On the Alleged Disappearance of Introspection

Dissertation, University of Southern California (2000)

Gregg Ten Elshof
University of Southern California
The broad area of study into which this work falls is epistemology; the theory of knowledge. More specifically, it purports to examine the knowledge that human beings have of themselves---i.e. self knowledge. Even more specifically, it is concerned with whether and to what extent self knowledge can appropriately be thought of as a species of perception. I will be assessing the suggestion that we, at least sometimes, come to acquire significant knowledge about ourselves in very much the same way that we sometimes come to know things about the external world---through observation. The project as a whole, then, amounts to a critical assessment of the perceptual/observational model of introspection. ;I will first explicate the perceptual/observational model and contrast it with its more prominent competitors. I will then examine in detail the arguments, both contemporary and historical, responsible for its demise. I will argue that the arguments leveled against the perceptual/observational view have not been decisive and that it deserves to be taken seriously as a viable competing model
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