Bissell (2008). Mind, Introspection, and "The Objective". Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 10 (1):3 - 84.
    In this sequel to his essay "Ayn Rand and The Objective'" (JARS, Fall 2007), the author warns against "the seduction of 'the basic"' and uses ideas by Efron, Peikoff, and Aristotle to argue that introspection and mental data (including mind) are objective and that causal efficacy of mind and mind-body interaction only make sense if mind is conceived of not as an attribute, but as an entity (viz., the conscious human brain). None of this, however, implies Epiphenomenalism or that consciousness (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  34. M. Bitbol & C. Petitmengin (2013). A Defense of Introspection From Within. Constructivist Foundations 8 (3):269-279.
    Context: We are presently witnessing a revival of introspective methods, which implicitly challenges an impressive list of in-principle objections that were addressed to introspection by various philosophers and by behaviorists. Problem: How can one overcome those objections and provide introspection with a secure basis? Results: A renewed definition of introspection as “enlargement of the field of attention and contact with re-enacted experience,” rather than “looking-within,” is formulated. This entails (i) an alternative status of introspective phenomena, which are no longer taken (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  35. Michel Bitbol & Claire Petitmengin (2013). On the Possibility and Reality of Introspection. Kairos 6:173-198.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  36. Arthur L. Blumenthal (2001). A Wundt Primer: The Operating Characteristics of Consciousness. In Robert W. Rieber & David K. Robinson (eds.), Wilhelm Wundt in History: The Making of a Scientific Psychology. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. pp. 121-144.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  37. Boyd H. Bode (1913). The Method of Introspection. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 10 (4):85-91.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   2 citations  
  38. J. A. Den Boer, A. A. T. S. Reinders & G. Glas, On Looking Inward; Revisiting the Role of Introspection in Neuroscientific and Psychiatric Research.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  39. Denis Bonnay & Paul Égré (2008). Inexact Knowledge with Introspection. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (2):179-227.
    This paper supersedes an ealier version, entitled "A Non-Standard Semantics for Inexact Knowledge with Introspection", which appeared in the Proceedings of "Rationality and Knowledge". The definition of token semantics, in particular, has been modified, both for the single- and the multi-agent case.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  40. Denis Bonnay & Paul Egré, A Non-Standard Semantics for Inexact Knowledge with Introspection.
    Forthcoming in S. Artemov and R. Parikh, Proceedings of the ESSLLI 2006 Workshop on Rationality and Knowledge.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  41. Davide Bordini (forthcoming). Is There Introspective Evidence for Phenomenal Intentionality? Philosophical Studies.
    The so-called transparency of experience (TE) is the intuition that, in introspecting one’s own experience, one is only aware of certain properties (like colors, shapes, etc.) as features of (apparently) mind-independent objects. TE is quite popular among philosophers of mind and has traditionally been used to motivate Representationalism, i.e., the view that phenomenal character is in some strong way dependent on intentionality. However, more recently, others have appealed to TE to go the opposite way and support the phenomenal intentionality view (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  42. W. R. Boyce Gibson (1905). III.—Self-Introspection. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 5 (1):38-52.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  43. Anthony L. Brueckner (2001). Problems for a Recent Account of Introspective Knowledge. Facta Philosophica.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  44. Jesse Butler (2013). Rethinking Introspection: A Pluralist Approach to the First-Person Perspective. Palgrave MacMillan.
    We seem to have private privileged access to our own minds through introspection, but what exactly does this involve? Do we somehow literally perceive our own minds, as the common idea of a 'mind's eye' suggests, or are there other processes at work in our ability to know our own minds? Rethinking Introspection offers a new pluralist framework for understanding the nature, scope, and limits of introspection. The book argues that, contrary to common misconceptions, introspection does not consist of a (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  45. Jesse Butler (2011). Introspective Knowledge of Experience and its Role in Consciousness Studies. Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (2):128-145.
    In response to Petitmengin and Bitbol's recent account of first-person methodologies in the study of consciousness, I provide a revised model of our introspective knowledge of our own conscious experience. This model, which I call the existential constitution model of phenomenal knowledge, avoids the problems that Petitmengin and Bitbol identify with standard observational models of introspection while also avoiding an underlying metaphorical misconception in their own proximity model, which misconstrues first-person knowledge of consciousness in terms of a dichotomous epistemic relationship. (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  46. Jesse Wade Butler, Rethinking Introspection: How We Know Our Own Minds.
    In this dissertation I offer a new framework for understanding introspection, characterizing it as a multi-faceted phenomenon that has a broad range of epistemic qualities. I begin by arguing that the standard understanding of introspection as a kind of perception through which we observe our own minds is misguided as a literal account of introspection. With this established, I move on to discuss our diverse abilities to know, and fail to know, our own minds. First, I describe the uniquely first-person (...)
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  47. Alex Byrne (2015). Skepticism About the Internal World. In Gideon Rosen, Alex Byrne, Joshua Cohen & Seana Valentine Shiffrin (eds.), The Norton Introduction to Philosophy. W. W. Norton.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   2 citations  
  48. Alex Byrne (2005). Introspection. Philosophical Topics 33 (1):79-104.
    I know various contingent truths about my environment by perception. For example, by looking, I know that there is a computer before me; by hearing, I know that someone is talking in the corridor; by tasting, I know that the coffee has no sugar. I know these things because I have some built-in mechanisms specialized for detecting the state of my environment. One of these mechanisms, for instance, is presently transducing electromagnetic radiation (in a narrow band of wavelengths) coming from (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   46 citations  
  49. Jack C. Carloye (1991). Consciousness and Introspective Knowledge. Methodology and Science 8:8-22.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  50. Peter Carruthers, Cartesian Epistemology.
    This paper argues that a Cartesian belief in the self-transparency of minds might actually be an innate aspect of our mind-reading faculty. But it acknowledges that some crucial evidence needed to establish this claim hasn’t been looked for or collected. What we require is evidence that a belief in the self-transparency of mind is universal to the human species. The paper closes with a call to anthropologists (and perhaps also developmental psychologists), who are in a position to collect such evidence, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
1 — 50 / 412