In Crispin Wright, Barry C. Smith & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press. pp. 391--428 (1998)

Barry C. Smith
School of Advanced Study, University of London
We rely on language to know the minds of others, but does language have a role to play in knowing our own minds? To suppose it does is to look for a connection between mastery of a language and the epistemic relation we bear to our inner lives. What could such a connection consist in? To explore this, I shall examine strategies for explaining self-knowledge in terms of the use we make of language to express and report our mental states. Success in these strategies will depend on the view we take of speakers' understanding of the words they use to speak their minds. The key is to avoid circularity in the account of how they know what they mean; for if knowing what one is saying in speaking a language provides a means of knowing one's own mind, it cannot simply be a part of it. I shall look at ways in which we might proceed here, and examine whether the strategy can make room for a genuinely first-person point of view. But first let me try to motivate the problem of self-knowledge.
Keywords Self-Knoweldge  First-person authority  Knowledge of Language  Davidson  Knowing our own minds  Knowing what we mean
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2000
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Self-Knowledge and Knowledge of Content.Åsa Maria Wikforss - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):399-424.
Immunity to Error and Subjectivity.Robert J. Howell - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):581-604.
Idiolectal Error.Alex Barber - 2001 - Mind and Language 16 (3):263–283.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Knowing That, Knowing How, and Knowing to Do.Refeng Tang - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):426-442.
Self-Knowledge and Resentment.Akeel Bilgrami - 2000 - Knowing Our Own Minds (October):207-243.
Knowing-That, Knowing-How, and Knowing Philosophically.Stephen Hetherington - 2008 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 77 (1):307-324.
Questions and Answers.Henry Hiz - 1907 - The Classical Review 21 (7):220-220.
An Alternative Form of Theological Knowing.Elizabeth Newman - 1993 - Tradition and Discovery 20 (1):13-26.
Knowing How Without Knowing That.Yuri Cath - 2011 - In John Bengson & Mark Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 113.
Knowing-How and Knowing-That.Jeremy Fantl - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (3):451–470.


Added to PP index

Total views
733 ( #8,454 of 2,449,123 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
31 ( #23,044 of 2,449,123 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes