William Lyons presents an original thesis on introspection as self-interpretation in terms of a culturally influenced model. His work rests on a lucid, careful, and critical examination of the transformations that have occurred over the past century in the concepts and models of introspection in philosophy and psychology. He reviews the history of introspection in the work of Wundt, Boring, and William James, and reactions to it by behaviorists Watson, Lashley, Ryle, and Skinner.
This chapter develops a simple theory of introspection on which a mental state is introspectively accessible just by virtue of the fact that one is in that mental state. This theory raises two questions: first, a generalization question: which mental states are introspectively accessible; and second, an explanatory question: why are some mental states introspectively accessible, rather than others, or none at all? In response to the generalization question, I argue that a mental state is introspectively accessible if and only (...) if it is phenomenally individuated. And in response to the explanatory question, I argue that a mental state is introspectively accessible if and only if it is among the determinants of justification. This provides the basis of an argument for a phenomenal conception of justification, according to which a mental state is among the determinants of justification if and only if it is phenomenally individuated. (shrink)
Introspection stands at the interface between two major currents in philosophy and related areas of science: on the one hand, there are metaphysical and scientific questions about the nature of consciousness; and on the other hand, there are normative and epistemological questions about the nature of self-knowledge. Introspection seems tied up with consciousness, to the point that some writers define consciousness in terms of introspection; and it is also tied up with self-knowledge, since introspection is the distinctive way in which (...) we come to know about ourselves and, in particular, about our own conscious mental states, processes and events. Each of these topics – consciousness and self-knowledge – has generated an extensive philosophical literature in its own right. But despite some notable exceptions, the relationship between consciousness and self-knowledge has been curiously neglected and remains poorly understood. Indeed, until quite recently, the sub-fields of philosophy of mind and epistemology were pursued largely in isolation from one another. Recent philosophy of mind has been dominated by metaphysical questions about the nature of consciousness and its place in the physical world, while much less attention has been devoted to questions about the epistemic role of consciousness as a source of knowledge and justified belief. Similarly, recent epistemology has been organized around questions about the nature of knowledge and justified belief, but much of this discussion has developed independently of recent work in philosophy of mind about the nature of consciousness. The impetus behind this volume is to bring together these two lines of research by exploring the nature of introspection, which lies at the intersection between consciousness and self-knowledge. This volume collects fourteen new essays and one reprinted essay in which the interplay between concerns in epistemology and the philosophy of mind is a major focus. (shrink)
The topic of introspection stands at the interface between questions in epistemology about the nature of self-knowledge and questions in the philosophy of mind about the nature of consciousness. What is the nature of introspection such that it provides us with a distinctive way of knowing about our own conscious mental states? And what is the nature of consciousness such that we can know about our own conscious mental states by introspection? How should we understand the relationship between consciousness and (...) introspective self-knowledge? Should we explain consciousness in terms of introspective self-knowledge or vice versa? Until recently, questions in epistemology and the philosophy of mind were pursued largely in isolation from one another. This volume aims to integrate these two lines of research by bringing together fourteen new essays and one reprinted essay on the relationship between introspection, self-knowledge, and consciousness. (shrink)
Subliminal perception (SP) is today considered a well-supported theory stating that perception can occur without conscious awareness and have a significant impact on later behaviour and thought. In this article, we first present and discuss different approaches to the study of SP. In doing this, we claim that most approaches are based on a dichotomic measure of awareness. Drawing upon recent advances and discussions in the study of introspection and phenomenological psychology, we argue for both the possibility and necessity of (...) using an elaborated measure of subjective states. In the second part of the article, we present findings where these considerations are implemented in an empirical study. The results and implications are discussed in detail, both with reference to SP, and in relation to the more general problem of using elaborate introspective reports as data in relation to studies of cognition. (shrink)
Phenomenal beliefs are beliefs about the phenomenal properties of one's concurrent conscious states. It is an article of common sense that such beliefs tend to be justified. Philosophers have been less convinced. It is sometimes claimed that phenomenal beliefs are not on the whole justified, on the grounds that they are typically based on introspection and introspection is often unreliable. Here we argue that such reasoning must guard against a potential conflation between two distinct introspective phenomena, which we call fact-introspection (...) and thing -introspection; arguments for the unreliability of introspection typically target only the former, leaving the reliability of the latter untouched. In addition, we propose a theoretical framework for understanding thing -introspection that may have a surprising consequence: thing -introspection is not only reliable, but outright infallible. This points at a potential line of defense of phenomenal-belief justification, which here we only sketch very roughly. (shrink)
Introspection presents our phenomenal states in a manner otherwise than physical. This observation is often thought to amount to an argument against physicalism: if introspection presents phenomenal states as they essentially are, then phenomenal states cannot be physical states, for we are not introspectively aware of phenomenal states as physical states. In this article, I examine whether this argument threatens a posteriori physicalism. I argue that as along as proponents of a posteriori physicalism maintain that phenomenal concepts present the nature (...) of their referents in a partial and incomplete manner, a posteriori physicalism is safe. (shrink)
The question, ‘Is cognition linguistic?' divides recent cognitive theories into two antagonistic groups. Sententialists claim that we think in some language, while advocates of non linguistic views of cognition deny this claim. The Introspective Argument for Sententialism is one of the most appealing arguments for sententialism. In substance, it claims that the introspective fact of inner speech provides strong evidence that our thoughts are linguistic. This article challenges this argument. I claim that the Introspective Argument for Sententialism confuses the content (...) of our thoughts with their vehicles: while sententialism is a thesis about the vehicles of our thoughts, inner speech sentences are the content of auditory or articulatory images. The rebuttal of the introspective argument for sententialism is shown to have a general significance in cognitive science: Introspection does not tell us how we think. (shrink)
In his provocative and engaging new book, Perplexities of Consciousness, Eric Schwitzgebel makes a compelling case that introspection is unreliable in the sense that we are prone to ignorance and error in making introspective judgments about our own conscious experience. My aim in this commentary is to argue that Schwitzgebel’s thesis about the unreliability of introspection does not have the damaging implications that he claims it does for the prospects of a broadly Cartesian approach to epistemology.
This paper assesses five main empirical scientific arguments against the reliability of belief formation on the basis of introspecting phenomenal states. After defining ‘reliability’ and ‘introspection’, I discuss five arguments to the effect that phenomenal states are more elusive than we usually think: the argument on the basis of differences in introspective reports from differences in introspective measurements; the argument from differences in reports about whether or not dreams come in colours; the argument from the absence of a correlation between (...) visual imagery ability and the performance on certain cognitive tasks; the argument from our unawareness of our capacity of echolocation; the argument from inattentional blindness and change blindness. I argue that the experiments on which these arguments are based do not concern belief formation on the basis of introspection in the first place or fail to show that it is unreliable, even when limited to introspection of phenomenal states. (shrink)
Consider the following argument: when a phenomenon P is observable, any legitimate understanding of P must take account of observations of P; some mental phenomena—certain conscious experiences—are introspectively observable; so, any legitimate understanding of the mind must take account of introspective observations of conscious experiences. This paper offers a (preliminary and partial) defense of this line of thought. Much of the paper focuses on a specific challenge to it, which I call Schwitzgebel’s Challenge: the claim that introspection is so untrustworthy (...) that its indispensability for a genuine understanding of the mind only shows that no genuine understanding of the mind is possible. (shrink)
The claim that behaviourally undetectable inverted spectra are possible has been endorsed by many physicalists. I explain why this starting point rules out standard forms of scientific explanation for qualia. The modern ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ is an updated way of defending problematic intuitions like these, but I show that it cannot help to recover standard scientific explanation. I argue that Chalmers is right: we should accept the falsity of physicalism if we accept this problematic starting point. I further argue that (...) accepting this starting point amounts to at least implicitly endorsing certain theoretical claims about the nature of introspection. I therefore suggest that we allow ourselves to be guided, in our quest to understand qualia, by whatever independently plausible theories of introspection we have. I propose that we adopt a more moderate definition of qualia, as those introspectible properties which cannot be fully specified simply by specifying the non-controversially introspectible ‘propositional attitude’ mental states (including seeing x, experiencing x, and so on, where x is a specification of a potentially public state of affairs). Qualia thus defined may well fit plausible, naturalisable accounts of introspection. If so, such accounts have the potential to explain, rather than explain away, the problematic intuitions discussed earlier; an approach that should allow integration of our understanding of qualia with the rest of science. (shrink)
This paper supersedes an ealier version, entitled "A Non-Standard Semantics for Inexact Knowledge with Introspection", which appeared in the Proceedings of "Rationality and Knowledge". The definition of token semantics, in particular, has been modified, both for the single- and the multi-agent case.
Nietzsche believes that we do not know our own actions, nor their real motives. This belief, however, is but a consequence of his assuming a quite general skepticism about introspection. The main aim of this paper is to offer a reading of this last view, which I shall call the Inner Opacity (IO) view. In the first part of the paper I show that a strong motivation behind IO lies in Nietzsche’s claim that self-knowledge exploits the same set of cognitive (...) capacities as well as the same folk-psychological framework involved in outward-directed mind-reading. In the second part I turn to Nietzsche’s view of agency and argue that he sees a fundamental discrepancy between the conscious attitudes we have introspective access to, on the one hand, and the subpersonal processes and states occurring at the unconscious level of the drives, on the other hand. (shrink)
This is an excellent collection of essays on introspection and consciousness. There are fifteen essays in total (all new except for Sydney Shoemaker’s essay). There is also an introduction where the editors explain the impetus for the collection and provide a helpful overview. The essays contain a wealth of new and challenging material sure to excite specialists and shape future research. Below we extract a skeptical argument from Fred Dretske’s essay and relate the remaining essays to that argument. Due to (...) space limitations we focus in detail on just a few of the essays. We regret that we cannot give them all the attention they merit. (shrink)
Introspection is paradoxical in that it is simultaneously so compelling yet so elusive. This paradox emerges because although experience itself is indisputable, our ability to explicitly characterize experience is often inadequate. Ultimately, the accuracy of introspective reports depends on individuals' imperfect ability to take stock of their experience. Although there is no ideal yardstick for assessing introspection, examination of the degree to which self-reports systematically covary with the environmental, behavioural, and physiological concomitants of experience can help to establish the correspondence (...) between meta-consciousness and experience. We illustrate the viability of such an approach in three domains, imagery, mind-wandering, and hedonic appraisal, identifying both the situations in which introspections appear to be accurate and those in which they seem to diverge from underlying experience. We conclude with a discussion of the various factors that may cause meta-consciousness to misrepresent experience. (shrink)
One of the most vivid aspects of consciousness is the experience of emotion, yet this topic is given relatively little attention within consciousness studies. Emotions are crucial, for they provide quick and motivating assessments of value, without which action would be misdirected or absent. Emotions also involve linkages between phenomenal and intentional consciousness. This paper examines emotional consciousness from the standpoint of the representational theory of consciousness . Two interesting developments spring from this. The first is the need for the (...) representation of value, which is distinctive of emotional experience. The second is an extension of RTC’s theory of introspection to emotional states, revealing why emotional consciousness is so often introspective even though introspective abilities are not needed to experience emotions, and also explaining why introspection of emotional states is so much less reliable than that of other states of consciousness. (shrink)
Philosophers have recently argued that since there are people who are blind, but don't know it, and people who echolocate, but don't know it, conscious introspection is highly unreliable. I contend that a second look at Anton's syndrome, human echolocation, and ‘facial vision’ suggests otherwise. These examples do not support skepticism about the reliability of introspection.
This paper examines pain states (and other intransitive bodily sensations) from the perspective of the problems they pose for pure informational/representational approaches to naturalizing qualia. I start with a comprehensive critical and quasi-historical discussion of so-called Perceptual Theories of Pain (e.g., Armstrong, Pitcher), as these were the natural predecessors of the more modern direct realist views. I describe the theoretical backdrop (indirect realism, sense-data theories) against which the perceptual theories were developed. The conclusion drawn is that pure representationalism about pain (...) in the tradition of direct realist perceptual theories (e.g., Dretske, Tye) leaves out something crucial about the phenomenology of pain experiences, namely, their affective character. I touch upon the role that introspection plays in such representationalist views, and indicate how it contributes to the source of their trouble vis-à-vis bodily sensations. The paper ends by briefly commenting on the relation between the affective/evaluative component of pain and the hedonic valence of emotions. (shrink)
In this article I am not going to try and define introspection. I am going to try to state as precisely as possible how the practice of introspection can be improved, starting from the principle that there exists a disjunction between the logic of action and of conceptualization and the practice of introspection does not require that one should already be in possession of an exhaustive scientific knowledge bearing upon it. . To make matters worse, innumerable commentators upon what passes (...) for introspection do not seem to have practised it and have certainly never contributed anything to its development. My aim is therefore to bring to light a procedure for progressive improvement in the practice of introspection when it is employed in a programme of research. (shrink)
Edward Titchener, one of the great champions of introspectionist psychology, declared that 'the term Introspection, as we find it used today, is highly equivocal, and that the procedure which it connotes may be scientifically illegitimate, or even wholly imaginary' . He made the point because he wanted to insulate his preferred method of doing psychological research from criticisms that were directed against forms of introspection that he conceded to be unreliable. The point, however, is not just that we can introspect (...) more or less carefully. It is that there are 'gross differences in the meaning of the word' . 'Introspection' is Janus-faced. It splinters into several different species, involving different underlying mechanisms. (shrink)
The ubiquity of inner awareness thesis states that all conscious states of normal adult humans are characterised by an inner awareness of that very state. UIA-Backers support this thesis while UIA-Skeptics reject it. At the heart of their dispute is a recalcitrant phenomenological disagreement. UIA-Backers claim that phenomenological investigation reveals ‘peripheral inner awareness’ to be a constant presence in their non-introspective experiences. UIA-Skeptics deny that their non-introspective experiences are characterised by inner awareness, and maintain that inner awareness is only gained (...) when they explicitly introspect. Each camp has put forward a range of arguments designed to resolve this dispute, but I argue that none of these arguments has genuine dialectical purchase. This leads me to develop a compromise position that trades on the contribution that affordances can make to our phenomenology. According to the Affordance Model of inner awareness, all conscious states of normal adult humans are characterised by an affordance of introspectability. In line with the UIA-Skeptic, non-introspective experiences are not characterised by inner awareness. But against the traditional UIASkeptic, non-introspective experiences are characterised by an awareness of the opportunity for introspection. On this view, our capacity to gain inner awareness of our current experience is a ubiquitous feature of our phenomenology. I show how the Affordance Model respects the driving phenomenological intuitions of both the UIA-Backers and the traditional UIA-Skeptics, and suggest that it is able to explain why neither camp achieves an accurate description of how inner awareness figures in their phenomenology. (shrink)
Understanding the nature of pain depends, at least partly, on recognizing its subjectivity (thus, its first-person epistemology). This in turn requires using a first-person experiential method in addition to third-person experimental approaches to study it. This paper is an attempt to spell out what the former approach is and how it can be integrated with the latter. We start our discussion by examining some foundational issues raised by the use of introspection. We argue that such a first-person method in the (...) scientific study of pain (as in the study of any experience) is in fact indispensable by demonstrating that it has in fact been consistently used in conjunction with conventional third-person methodologies, and this for good reasons. We show that, contrary to what appears to be a widespread opinion, there is absolutely no reason to think that the use of such a first-person approach is scientifically and methodologically suspect. We distinguish between two uses of introspective methods in scientific experiments: one draws on the subjects’ introspective reports where any investigator has equal and objective access. The other is where the investigator becomes a subject of his own study and draws on the introspection of his own experiences. We give examples using and/or approximating both strategies that include studies of second pain summation and its relationship to neural activities, and brain imaging- psychophysical studies wherein sensory and affective qualities of pain are correlated with cerebral cortical activity. We explain what we call the experiential or phenomenological approach that has its origins in the work of Price and Barrell (1980). This approach capitalizes on the scientific prospects and benefits of using the introspection of the investigator. We distinguish between its vertical and horizontal applications. Finally, we conclude that integrating such an approach to standard third-person methodologies can only help us in having a fuller understanding of pain and of conscious experience in general. (shrink)
Povinelli’s Problem is a well-known methodological problem confronting those researching nonhuman primate cognition. In this paper I add a new wrinkle to this problem. The wrinkle concerns introspection, i.e., the ability to detect one’s own mental states. I argue that introspection either creates a new obstacle to solving Povinelli’s Problem, or creates a slightly different, but closely related, problem. I apply these arguments to Robert Lurz and Carla Krachun’s (Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2: 449–481, 2011) recent attempt at solving (...) Povinelli’s Problem. (shrink)
To study whether the distinction between introspective and non-introspective states of mind is an empirical reality or merely a conceptual distinction, we measured event-related potentials elicited in introspective and non-introspective instruction conditions while the observers were trying to detect the presence of a masked stimulus. The ERPs indicated measurable differences related to introspection in both preconscious and conscious processes. Our data support the hypothesis that introspective states empirically differ from non-introspective states.
In this paper I present a more refined analysis of the principles of deductive closure and positive introspection. This analysis uses the expressive resources of logics for different types of group knowledge, and discriminates between aspects of closure and computation that are often conflated. The resulting model also yields a more fine-grained distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge, and places Hintikka’s original argument for positive introspection in a new perspective.
A common way of testing the inner sense theory of introspection exploits the possibility of damage to inner sense. Such damage is expected to lead to first-personal deficits/impairments of one kind or another. I raise various problems for this way of testing the theory. The main difficulty, I argue, stems from the existence of the method subserving confabulation.
The introspective method has come under attack throughout the history of psychology, yet it is widely used today in virtually all areas of the field, often to good effect. At the same time indirect methods that do not rely on introspection are widely used, also to good effect. This conundrum is best understood in terms of models of nonconscious processing and the role of consciousness. People have access to many of their feelings and emotions, and develop rich narratives about themselves (...) and their social worlds. These conscious states, accessible to introspective reports, are often good predictors of people’s behaviour. There is also a pervasive adaptive unconscious that is inaccessible via introspection. When using introspective reports researchers should be clear about which kinds of mental states they are trying to measure. (shrink)
A new theory of the neuropsychological underpinnings of phenomenal consciousness, “asynchronous introspection theory,” is proposed that emphasizes asynchrony between different neurocognitive processes. We provide a detailed explanation of how a mind might arrive at a cognitive structure isomorphic to the cognitive structure that would emerge from experiential qualia. The theory suggests that a temporal illusion is created because of the mismatch between the real physical timeline and the neurally constructed timeline composed inside a person’s brain. This temporal illusion leads to (...) the origination of a thought that one has had a certain experience wherein the thought and the feeling seem synchronous to the person but, in fact, are not. This leads to the thought, “I had a feeling.” The theory is elaborated via a metaphorical “robot supervisor model” and is shown to explain many current problems of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
An analysis of Moore's paradox is given in doxastic logic. Logics arising from formalizations of various introspective principles are compared; one logic, K5c, emerges as privileged in the sense that it is the weakest to avoid Moorean belief. Moreover it has other attractive properties, one of which is that it can be justified solely in terms of avoiding false belief. Introspection is therefore revealed as less relevant to the Moorean problem than first appears.
Traditionally conceived, introspection is a form of nonsensuous perception that allows the mind to scrutinize at least some of its own states while it is experiencing them. The traditional account of introspection has been in disrepute ever since Ryle argued that the very idea of introspection is a logical muddle. Recent critics such as William Lyons, John Searle, and Sydney Shoemaker argue that this disrepute is well-deserved. Three distinct objections to the traditional account of introspection are considered and rejected. It (...) is argued that critics of the traditional account of introspection fail to adequately distinguish potential objects of introspection. Further, it is argued that at least two cognitive states are properly understood as objects of introspection. The conclusions reached suggest that there are sufficient reasons to reconsider ther merits of the traditional account of introspection. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to provide an account of introspective knowledge concerning visual experiences that is in accordance with the idea of transparent introspection. According to transparent introspection, a person gains knowledge of her own current mental state M solely by paying attention to those aspects of the external world which M is about. In my view, transparent introspection is a promising alternative to inner sense theories. However, it raises the fundamental question why a person who pays attention (...) to something extra-mental should be epistemically justified in holding a belief about something intra-mental. In his Naturalizing the Mind, Fred Dretske solves this problem by conceiving of introspection concerning visual experiences as an inference based on a connecting belief. Although Dretske's account proves defective upon closer inspection, its essence can be salvaged by looking upon introspection as being a game of make-believe. (shrink)
We show that if an agent reasons according to standard inference rules, the truth and introspection axioms extend from the set of non-epistemic propositions to the whole set of propositions. This implies that the usual axiomatization of partitional possibility correspondences is redundant, and provides a justification for truth and introspection that is partly based on reasoning.
This paper reviews and defends Wittgenstein’s examination of the notion of introspecting psychological states and his critique of introspectionism, in the sense of using reflective awareness as a tool for philosophical or psychological investigation. Its focus is on inner psychological states, like pains or thoughts—it provisionally excludes perceptual states from this category. It approaches the philosopher’s concept of introspection through an analysis of concepts of awareness and self-awareness. It identifies at least two different forms of self-awareness, just one of which (...) is attention to conscious processes. It sides with those who deny that any self-awareness is perception. It outlines and evaluates the primary objections Wittgenstein made to the notion that we can find out about the nature of our mental states through introspection. These objections involve, inter alia, the privacy of psychological states and the inherent fallibility of judgments based on introspective awareness. The critique motivates more cautious and effective psychological investigation of mental states, including proper use of subjects’ introspective reports, and a conceptual approach to the philosophy of mind. Wittgenstein’s reflections prefigure much later views about the problematic nature of introspective knowledge; yet, Wittgenstein receives virtually no mention or credit for this work from contemporary writers. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to lay the groundwork for extending the idea of transparent introspection to wishes. First, I elucidate the notion of transparent introspection and highlight its advantages over rival accounts of self-knowledge. Then I pose several problems that seem to obstruct the extension of transparent introspection to wishes. In order to overcome these problems, I call into question the standard propositional attitude analysis of non-doxastic attitudes. My considerations lead to a non-orthodox account of attitudes in general (...) and wishes in particular in light of which the problems presented in Sect. 2 disappear. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker argues that introspection, unlike perception, provides no identification information about the self, and that knowledge of one''s mental states should be conceived as arising in a direct and unmediated fashion from one''s being in those states. I argue that while one does not identify aself as the subject of one''s states, one does frequently identify and misidentify thestates, in ways analogous to the identification of objects in perception, and that in discourse about one''s mental states the self plays (...) the role of external reality in discourse about physical objects. Discourse about any sort of entity or property can be viewed as involving a domain or frame of reference which constrains what can be said about the entities; this view is related to Johnson-Laird''s theory of mental models. On my approach evidence, including sensory evidence, may be involved in decisions about one''s mental states. I conclude that while Shoemaker may well be right about different roles for sense impressions in introspection and perception, the exact differences and their significance remain to be established. (shrink)
Since locke, introspection has been generally defined as a form of observation. this is true, for example, of the classical tradition in psychology exemplified by wundt and titchener. recent experimental work by cognitive psychologists continues to treat introspection as a mode of observation while denying its alleged success in identifying cognitive processes. besides psychologists, philosophers such as james, ryle, and quinton are discussed, and they, too, define introspection as a type of observation analogous to perception. the present article calls attention (...) to other concepts of introspection that are important but that have figured less prominently in the history of philosophy and psychology. it is agreed here that, so far as the goals of self-knowledge and self-control are concerned, a concept of introspection other than that of observation is the significant one. explicating the nature of this alternative concept of introspection and its relevance for self-knowledge is the major aim of the article. (shrink)
‘Introspection’ is a term used by philosophers to refer to a special method or means by which one comes to know certain of one's own mental states; specifically, one's current conscious states. It derives from the Latin ‘spicere’, meaning ‘look’, and ‘intra’, meaning ‘within’; introspection is a process of looking inward. Introspectionist accounts of self-knowledge fall within the broader domain of theories of self-knowledge, understood as views about the nature of and basis for one's knowledge of one's own mental states, (...) including one's beliefs, desires, conscious thinkings, and sensations. Theories of self-knowledge are motivated by the apparent need to account for a number of striking features of at least some such knowledge, which ordinary empirical knowledge, including knowledge of the mental states of others, is typically thought to lack. (shrink)
While John B. Watson articulated the intellectual commitments of behaviorism with clarity and force, wove them into a coherent perspective, gave the perspective a name, and made it a cause, these commitments had adherents before him. To document the origins of behaviorism, this series collects the articles that set the terms of the behaviorist debate, includes the most important pre-Watsonian contributions to objectivism, and reprints the first full text of the new behaviorism. Contents: Functionalism, the Critque of Introspection, and the (...) Nature and Evolution of Consciousness: Theoretical Roots of Early Behaviourism: An Anthology [1842-1914] Robert H. Wozniak (Ed) 360 pp Studies of Animal and Infant Behaviour. the Experimental and Comparative Roots of Early Behaviourism: An Anthology [1840-1911] Robert H. Wozniak (Ed) 412 pp An Introuduction to Comparative Psychology [1894 edition] Conway Lloyd Morgan 628 pp Comparative Physiology of the Brain and Comparative Psychology  Jacques Loeb 342 pp Fundamental Laws of Human Behaviour. Lectures on the foundtions of Any Mental or Social Science  Max F. Meyer 264 pp Behaviour. An Introduction to Comparative Psychology [1914 edition] John B. Watson 482 pp. (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that the faculty of introspection, and the subjective states revealed in introspection, present difficulties to materialism. This paper argues that introspection can be construed physicalistically, and that the states introspected need not be imbued with phenomenally self-revealing qualities. The central argument is that introspected states are identified in terms of the external circumstances in which they occur. It is also argued that this broadly behaviorist perspective can be reconciled with the occurrence of ineffable experiences, and that it (...) presents difficulties for the construal of pleasure offered by classical utilitarianism. (shrink)
The idea that the phenomenal character of experience is determined by non-intentional properties of experience, what philosophers commonly call qualia, seems to conflict with the phenomenology of introspection. Qualia seem to be transparent, or unavailable, to introspection. This has led intentionalists to deny that the phenomenal character of experience is a non-intentional property of experience—to deny there are qualia. It has led qualia realists to deny the transparency of qualia or to question the reliability of introspection. In this paper, I (...) present what I call the problem of transparency and show that it is what lies at the core of this recent debate over the nature of phenomenal experience. The main positions in the qualia debate can be seen as providing solutions to this problem; however, none of these positions recognizes the central role introspection plays in uncovering the nature of experience. (shrink)
We seem to have private privileged access to our own minds through introspection, but what exactly does this involve? Do we somehow literally perceive our own minds, as the common idea of a 'mind's eye' suggests, or are there other processes at work in our ability to know our own minds? Rethinking Introspection offers a new pluralist framework for understanding the nature, scope, and limits of introspection. The book argues that, contrary to common misconceptions, introspection does not consist of a (...) single mechanism but rather a diverse range of mental states and cognitive processes with a broad spectrum of epistemic properties. Building upon this revised conception of introspection, the book illustrates and analyzes the variety of ways in which we introspectively grasp the contents of our own minds, from the immediate phenomenal knowledge generated by conscious experience to the self-deceptive possibilities enabled by certain kinds of inner speech. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
The legacy of Nisbett and Wilson’s classic article, Telling More Than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes , is mixed. It is perhaps the most cited article in the recent history of consciousness studies, yet no empirical research program currently exists that continues the work presented in the article. To remedy this, we have introduced an experimental paradigm we call choice blindness [Johansson, P., Hall, L., Sikström, S., & Olsson, A. . Failure to detect mismatches between intention and (...) outcome in a simple decision task. Science, 310, 116–119.]. In the choice blindness paradigm participants fail to notice mismatches between their intended choice and the outcome they are presented with, while nevertheless offering introspectively derived reasons for why they chose the way they did. In this article, we use word-frequency and latent semantic analysis to investigate a corpus of introspective reports collected within the choice blindness paradigm. We contrast the introspective reasons given in non-manipulated vs. manipulated trials, but find very few differences between these two groups of reports. (shrink)
In this paper I develop the idea that, by answering the question whether p, you can answer the question whether you believe that p. In particular, I argue that judging that p is a fallible yet basic guide to whether one believes that p. I go on to defend my view from an important skeptical challenge, according to which my view would make it too easy to reject skeptical hypotheses about our access to our minds. I close by responding to (...) the opposing view on which our beliefs themselves constitute our only source of first-person access to our beliefs. (shrink)
One central fact about hallucinations is that they may be subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions. Indeed, it has been argued that the hallucinatory experiences concerned cannot— and need not—be characterized in any more positive general terms. This epistemic conception of hallucinations has been advocated as the best choice for proponents of experiential (or “naive realist”) disjunctivism—the view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their introspectible subjective characters. In this chapter, I aim to formulate and defend an intentional alternative to experiential (...) disjunctivism called experiential intentionalism. This view not only enjoys some advantages over its rival but is also compatible with the epistemic conception of hallucinations, as well as with the disjunctivist view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their third-personal structures (e.g., their causal, informational, or reason-providing links to reality). It also maintains that there are actually two aspects to the subjective indistinguishability of mental episodes: (i) we cannot distinguish their first-personal characters in introspective awareness; and (ii) we cannot distinguish their third-personal structures in experiential awareness—that is, in how they are given to consciousness. While experiential disjunctivism makes the mistake of ignoring (ii) and reducing subjective indiscriminability to (i), experiential intentionalism correctly identifies (ii) as the primary source of the subjective indistinguishability of perception-like hallucinations. Accordingly, the intentional error involved in such hallucinations is due to the fact that we consciously experience them as possessing a relational structure. (shrink)