Introspection in psychology and philosophy

Philosophy Research Archives 13:471-480 (1987)
This article analyzes Wittgenstein’s position on the grammatical incorrigibility of psychological self-ascriptions and shows how introspective statements can be of use to philosophers. In Wittgenstein On Rules and Private Language, Kripke notes Wittgenstein’s puzzling ambivalence toward introspection. On the one hand Wittgenstein repudiates introspection and on the other he uses it in his own philosophical investigations. To resolve the paradox, this paper distinguishes between introspective methodology in psychological and philosophical investigations. Wittgenstein’s arguments against introspection are specifically directed at introspective methodology in psychology. He argues that the use of introspection to discover “inner causes” commits one to a conception of “direct inner awareness”. On that conception, psychological self-ascriptions are considered highly reliable due to the superiority of the subjective vantage point in ascertaining one’s own mental contents. As an alternative, Wittgenstein maintains that this reliability stems from the grammar of the ascription. The paper places Wittgenstein’s alternative conception of incorrigibility into the context of his argument against the use of introspection in psychology
Keywords Cause  Epistemology  Introspection  Methodology  Psychology  Wittgenstein
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Reprint years 1988
ISBN(s) 0164-0771
DOI 10.5840/pra1987/19881319
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