The unreliability of naive introspection

Philosophical Review 117 (2):245-273 (2006)

Authors
Eric Schwitzgebel
University of California, Riverside
Abstract
We are prone to gross error, even in favorable circumstances of extended reflection, about our own ongoing conscious experience, our current phenomenology. Even in this apparently privileged domain, our self-knowledge is faulty and untrustworthy. We are not simply fallible at the margins but broadly inept. Examples highlighted in this essay include: emotional experience (for example, is it entirely bodily; does joy have a common, distinctive phenomenological core?), peripheral vision (how broad and stable is the region of visual clarity?), and the phenomenology of thought (does it have a distinctive phenomenology, beyond just imagery and feelings?). Cartesian skeptical scenarios undermine knowledge of ongoing conscious experience as well as knowledge of the outside world. Infallible judgments about ongoing mental states are simply banal cases of self-fulfillment. Philosophical foundationalism supposing that we infer an external world from secure knowledge of our own consciousness is almost exactly backward.
Keywords Introspection
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2008
DOI 10.1215/00318108-2007-037
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 49,017
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.

View all 101 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Credence: A Belief-First Approach.Andrew Moon & Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
A Puzzle About Epistemic Akrasia.Daniel Greco - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):201-219.
The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.

View all 145 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Introspection as a Method and Introspection as a Feature of Consciousness.Uljana Feest - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):1 - 16.
Introspection and Consciousness.Declan Smithies & Daniel Stoljar (eds.) - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Consciousness.Eric Lormand - 1996 - In Edward Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge.
Introspective Humility.Tim Bayne & Maja Spener - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):1-22.
Discrimination and Self-Knowledge.Patrick Greenough - 2012 - In Declan Smithies & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), Introspection and Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
Introspection and Consciousness: An Overview.Daniel Stoljar & Declan Smithies - 2012 - In Daniel Stoljar & Declan Smithies (eds.), Introspection and Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
Phenomenal Variability and Introspective Reliability.Jakob Hohwy - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (3):261-286.
Experience and Introspection.William C. Kneale - 1950 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 50 (1):1.2-28.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
413 ( #14,531 of 2,310,934 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #74,309 of 2,310,934 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature