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Authority and Estrangement: An Essay on Self-Knowledge

Princeton University Press (2001)

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  1. Deep, Dark…or Transparent? Knowing Our Desires.Lauren Ashwell - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):245-256.
    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 (...)
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  • G. E. Moore and Bad Faith.Anthony Coleman - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):347-365.
    Abstract: G. E. Moore claimed to know a variety of commonsense propositions. He is often accused of being dogmatic or of begging the question against philosophers who deny that he knows such things. In this paper, I argue that this accusation is mistaken. I argue that Moore is instead guilty of answering questions of the form ‘Do I know p?’ in bad faith.
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  • Introspection and Authoritative Self-Knowledge.Cynthia Macdonald - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (2):355-372.
    In this paper I outline and defend an introspectionist account of authoritative self-knowledge for a certain class of cases, ones in which a subject is both thinking and thinking about a current, conscious thought. My account is distinctive in a number of ways, one of which is that it is compatible with the truth of externalism.
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  • Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Authoritative Self-Knowledge.Cynthia Macdonald - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):319-346.
    Many recent discussions of self-consciousness and self-knowledge assume that there are only two kinds of accounts available to be taken on the relation between the so-called first-order (conscious) states and subjects' awareness or knowledge of them: a same-order, or reflexive view, on the one hand, or a higher-order one, on the other. I maintain that there is a third kind of view that is distinctively different from these two options. The view is important because it can accommodate and make intelligible (...)
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  • I Won’T Do It! Self-Prediction, Moral Obligation and Moral Deliberation.Jennie Louise - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (3):327 - 348.
    This paper considers the question of whether predictions of wrongdoing are relevant to our moral obligations. After giving an analysis of ‘won’t’ claims (i.e., claims that an agent won’t Φ), the question is separated into two different issues: firstly, whether predictions of wrongdoing affect our objective moral obligations, and secondly, whether self-prediction of wrongdoing can be legitimately used in moral deliberation. I argue for an affirmative answer to both questions, although there are conditions that must be met for self-prediction to (...)
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  • Epistemic Deontology and Voluntariness.Conor McHugh - 2012 - Erkenntnis 77 (1):65-94.
    We tend to prescribe and appraise doxastic states in terms that are broadly deontic. According to a simple argument, such prescriptions and appraisals are improper, because they wrongly presuppose that our doxastic states are voluntary. One strategy for resisting this argument, recently endorsed by a number of philosophers, is to claim that our doxastic states are in fact voluntary (This strategy has been pursued by Steup 2008 ; Weatherson 2008 ). In this paper I argue that this strategy is neither (...)
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  • Responsibility for Believing.Pamela Hieronymi - 2008 - Synthese 161 (3):357-373.
    Many assume that we can be responsible only what is voluntary. This leads to puzzlement about our responsibility for our beliefs, since beliefs seem not to be voluntary. I argue against the initial assumption, presenting an account of responsibility and of voluntariness according to which, not only is voluntariness not required for responsibility, but the feature which renders an attitude a fundamental object of responsibility (that the attitude embodies one’s take on the world and one’s place in it) also guarantees (...)
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  • Reflection and Text: Revisiting the Relation Between Pre-Reflective and Reflective Experience. [REVIEW]Wenjing Cai - 2013 - Human Studies 36 (3):339-355.
    The paper presents the prevailing understanding of pre-reflective and reflective experience as a “data-description model”. According to this model, pre-reflective experience is the original datum, the meaning of which is fully determined in the very beginning, whereas reflection is a secondary layer that purports to recover faithfully the meaning of the pre-reflective. The paper spells out the difficulty of this model by looking into the scepticism on reflection. Despite its contribution to explicating the basic level of human consciousness, the data-description (...)
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  • Critical Study: Cassam on Self‐Knowledge for Humans.Matthew Boyle - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):337-348.
    This paper is a critical study of Quassim Cassam’s Self-Knowledge for Humans (Oxford University Press, 2014). Cassam claims that theorists who emphasize the “transparency” of questions about our own attitudes to questions about the wider world are committed to an excessively rationalistic conception of human thought. I dispute this, and make some clarificatory points about how to understand the relevant notion of “transparency”. I also argue that Cassam’s own “inferentialist” account of attitudinal self-knowledge entails an unacceptable alienation from our own (...)
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  • The Basis of Self-Knowledge.Quassim Cassam - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (1):3-18.
    I discuss the claim what makes self-knowledge epistemologically distinctive is the fact that it is baseless or groundless. I draw a distinction between evidential and explanatory baselessness and argue that self-knowledge is only baseless in the first of these senses. Since evidential baselessness is a relatively widespread phenomenon the evidential baselessness of self-knowledge does not make it epistemologically distinctive and does not call for any special explanation. I do not deny that self-knowledge is epistemologically distinctive. My claim is only that (...)
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  • Intuitions for Inferences.Sinan Dogramaci - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):371-399.
    In this paper, I explore a question about deductive reasoning: why am I in a position to immediately infer some deductive consequences of what I know, but not others? I show why the question cannot be answered in the most natural ways of answering it, in particular in Descartes’s way of answering it. I then go on to introduce a new approach to answering the question, an approach inspired by Hume’s view of inductive reasoning.
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  • Self-Knowledge and Rationality.Baron Reed - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):164-181.
    There have been several recent attempts to account for the special authority of self-knowledge by grounding it in a constitutive relation between an agent's intentional states and her judgments about those intentional states. This constitutive relation is said to hold in virtue of the rationality of the subject. I argue, however, that there are two ways in which we have self-knowledge without there being such a constitutive relation between first-order intentional states and the second-order judgments about them. Recognition of this (...)
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  • Motives for Philosophizing Debunking and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.Kelly Dean Jolley - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (2):260-272.
    Abstract: In this article I contest a reading of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations —a reading of it as debunking philosophy. I concede that such a reading is not groundless, but I show why it is nonetheless mistaken. To do so, I distinguish two different ways of viewing Philosophical Investigations and its concern with philosophical problems, an External View and an Internal View. On the External View, readers of the book are taken to know ahead of time what philosophical problems are. On (...)
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  • Contextualism and Intellectualism.Matthew McGrath - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):383-405.
  • Virtue Ethics is Self-Effacing.Simon Keller - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):221 – 231.
    An ethical theory is self-effacing if it tells us that sometimes, we should not be motivated by the considerations that justify our acts. In his influential paper 'The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories' [1976], Michael Stocker argues that consequentialist and deontological ethical theories must be self-effacing, if they are to be at all plausible. Stocker's argument is often taken to provide a reason to give up consequentialism and deontology in favour of virtue ethics. I argue that this assessment is a (...)
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  • Concepts and Religious Experiences: Wayne Proudfoot on the Cultural Construction of Experiences.Stephen S. Bush - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (1):101 - 117.
    The constructivist position, that mystical experiences are determined by the experiencer's cultural context, is now more prevalent among scholars of religion than the perennialist position, which maintains that mystical experiences have a common core that is cross-culturally universal. In large part, this is due to the efforts of Wayne Proudfoot in his widely accepted book, Religious Experience.In this article, I identify some significant unresolved issues in Proudfoot's defence of constructivism. My aim is not to defend perennialism, but to specify some (...)
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  • Naughty Beliefs.Andrew Huddleston - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):209-222.
    Can a person ever occurrently believe p and yet have the simultaneous, occurrent belief q that this very belief that p is false? Surely not, most would say: that description of a person’s epistemic economy seems to misunderstand the very concept of belief. In this paper I question this orthodox assumption. There are, I suggest, cases where we have a first-order mental state m that involves taking the world to be a certain way, yet although we ourselves acknowledge that we (...)
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  • Delusions and Not-Quite-Beliefs.Maura Tumulty - 2012 - Neuroethics 5 (1):29-37.
    Bortolotti argues that the irrationality of many delusions is no different in kind from the irrationality that marks many non-pathological states typically treated as beliefs. She takes this to secure the doxastic status of those delusions. Bortolotti’s approach has many benefits. For example, it accounts for the fact that we can often make some sense of what deluded subjects are up to, and helps explain why some deluded subjects are helped by cognitive behavioral therapy. But there is an alternative approach (...)
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  • Mental Agency as Self-Regulation.Leon de Bruin, Fleur Jongepier & Derek Strijbos - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):815-825.
    The article proposes a novel approach to mental agency that is inspired by Victoria McGeer’s work on self-regulation. The basic idea is that certain mental acts leave further work to be done for an agent to be considered an authoritative self-ascriber of corresponding dispositional mental states. First, we discuss Richard Moran’s account of avowals, which grounds first-person authority in deliberative, self-directed agency. Although this view is promising, we argue that it ultimately fails to confront the empirical gap between occurrent judgments (...)
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  • Transparent Emotions? A Critical Analysis of Moran's Transparency Claim.Naomi Kloosterboer - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (2):246-258.
    I critically analyze Richard Moran's account of knowing one's own emotions, which depends on the Transparency Claim for self-knowledge. Applied to knowing one's own beliefs, TC states that when one is asked “Do you believe P?”, one can answer by referencing reasons for believing P. TC works for belief because one is justified in believing that one believes P if one can give reasons for why P is true. Emotions, however, are also conceptually related to concerns; they involve a response (...)
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  • Judging as a Non-Voluntary Action.Conor McHugh - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):245 - 269.
    Many philosophers categorise judgment as a type of action. On the face of it, this claim is at odds with the seeming fact that judging a certain proposition is not something you can do voluntarily. I argue that we can resolve this tension by recognising a category of non-voluntary action. An action can be non-voluntary without being involuntary. The notion of non-voluntary action is developed by appeal to the claim that judging has truth as a constitutive goal. This claim, when (...)
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  • The Illusion of Conscious Will.Peter Carruthers - 2007 - Synthese 159 (2):197 - 213.
    Wegner (Wegner, D. (2002). The illusion of conscious will. MIT Press) argues that conscious will is an illusion, citing a wide range of empirical evidence. I shall begin by surveying some of his arguments. Many are unsuccessful. But one—an argument from the ubiquity of self-interpretation—is more promising. Yet is suffers from an obvious lacuna, offered by so-called ‘dual process’ theories of reasoning and decision making (Evans, J., & Over, D. (1996). Rationality and reasoning. Psychology Press; Stanovich, K. (1999). Who is (...)
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  • A Role for Ownership and Authorship in the Analysis of Thought Insertion.Lisa Bortolotti & Matthew Broome - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (2):205-224.
    Philosophers are interested in the phenomenon of thought insertion because it challenges the common assumption that one can ascribe to oneself the thoughts that one can access first-personally. In the standard philosophical analysis of thought insertion, the subject owns the ‘inserted’ thought but lacks a sense of agency towards it. In this paper we want to provide an alternative analysis of the condition, according to which subjects typically lack both ownership and authorship of the ‘inserted’ thoughts. We argue that by (...)
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  • Précis of Kant's Thinker.Patricia Kitcher - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):200-212.
  • Transparent Self-Knowledge.Matthew Boyle - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):223-241.
    I distinguish two ways of explaining our capacity for ‘transparent’ knowledge of our own present beliefs, perceptions, and intentions: an inferential and a reflective approach. Alex Byrne (2011) has defended an inferential approach, but I argue that this approach faces a basic difficulty, and that a reflective approach avoids the difficulty. I conclude with a brief sketch and defence of a reflective approach to our transparent self-knowledge, and I show how this approach is connected with the thesis that we must (...)
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  • Why Transparency Undermines Economy.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):3037-3050.
    Byrne offers a novel interpretation of the idea that the mind is transparent to its possessor, and that one knows one’s own mind by looking out at the world. This paper argues that his attempts to extend this picture of self-knowledge force him to sacrifice the theoretical parsimony he presents as the primary virtue of his account. The paper concludes by discussing two general problems transparency accounts of self-knowledge must address.
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  • Alienated Belief.David Hunter - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (2):221-240.
    This paper argues that it is possible to knowingly believe something while judging that one ought not to believe it and (so) viewing the belief as manifesting a sort of failure. I offer examples showing that such ‘alienated belief’ has several potential sources. I contrast alienated belief with self-deception, incontinent (or akratic) belief and half-belief. I argue that the possibility of alienated belief is compatible with the so-called ‘transparency’ of first-person reflection on belief, and that the descriptive and expressive difficulties (...)
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  • Self-Knowledge and the Bounds of Authenticity.Sven Bernecker - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (1):107-121.
    This paper criticizes the widespread view whereby a second-order judgment of the form ‘I believe that p ’ qualifies as self-knowledge only if the embedded content, p , is of the same type as the content of the intentional state reflected upon and the self-ascribed attitude, belief, is of the same type as the attitude the subject takes towards p . Rather than requiring identity of contents across levels of cognition self-knowledge requires only that the embedded content of the second-order (...)
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  • From Volitionalism to the Dual Aspect Theory of Action.Joshua Stuchlik - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (3):867-886.
    Volitionalism is a theory of action motivated by certain shortcomings in the standard causal theory of action. However, volitionalism is vulnerable to the objection that it distorts the phenomenology of embodied agency. Arguments for volitionalism typically proceed by attempting to establish three claims: (1) that whenever an agent acts, she tries or wills to act, (2) that it is possible for volitions to occur even in the absence of bodily movement, and (3) that in cases of successful bodily actions the (...)
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  • The Riddle of the Self Revisited.David Bakhurst - 2011 - Studies in East European Thought 63 (1):63 - 73.
    This paper pays tribute to Felix Trofimovich Mikhajlov (1930-2006), on the occasion of the publication of the third edition of his well-known book, Zagadka čelovečeskogo ja (The Riddle of the Self). Zagadka is a fine expression of the critical humanism that characterized some of the best Russian writing in the Marxist tradition. Moreover, the book provides an ingenious introduction to the philosophical framework of what in the West is called "cultural-historical activity theory." The first part of the paper is a (...)
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  • Epistemology, Biology and Mysticism: Comments on 'Polanyi's Tacit Knowledge and the Relevance of Epistemology to Clinical Medicine'.Michael Loughlin - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2):298-300.
  • Recollection, Perception, Imagination.Alex Byrne - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148:15 - 26.
    Remembering a cat sleeping (specifically, recollecting the way the cat looked), perceiving (specifically, seeing) a cat sleeping, and imagining (specifically, visualizing) a cat sleeping are of course importantly different. Nonetheless, from the first-person perspective they are palpably alike. The paper addresses two questions: Q1. What are these similarities (and differences)? Q2. How does one tell that one is recalling (and so not perceiving or imagining)?
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  • Self-Intimation and Second Order Belief.Sydney Shoemaker - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (1):35-51.
    The paper defends the view that there is a constitutive relation between believing something and believing that one believes it. This view is supported by the incoherence of affirming something while denying that one believes it, and by the role awareness of the contents one’s belief system plays in the rational regulation of that system. Not all standing beliefs are accompanied by higher-order beliefs that self-ascribe them; those that are so accompanied are ones that are “available” in the sense that (...)
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  • ‘Obsessive Thoughts and Inner Voices’.Lucy O'Brien - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):93-108.
    My concern is this paper is to consider the nature of obsessive thoughts with the aim of getting a clearer idea about the extent to which they are rightly identified as passive or as active. The nature of obsessive thoughts is of independent interest, but my concern with the question is also rooted in a general concern to map the extent of mental activity, and to defend the importance and centrality of a view of self-knowledge that appeals to agency. I (...)
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  • Transparency, Belief, Intention.Alex Byrne - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85:201-21.
    This paper elaborates and defends a familiar ‘transparent’ account of knowledge of one's own beliefs, inspired by some remarks of Gareth Evans, and makes a case that the account can be extended to mental states in general, in particular to knowledge of one's intentions.
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  • Emotion, Perception, and the Self in Moral Epistemology.Michael Lacewing - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (3):335-355.
    In this paper, I argue against a perceptual model of moral epistemology. We should not reject the claim that there is a sense in which, on some occasions, emotions may be said to be perceptions of values or reasons. But going further than this, and taking perception as a model for moral epistemology is unhelpful and unilluminating. By focusing on the importance of the dispositions and structures of the self to moral knowledge, I bring out important disanalogies between moral epistemology (...)
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  • Non‐Observational Knowledge of Action.John Schwenkler - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (10):731-740.
    Intuitively, the knowledge of one’s own intentional actions is different from the knowledge of actions of other sorts, including those of other people and unintentional actions of one's own. But how are we to understand this phenomenon? Does it pertain to all actions, under every description under which they are known? If so, then how is this possible? If not, then how should we think about cases that are exceptions to this principle? This paper is a critical survey of recent (...)
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  • First-Person Authority and Self-Knowledge as an Achievement.Josep E. Corbí - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (3):325-362.
    Abstract: There is much that I admire in Richard Moran's account of how first-person authority may be consistent with self-knowledge as an achievement. In this paper, I examine his attempt to characterize the goal of psychoanalytic treatment, which is surely that the patient should go beyond the mere theoretical acceptance of the analyst's interpretation, and requires instead a more intimate, first-personal, awareness by the patient of their psychological condition.I object, however, that the way in which Moran distinguishes between the deliberative (...)
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  • Cognition, Representations and Embodied Emotions: Investigating Cognitive Theory.Somogy Varga - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (1):165-190.
    Cognitive theory (CT) is currently the most widely acknowledged framework used to describe the psychological processes in affective disorders like depression. The purpose of this paper is to assess the philosophical assumptions upon which CT rests. It is argued that CT must be revised due to significant flaws in many of these philosophical assumptions. The paper contains suggestions as to how these problems could be overcome in a manner that would secure philosophical accuracy, while also providing an account that is (...)
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  • Social Externalism and First-Person Authority.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (2):287 - 300.
    Social Externalism is the thesis that many of our thoughts are individuated in part by the linguistic and social practices of the thinker’s community. After defending Social Externalism and arguing for its broad application, I turn to the kind of defeasible first-person authority that we have over our own thoughts. Then, I present and refute an argument that uses first-person authority to disprove Social Externalism. Finally, I argue briefly that Social Externalism—far from being incompatible with first-person authority—provides a check on (...)
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  • Managing Mismatch Between Belief and Behavior.Maura Tumulty - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (3):261-292.
    Our behavior doesn't always match the beliefs attributed to us, and sometimes the mismatch raises questions about what our beliefs actually are. I compare two approaches to such cases, and argue in favor of the one which allows some belief-attributions to lack a determinate truth-value. That approach avoids an inappropriate assumption about cognitive activity: namely, that whenever we fail in performing one cognitive activity, there is a distinct cognitive activity at which we succeed. The indeterminacy-allowing approach also meshes well with (...)
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  • Self-Knowledge, Agency, and Force.Lucy O’Brien - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):580–601.
    My aim in this paper is to articulate further what may be called an agency theory of self-knowledge. Many theorists have stressed how important agency is to self- knowledge, and much work has been done drawing connections between the two notions.<sup>2</sup> However, it has not always been clear what _epistemic_ advantage agency gives us in this area and why it does so. I take it as a constraint on an adequate account of how a subject knows her own mental states (...)
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  • First-Person Privilege, Judgment, and Avowal.Kateryna Samoilova - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (2):169-182.
    It is a common intuition that I am in a better position to know my own mental states than someone else's. One view that takes this intuition very seriously is Neo-Expressivism, providing a “non-epistemic” account of first-person privilege. But some have denied that we enjoy any principled first-person privilege, as do those who have the Third-Person View, according to which there is no deep difference in our epistemic position with regard to our own and others' mental states. Despite their apparently (...)
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  • Epistemic Agency: Some Doubts.Kieran Setiya - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):179-198.
    Argues for a deflationary account of epistemic agency. We believe things for reasons and our beliefs change over time, but there is no further sense in which we are active in judgement, inference, or belief.
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  • Is Virtue Ethics Self-Effacing?Joel A. Martinez - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):277-288.
    Virtue ethicists argue that modern ethical theories aim to give direct guidance about particular situations at the cost of offering artificial or narrow accounts of ethics. In contrast, virtue ethical theories guide action indirectly by helping one understand the virtues?but the theory will not provide answers as to what to do in particular instances. Recently, this had led many to think that virtue ethical theories are self-effacing the way some claim consequentialist and deontological theories are. In this paper I defend (...)
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  • Asymmetry Arguments.Berislav Marušić - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1081-1102.
    In the First Meditation, the Cartesian meditator temporarily concludes that he cannot know anything, because he cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while he is dreaming. To resist the meditator’s conclusion, one could deploy an asymmetry argument. Following Bernard Williams, one could argue that even if the meditator cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while dreaming, it does not follow that he cannot do it while awake. In general, asymmetry arguments seek to identify an asymmetry between a bad case that is entertained (...)
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  • Early Sartre on Freedom and Ethics.Peter Poellner - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):221-247.
    This paper offers a revisionary interpretation of Sartre's early views on human freedom. Sartre articulates a subtle account of a fundamental sense of human freedom as autonomy, in terms of human consciousness being both reasons-responsive and in a distinctive sense self-determining. The aspects of Sartre's theory of human freedom that underpin his early ethics are shown to be based on his phenomenological analysis of consciousness as, in its fundamental mode of self-presence, not an object in the world. Sartre has a (...)
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  • Reasonable Partiality and the Agent’s Point of View.Alan Thomas - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1-2):25-43.
    It is argued that reasonable partiality allows an agent to attach value to particular objects of attachment via recognition of the value of the holding of that relation between agent and object. The reasonableness of partiality is ensured by a background context set by the agent's virtues, notably justice. It is argued that reasonable partiality is the only view that is compatible with our best account of the nature of self-knowledge. That account rules out any instrumental relationship between moral demands (...)
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  • Attitudinal Control.Conor McHugh - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2745-2762.
    Beliefs are held to norms in a way that seems to require control over what we believe. Yet we don’t control our beliefs at will, in the way we control our actions. I argue that this problem can be solved by recognising a different form of control, which we exercise when we revise our beliefs directly for reasons. We enjoy this form of attitudinal control not only over our beliefs, but also over other attitudes, including intentions—that is, over the will (...)
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  • Non-Conceptualism and the Problem of Perceptual Self-Knowledge.Robert Hanna & Monima Chadha - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):184-223.
    In this paper we (i) identify the notion of ‘essentially non-conceptual content’ by critically analyzing the recent and contemporary debate about non-conceptual content, (ii) work out the basics of broadly Kantian theory of essentially non-conceptual content in relation to a corresponding theory of conceptual content, and then (iii) demonstrate one effective application of the Kantian theory of essentially non-conceptual content by using this theory to provide a ‘minimalist’ solution to the problem of perceptual self-knowledge which is raised by Strong Externalism.
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