Cappelen and Dever present a forceful challenge to the standard view that perspective, and in particular the perspective of the firstperson, is a philosophically deep aspect of the world. Their goal is not to show that we need to explain indexical and other perspectival phenomena in different ways, but to show that the entire topic is an illusion.
In recent work on contextdependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. Thus, (...) a sentence like chocolate tastes good would express a proposition p that is true or false not only at a world of evaluation, but relative to the additional parameter as well, such as a parameter of taste or an agent. I will argue that the sentences that apparently give rise to relative truth should be understood by relating them in a certain way to the firstperson. More precisely, such sentences express what I will call firstpersonbased genericity, a form of generalization that is based on or directed toward an essential firstperson application of the predicate. The account differs from standard relative truth account in crucial respects: it is not the truth of the proposition expressed that is relative to the firstperson; the proposition expressed by a sentence with a predicate of taste rather has absolute truth conditions. Instead it is the propositional content itself that requires a firstpersonal cognitive access whenever it is entertained. This account, I will argue, avoids a range of problems that standard relative truth theories of the sentences in question face and explains a number of further peculiarities that such sentences display. (shrink)
In her very interesting ‘First-personal modes of presentation and the problem of empathy’, L. A. Paul argues that the phenomenon of empathy gives us reason to care about the firstperson point of view: that as theorists we can only understand, and as humans only evince, empathy by appealing to that point of view. We are skeptics about the importance of the firstperson point of view, although not about empathy. The goal of this paper (...) is to see if we can account for empathy without the ideology of the firstperson. We conclude that we can. (shrink)
The generic pronoun 'one' (or its empty counterpart, arbitrary PRO) exhibits a range of properties that show a special connection to the firstperson, or rather the relevant intentional agent (speaker, addressee, or described agent). The paper argues that generic 'one' involves generic quantification in which the predicate is applied to a given entity ‘as if’ to the relevant agent himself. This is best understood in terms of simulation, a central notion in some recent developments in the philosophy (...) of mind and cognitive science (Simulation Theory). (shrink)
When people avow their present feelings, sensations, thoughts, etc., they enjoy what may be called “first-person privilege.” If I now said: “I have a headache,” or “I’m thinking about Venice,” I would be taken at my word: I would normally not be challenged. According to one prominent approach, this privilege is due to a special epistemic access we have to our own present states of mind. On an alternative, deflationary approach the privilege merely reflects a socio-linguistic convention governing (...) avowals. We reject both approaches. On our proposed account, a full explanation of the privilege must recognize avowals as expressive performances, which can be taken to reveal directly the subject’s present mental condition. We are able to improve on special access accounts and deflationary accounts, as well as familiar expressive accounts, by explaining both the asymmetries and the continuities between avowals and other pronouncements, and by locating a genuine though non-epistemic source for first-person privilege. (shrink)
First-person data have been both condemned and hailed because of their alleged privacy. Critics argue that science must be based on public evidence: since first-person data are private, they should be banned from science. Apologists reply that first-person data are necessary for understanding the mind: since first-person data are private, scientists must be allowed to use private evidence. I argue that both views rest on a false premise. In psychology and neuroscience, the (...) subjects issuing first-person reports and other sources of first-person data play the epistemic role of a (self-) measuring instrument. Data from measuring instruments are public and can be validated by public methods. Therefore, first-person data are as public as other scientific data: their use in science is legitimate, in accordance with standard scientific methodology. (shrink)
What determines the reference of first-person thoughts—thoughts that one would express using the first-person pronoun? I defend a model on which our ways of gaining knowledge of ourselves do, in much the way that our ways of gaining knowledge of objects in the world determine the reference of perceptual demonstrative thoughts. This model—the Demonstrative Model of First-Person Thought—can be motivated by reference to independently plausible general principles about how reference is determined. But it faces (...) a serious objection. There seems to be an explanatory rival to it with a great deal of plausiblility. The rival is The Simple Rule Model, which says that first-person thoughts are governed by the simple rule that any token of one will be about the person whose token it is. I pinpoint a crucial unclarity in The Simple Rule Model, hinging on how we understand the notion of a rule, and argue that no version of the Simple Rule Model is both plausible and a genuine explanatory rival to the Demonstrative Model. I also provide an argument that the Demonstrative Model is extensionally adequate. (shrink)
Perception is a first-person internal sensation induced within the nervous system at the time of arrival of sensory stimuli from objects in the environment. Lack of access to the first-person properties has limited viewing perception as an emergent property and it is currently being studied using third-person observed findings from various levels. One feasible approach to understand its mechanism is to build a hypothesis for the specific conditions and required circuit features of the nodal points (...) where the mechanistic operation of perception take place for one type of sensation in one species and to verify it for the presence of comparable circuit properties for perceiving a different sensation in a different species. The present work explains visual perception in mammalian nervous system from a first-person frame of reference and provides explanations for the homogeneity of perception of visual stimuli above flicker fusion frequency, the perception of objects at locations different from their actual position, the smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements, the perception of object borders, and perception of pressure phosphenes. Using results from temporal resolution studies and the known details of visual cortical circuitry, explanations are provided for (a) the perception of rapidly changing visual stimuli, (b) how the perception of objects occurs in the correct orientation even though, according to the third-person view, activity from the visual stimulus reaches the cortices in an inverted manner and (c) the functional significance of well-conserved columnar organization of the visual cortex. A comparable circuitry detected in a different nervous system in a remote species-the olfactory circuitry of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster-provides an opportunity to explore circuit functions using genetic manipulations, which, along with high-resolution microscopic techniques and lipid membrane interaction studies, will be able to verify the structure-function details of the presented mechanism of perception. (shrink)
The essays in this volume focus on the notion of the first-person pro-noun ‘I’, the notion of the self or person,1 and the notion of the first-person perspective. Let us call these the three notions. Ever since Descartes set the initial tone in his Meditations, modern philosophical controversies concerning the three notions have continued unabated. Part of the reason for ongoing debates has to do with the sorts of questions that the three notions give rise (...) to. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers have put forth views in the epistemology of disagreement that emphasize the epistemic relevance of the first-person perspective in disa- greement. In the first part of the paper, I attempt a rational reconstruction of these views. I construe these views as invoking the first-person perspective to explain why it is rational for parties to a disagreement to privilege their own opinions in the absence of independent explanations for doing so—to privilege without independent explanations. (...) I reconstruct three ways privilege might be thought to arise: by demotion, through self-trust, and through the epistemic immediacy in the first-person perspective. I argue that none of these ways, and none of the views that make use of them, clarify a compelling account of the epistemic relevance of the first-person perspective. In the second part of the paper, I try to discern some lessons and outline an alternative approach. According to this approach, the epistemic relevance of the first-person perspective is not to explain privilege without independent explanations but to explain the epistemic limits of intersubjective understanding. These limits are manifest in reflective disagreement and explain how other minds matter for one’s own mind in the pursuit of knowledge. The resulting view about the epistemology of disagreement is neither skeptical nor dogmatic, but dialectical, involving an active mental state that conceptualizes not only the subject matter but also one’s own and others’ minds in thinking and rational interaction at the epistemic limits of intersubjective understanding. (shrink)
In The Varieties of Reference, Gareth Evans describes the acquisition of beliefs about one’s beliefs in the following way: ‘I get myself in a position to answer the question whether I believe that p by putting into operation whatever procedure I have for answering the question whether p.’ In this paper I argue that Evans’s remark can be used to explain firstperson authority if it is supplemented with the following consideration: Holding on to the content of a (...) belief and ‘prefixing’ it with ‘I believe that’ is as easy as it is to hold on to the contents of one’s thoughts when making an inference. We do not, usually, have the problem, in going, for example, from ‘p’ and ‘q’ to ‘p and q’, that one of our thought contents gets corrupted. Self-ascription of belief by way of Evans’s procedure is based on the same capacity to retain and re-deploy thought contents and therefore should enjoy a similar degree of authority. However, is Evans’s description exhaustive of all authoritative self-ascriptions of belief Christopher Peacocke has suggested that in addition to Evans’s procedure there are two more relevant ways of self-ascribing belief. I argue that both methods can be subsumed under Evans’s procedure. (shrink)
This paper argues that whereas philosophical discussions of first-person methods often turn on the veridicality of first-person reports, more attention should be paid to the experimental circumstances under which the reports are generated, and to the purposes of designing such experiments. After pointing to the ‘constructedness’ of first-person reports in the science of perception, I raise questions about the criteria by which to judge whether the reports illuminate something about the nature of perception. I (...) illustrate this point with a historical debate between Gestalt psychologist and atomists, both of whom used first-person methods to investigate perception. (shrink)
The traditional account of first- person thought draws conclusions about this type of thinking from claims made about the first- person pronoun. In this paper I raise a worry for the traditional account. Certain uses of ‘I’ conflict with its conception of the linguistic data. I argue that once the data is analysed correctly, the traditional approach to first- person thought cannot be maintained.
Recent social psychology is skeptical about self-knowledge. Philosophers, on the other hand, have produced a new account of the source of the authority of self-ascriptions. On this account, it is not descriptive accuracy but authorship which funds the authority of one's self-ascriptions. The resulting view seems to ensure that self-ascriptions are authoritative, despite evidence of one's fallibility. However, a new wave of psychological studies presents a powerful challenge to the authorship account. This research suggests that one can author one's attitudes, (...) but one's self- ascriptions may lack authority. I present this new challenge from social psychology and use it to argue that first-person authority is agential authority: one's self-ascriptions are authoritative, in part anyway, because they are reliable expressions of those attitudes that govern further choices and behavior. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue that two kinds of first-person-oriented content are distinguished in more ways than usually thought and I propose an account that will shed new light on the distinction. The first kind consists of contents of attitudes de se (in a broad sense); the second kind consists of contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will present new data concerning the two kinds of first-person-oriented content, together with a (...) novel account of propositional content in general, namely based on the notion of an attitudinal object. That notion solves two major problems with Lewis's account of contents of attitudes de se and clarifies the difference between contents of attitudes de se and contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will propose an analysis of contents of the second kind in terms of what I call firstperson-based genericity, a form of genericity most explicitly expressed by sentences with generic one. I show how the overall account explains the particular semantic properties of sentences giving rise to intuitions of relative truth that distinguish them from sentences with expressions interpreted de se. I will start by introducing Lewis's account of attitudes de se and the problems that go along with that account. Introducing the notion of an attitudinal object, I will extend the account by an account of the truth conditions of the content of attitudes de se. I then discuss the second kind of first-person-oriented content, which is associated with intuitions of relative truth, and give an account of such contents on the basis of an analysis of generic one. Again making use of attitudinal objects, I will make clear what exactly distinguishes those contents from first-person-oriented contents of the first sort. (shrink)
Richard Moran’s theory of first-person authority as the agential authority to make up one’s own mind rests on a form of mind-body dualism that does not allow for habituation as part of normal psychological functioning. We have good intuitive and empirical reason to accept that habituation is central to the normal functioning of desire. There is some empirical support for the idea that habituation plays a parallel role in belief. In particular, at least one form of implicit bias (...) seems better understood as a case of habituated belief than as a mere association or an example of what Tamar Gendler calls ‘alief’. If there is to be genuine first-person epistemic authority over persisting mental states, therefore, an alternative account to Moran’s is required in the case of desire and perhaps in the case of belief. More generally, the neglect of habituation in recent philosophy of mind is a symptom of the need for philosophers to take the temporal structure of rational agency more seriously. (shrink)
Without proposing anything quite so grandiose as a return to existentialism, in this paper we aim to articulate and minimally defend certain core existentialist insights concerning the first-person perspective, the relationship between theory and practice, and the mode of philosophical presentation conducive to best making those points. We will do this by considering some of the central methodological objections that have been posed around the role of the first-person perspective and “lived experience” in the contemporary literature, (...) before providing some neo-existentialist rejoinders. We will suggest that the dilemma that contemporary philosophy poses to existentialism, vis-à-vis methodology, is that it is: a) committed to lived experience as some sort of given that might be accessed either introspectively or retrospectively (with empirical science posing prima facie obstacles to the veridicality of each); and/or b) it advocates transformative experiences, and the power of philosophy in connection with such experiences, to radically revise our doxastic and inter-connected web of beliefs. In short, the charge is conservatism on the one hand, radicalism on the other. Each of these concerns will be addressed in turn, utilizing ideas from Kierkegaard (as the source for many existentialist themes, methodological concerns, and formal practices) and from the German and French twentieth century versions of existentialism. (shrink)
The fact that we can engage in first-person discourse about our own mental states seems, intuitively, to be bound up with consciousness. David Rosenthal draws upon this intuition in arguing for his higher-order thought theory of consciousness. Rosenthal's argument relies upon the assumption that the truth-conditions for "p" and "I think that p" differ. It is argued here that the truth-conditional schema debars "I think" from playing one of its roles and thus is not a good test for (...) what is asserted when "I think" is employed in making an assertoric utterance. The critique of Rosenthal's argument allows us to make explicit the intuitions which shape higher-order representation theories of consciousness in general. Consciousness and first-person mental discourse seem to be connected primarily because consciousness is an epistemic term, used to denote first-person knowledge of minds. Higher-order thought theories of consciousness draw upon this epistemic notion of consciousness, and because self-knowledge seems to involve higher-order representation, the higher-order theorist can deploy what is in effect an "error theory" about conscious experience disguised as a kind of conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of a conscious mental state. The conclusion reached is that there is unlikely to be a simple or direct path from considerations about mental discourse to conclusions about the nature of consciousness. (shrink)
In this paper, I will provide a counterexample to Recanati's account of first-person communication (1995, 2010, 2012). In particular, I will show that Recanati's constraints are not sufficient for the success of first-person communication. My argument against Recanati's account is parallel to Recanati's argument against neo-Russellian accounts, and shows that the same problem resurfaces even in the presence of linguistically encoded mode of presentation in a neo-Fregean framework of mental files.
The question asked in this paper is: How can we investigate our phenomenal experience in ways that are accurate, in principle repeatable, and produce experiences that help clarify what we understand about the processes of sensing, perceiving, moving, and being in the world? This sounds like an impossible task, given that introspection has so often in scientific circles been considered to be unreliable, and that first-person accounts are often coloured by mistaken ideas about what and how we are (...) experiencing. The first-person experiments I suggest are different from experiments done in the psychology laboratory in that there is no narrowing down of the experiments to looking at a singular aspect of a question, and that they are to be carried out in most instances in a natural or specially structured environment without strict task controls or statistical experimental design. There is no intent to replace formal second- and third-person investigation, but to use a phenomenological approach to conjoin with hard research, and to suggest ways of awareness training that can enhance the skills of researchers. I take as a model an informal phenomenological approach for experimentation. I also suggest that it is possible through directing and broadening the attention process to turn consciousness towards what is non-conscious or unattended to in order to develop an improved sensory awareness and an ability to be open to experiencing without prejudging and without expectations. The idea is to go back to experience without first creating a theoretical stance from which to interpret what happens. I conclude with some other examples of this approach. (shrink)
First-person methodologies have been criticized for their inability to arrive at reliable and verifiable knowledge of the contents of conscious experience. Consciousness, however, is not its contents, but the cognitive capacity that makes those contents available. That capacity is directly and uniquely accessible to first-person inquiry, provided a suitable methodology can be developed. As a framework for such inquiry, this paper distinguishes two structures that give rise to conscious contents: narrative and story. While narratives are told, (...) stories are inhabited. Stories are fundamental to conscious experience: an event is conscious only if it fits the presently unfolding story. While third-person inquiry relies on withdrawing from story into narrative, first-person inquiry can take place within the story. In place of the reductive objectivity of third-person science, first-person inquiry can cultivate an engaged objectivity, immersed in the story but not bound to it, that makes the phenomenon of consciousness available to be known. Communities of inquiry practising such a first-person style of inquiry could develop criteria for assessing advances in knowledge and for research programmes appropriate to furthering such advances. (shrink)
This paper provides a concise description and discussion of bottom–up and top–down approaches to misattribution of agency in schizophrenia. It explores if first-person accounts of passivity phenomena can provide support for one of these approaches. The focus is on excerpts in which the writers specifically examine their experiences of external influence. None of the accounts provides arguments that fit easily with only one of the possible approaches, which is in line with current attempts to theoretical integration.
In Values and the Reflective Point of View (2006), Robert Dunn defends a certain expressivist view about evaluative beliefs from which some implications about self-knowledge are explicitly derived. He thus distinguishes between an observational and a deliberative attitude towards oneself, so that the latter involves a purely first-person point of view that gives rise to an especially authoritative, but wholly non-observational, kind of self-knowledge. Even though I sympathize with many aspects of Dunn's approach to evaluative beliefs and also (...) with his stress on the practical significance of self-knowledge, I argue that his proposal seriously misinterprets the role of observation and evidence within the first-person point of view and, derivatively, in the formation of evaluative beliefs. (shrink)
Roughly, behaviorist accounts of self-knowledge hold that first persons acquire knowledge of their own minds in just the same way other persons do: by means of behavioral evidence. One obvious problem for such accounts is that the fail to explain the great asymmetry between the authority of firstperson as opposed to other person attributions of thoughts and other mental states and events. Another is that the means of acquisition seems so different: other persons must infer (...) my mental contents from my behavior, whereas I need not. In this paper, I articulate a specifically Sellarsian behavioristic account of our knowledge of our own and others’ minds, and defend it against these two obvious objections. I further defend it against objections from Davidson, to the effect that Sellars’ account in particular cannot properly formulate the asymmetry at issue, and that behaviorism in general cannot account for the a priori character of the asymmetry. I argue that Davidson misinterprets Sellars at key points, and also misconstrues his own explanandum: What Sellars account can explain is an asymmetry in the reliability of first and other person attributions, but this asymmetry is not a priori. What is a priori is an asymmetry in the practice of according epistemic authority to such attributions. I argue that this asymmetry is what Davidson can and does explain, by appeal to the constitutive features of radical interpretation. But accepting this explanation does not require the rejection of Sellars’ account of the way that first and other persons in fact arrive at beliefs about their mental contents. The two approaches — one descriptive and empirical, the other constitutive and ideal — are compatible. (shrink)
It is generally acknowledged that confabulation undermines the authority of self-attribution of mental states. But why? The mainstream answer is that confabulation misrepresents the actual state of one’s mind at some relevant time prior to the confabulatory response. This construal, we argue, rests on an understanding of self-attribution as first-person mindreading. Recent developments in the literature on folk psychology, however, suggest that mental state attribution also plays an important role in regulating or shaping future behaviour in conformity with (...) normative expectations. We explore an analogue understanding of self-attribution of mental states in terms of first-person mindshaping. The main aim of this paper is to explore how this insight alters the implications of empirical confabulation studies on first-person authority. We also indicate how this sheds new light on the phenomenon of confabulation itself. (shrink)
: Traditional accounts regard the first-person pronoun as a special token-reflexive indexical whose referent, the utterer, is identified by the linguistic rule expressed by the term plus the context of utterance. This view falls short in accounting for all the I-uses in narrative practices, a domain broader than fiction including storytelling, pretense, direct speech reports, delayed communication, the historical present, and any other linguistic act in which the referent of the indexical is not perceptually accessible to the receiver. (...) I propose a model for the reference of “I” based on the distinction between three functions carried out by indexicals in communication, namely, the anaphoric, perceptual, and phantasmatic functions. The referential mechanism of the phantasmatic “I”, that is, the “I” used in phantasmatic function, is understood as an instance of imagination-oriented pointing exploiting the phantasmatic context, and not the perceptual context relevant in perceptual uses of indexicals. The rule for “I” is revised in light of the perceptual vs. phantasmatic deixis distinction; the resulting rule governing the reference of the phantasmatic “I” allows for a homogeneous treatment of ‘I’-tokens in narrative practices spanning the spectrum from fiction to non-fiction. Keywords : First-person Pronoun; Context; Imagination; Fiction; Indexicals; Narration; L'io fantasmatico. Sull’uso immaginativo del pronome di prima persona tra finzione e realtà Riassunto : Tradizionalmente “io” viene trattato come un indicale token-riflessivo speciale il cui referente, il produttore dell’occorrenza, è identificato attraverso la sola regola linguistica e il contesto di proferimento. Questo approccio, tuttavia, non riesce a rendere conto di quei casi in cui “io” appare all’interno di pratiche di narrazione, un dominio più ampio della finzione e che include lo storytelling, i racconti in discorso diretto e indiretto, la comunicazione differita, il presente storico e ogni altro atto linguistico in cui il referente indicale non è percettivamente accessibile al ricevente. Il modello per il riferimento di “io” qui proposto si basa sulla distinzione tra tre funzioni svolte dagli indicali nella comunicazione: la funzione anaforica, la funzione percettiva, e la funzione fantasmatica. Il meccanismo referenziale dell’io fantasmatico, ovvero del pronome di prima persona usato in funzione fantasmatica, è inteso come una istanza di deissi orientata dall’immaginazione che sfrutta il contesto fantasmatico, piuttosto che il contesto percettivo rilevante negli usi percettivi degli indicali. La regola per “io” è riformulata alla luce della distinzione tra deissi fantasmatica e deissi percettiva; la risultante regola per il riferimento indicale dell’io fantasmatico permette un trattamento omogeneo delle occorrenze di “io” nelle pratiche di narrazione che pertengono indistintamente alla finzione e alla realtà. Parole chiave : Pronome di prima persona; Contesto; Immaginazione; Finzione; Indicali; Narrazione. (shrink)
Although Descartes apparently needs firstperson authority for his anti-skeptical project, his scattered remarks on it appear to be inconsistent. Why did he neglect this issue? According to E M Aurley, Descartes was answering Pyrrhonian skeptics, who could not consistently challenge him on it. This paper argues instead that Descartes assumed that his firstperson premises were certain qua clear and distinct perceptions, leaving firstperson authority a side issue.
The Jamesian streams of consciousness are each made up of states of consciousness one at a time in tight temporal succession except when a stream stops flowing momentarily or for a longer time. These pulses of mentality are typically complex in the sense of their possessing, each of them, many ingredients or features. But, also, every state of consciousness is, in a different sense, simple: a unitary awareness, a single mental act. Although unitary, a state of consciousness often has many (...) objects, which have some kind of existence, past, present, or future, or which are nonexistent, merely apparent, only imaginary. The problem concerning the intrinsic nature of states of consciousness is what they are themselves, not what they are about or what they may seem to be about, but what are their own intrinsic properties. For example, in my view, conscious states are, literally, certain occurrent states of the brain. In James’s different view, conscious states are mental in the sense of nonphysical yet directly produced by the total brain process or by a substantial part of it. In our attempts to determine the intrinsic properties of states of consciousness, we are well advised to attend to our inner awareness of them. Any true statement about a state of consciousness that we may succeed in formulating from the first-person perspective is, in my view, a fact concerning a brain state and may help us to learn which among the occurrent brain states are actually the states of consciousness. Their being unitary awarenesses is among the facts we know firsthand about the states of consciousness. I can think of no instance of such a state that is missing the property of intentionality, the property of its being at least as though about something. Also, although we may distinguish various ingredients belonging to a state of consciousness — a state can be, for example, an auditory, a visual, a sexual, a memorial, and an anticipatory experience, all at the same time — these ingredients are not apprehended side by side, but as integrated together in a unitary state. It will be argued that how we find firsthand a state of consciousness to be is illusory, that any such state is actually made up of separate processes. But this claim has its own problems, including having to explain the difference between two simultaneous states of consciousness belonging each of them to a different stream and an integral state that includes several different kinds of experience. (shrink)
Ordinarily when someone tells us something about her beliefs, desires or intentions, we presume she is right. According to standard views, this deferential trust is justified on the basis of certain epistemic properties of her assertion. In this paper, I offer a non-epistemic account of deference. I first motivate the account by noting two asymmetries between the kind of deference we show psychological self-ascriptions and the kind we grant to epistemic experts more generally. I then propose a novel agency-based (...) account of deference. Drawing on recent work on self-knowledge, I argue that a person normally has a distinctive type of cognitive agency; specifically she is able to constitute her psychological attitudes by making judgments about what they ought to be. I then argue that a speaker expresses this agentive authority when she self-ascribes a psychological attitude and this is what justifies deferentially trusting what she says. Because the notion of expression plays a central role in this account, I contrast it with recent neo-expressivist theories. (shrink)
The well-known experiments of Nisbett and Wilson lead to the conclusion that we have no introspective access to our decision-making processes. Johansson et al. have recently developed an original protocol consisting in manipulating covertly the relationship between the subjects’ intended choice and the outcome they were presented with: in 79.6% of cases, they do not detect the manipulation and provide an explanation of the choice they did not make, confirming the findings of Nisbett and Wilson. We have reproduced this protocol, (...) while introducing for some choices an expert guidance to the description of this choice. The subjects who were assisted detected the manipulation in 80% of cases. Our experiment confirms Nisbett and Wilson’s findings that we are usually unaware of our decision processes, but goes further by showing that we can access them through specific mental acts. (shrink)
How are we to explain the authority we have in pronouncing on our own thoughts? A 'constitutive' theory, on which a second-level belief may help to constitute the first-level state it is about, has considerable advantages, for example in relieving pressures towards dualism. The paper aims to exploit an analogy between authority in performative utterances and authority on the psychological to get a clearer view of how such a constitutive account might work and its metaphysical presuppositions.
The orthodox view in the study of representation is that a strictly third-person objective methodology must be employed. The acceptance of this methodology is shown to be a fundamental and debilitating error. Toward this end I defend what I call.
Here are some sentences from Fred Dretske's book Naturalising the Mind: For a materialist there are no facts that are accessible to only one person … If the subjective life of another being, what it is like to be that creature, seems inaccessible, this must be because we fail to understand what we are talking about when we talk about its subjective states. If S feels some way, and its feeling some way is a material state, how can it (...) be impossible for us to know how S feels? Though each of us has direct information about our own experiences, there is no privileged access. If you know where to look, you can get the same information I have about the character of my experiences. This is a result of thinking about the mind in naturalistic terms. Subjectivity becomes part of the objective order. For materialists, this is as it should be. (shrink)
Donald Davidson aims to illuminate the concept of meaning by asking: What knowledge would suffice to put one in a position to understand the speech of another, and what evidence sufficiently distant from the concepts to be illuminated could in principle ground such knowledge? Davidson answers: knowledge of an appropriate truth-theory for the speaker’s language, grounded in what sentences the speaker holds true, or prefers true, in what circumstances. In support of this answer, he both outlines such a truth-theory for (...) a substantial fragment of a natural language and sketches a procedure—radical interpretation—that, drawing on such evidence, could confirm such a theory. Bracketing refinements (e.g., those introduced to.. (shrink)
I here adapt some ideas of Prior’s 1967 paper ‘On spurious egocentricity’ in the interest of seeing how much sense can be made of the doctrine that ‘I’ is not a referring-expression. I suggest how an account of ‘I’ might draw upon both Prior’s treatment of the operator ‘I believe that’ and of operators like ‘it is true that’ and ‘it is now the case that’, which Prior argues are logically very different from ‘I believe that’. In the final section (...) I present some objections to Prior’s account of ‘now’, and try to give a more adequate account of the analogy between ‘now’ and ‘I’. (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)
Proponents of mindshaping argue that third-person folk psychology is not primarily about "reading" mental states for the purpose of behavior prediction and explanation. Instead, they claim that third-person folk psychology is first and foremost a regulative practice -- one that "shapes" mental states in accordance with the norms of a shared folk psychological framework. This paper investigates to what extent the core assumptions behind the mindshaping hypothesis are compatible with an account of first-person folk psychology (...) that is based on the notion of "self-regulative agency.". (shrink)
Davidson and Burge have claimed that the conditions under which self-knowledge is possessed are such that externalism poses no obstacle to their being met by ordinary speakers and thinkers. On their accounts. no such person could fail to possess self-knowledge. But we do from time to time attribute to each other such failures; so we should prefer to their accounts an account that preserves firstperson authority while allowing us to make sense of what appear to be (...) true attributions of such failures.While the core idea behind Davidson’s and Burge’s accounts appears inadequate to this task, I argue that it can be deployed in such a way as to deliver the desired result. What makes this possible is that two attitude-types can differ as follows: the self-knowledge required for an utterance to be a Φing that p is different from the self-knowledge required for it to be a Ψing that p. (shrink)
There has been a movement recently to bring to bear on the conduct of philosophical thought experiments 1 the empirical techniques of the social sciences, that is, to treat their conduct as in the nature of an anthropological investigation into the application conditions of the concepts of a group of subjects. This is to take a third person, in contrast to the traditional ﬁrstperson, approach to conceptual analysis. This has taken the form of conducting surveys about (...) scenarios used in thought experiments.2 It has been called “experimental philosophy” by its practitioners and has been applied across a range of ﬁelds: the philosophy of language, the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics.3 The results of these surveys have been used to support conclusions about the application conditions of particular concepts of interest in philosophy. They have also been used to support skeptical claims about the traditional approach to conceptual analysis. The. (shrink)
Before one can even begin to model consciousness and what exactly it means that it is a subjective phenomenon one needs a theory about what a first-person perspective really is. This theory has to be conceptually convincing, empirically plausible and, most of all, open to new developments. The chosen conceptual framework must be able to accommodate scientific progress. Its ba- sic assumptions have to be plastic as it were, so that new details and empirical data can continuously be (...) fed into the theoretical model as it grows and becomes more refined. This paper makes an attempt at sketching the outlines of such a theory, offering a representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-person perspective. Three phenomenal target properties are centrally relevant. (shrink)
A first-person proposition is a proposition that only a single subject can assert or believe. When I assert ‘I am on fire’ I assert a first-person proposition that only I have access to, in the sense that no one else can assert or believe this proposition. This is in contrast to third-person propositions, which can be asserted or believed by anyone.