Synthese 194 (3):723-741 (2017)

Quassim Cassam
University of Warwick
There is widely assumed to be a fundamental epistemological asymmetry between self-knowledge and knowledge of others. They are said to be ’categorically different in kind and manner’ , and the existence of such an asymmetry is taken to be a primitive datum in accounts of the two kinds of knowledge. I argue that standard accounts of the differences between self-knowledge and knowledge of others exaggerate and misstate the asymmetry. The inferentialist challenge to the asymmetry focuses on the extent to which both self-knowledge and knowledge of others are matters of inference and interpretation. In the case of self-knowledge I focus on the so-called ‘transparency method’ and on the extent to which use of this method delivers inferential self-knowledge. In the case of knowledge of others’ thoughts, I discuss the role of perception as a source of such knowledge and argue that even so-called ’perceptual’ knowledge of other minds is inferential. I contend that the difference between self-knowledge and knowledge of others is a difference in the kinds of evidence on which they are typically based
Keywords Self-knowledge  Knowledge of others  Transparency method   Other minds  Inferentialism  Asymmetry
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0772-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,480
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Introspection, Mindreading, and the Transparency of Belief.Uwe Peters - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):1086-1102.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Know How to Transmit Knowledge?Ted Poston - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):865-878.
A Capacity to Get Things Right: Gilbert Ryle on Knowledge.Michael Kremer - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4).
Self-Knowledge: Rationalism Vs. Empiricism.Aaron Z. Zimmerman - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (2):325–352.
The Possibility of Knowledge.Quassim Cassam - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):307-309.
There Is No Knowledge From Falsehood.Ian Schnee - 2015 - Episteme 12 (1):53-74.
The Scope of Perceptual Knowledge.Alan Millar - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (291):73-88.
The Cognitive Significance of Phenomenal Knowledge.Bénédicte Veillet - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2955-2974.


Added to PP index

Total views
181 ( #47,375 of 2,330,498 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #193,674 of 2,330,498 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes