Do we have introspective access to our own thoughts? Peter Carruthers challenges the consensus that we do: he argues that access to our own thoughts is always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness and sensory imagery. He proposes a bold new theory of self-knowledge, with radical implications for understanding of consciousness and agency.
It is widely believed that people have privileged and authoritative access to their own thoughts. The Opacity of Mind challenges the consensus view and subjects the theories in question to critical scrutiny, while showing that they are not protected against the findings of cognitive science by belonging to a separate 'explanatory space'. Access to our own thoughts is almost always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness of our own circumstances and behavior, together with our own sensory imagery. Peter Carruthers proposes and (...) defends the Interpretive Sensory-Access theory of self-knowledge. This is supported through examination of many different types of evidence from across cognitive science, integrating a diverse set of findings into a single well-articulated theory. One outcome is that there are hardly any kinds of conscious thought. Another is that there is no such thing as conscious agency. (shrink)
Holding content explicitly requires a form of self knowledge. But what does the relevant self knowledge look like? Using theory of mind as an example, this paper argues that the correct answer to this question will have to take into account the crucial role of language based deliberation, but warns against the standard assumption that explicitness is necessary for ascribing awareness. It argues in line with Bayne that intentional action is at least an equally valid criterion for awareness. This (...) leads to a distinction between different levels of implicitness. Postulating these different levels, it is argued, allows us to make better sense of the empirical literature on early false belief task abilities. (shrink)
The philosophical ideal of self-knowledge has been all but forgotten in what Walker Percy calls "the age of theory." Hartle attempts to recover that ancient philosophical task and to articulate what that ideal could mean in the context of our historical situation. She considers and rejects claims that we can attain self-knowledge through theory, anti-theory, or narrative and she defends philosophy as a humanistic, rather than scientific, endeavor. Self-Knowledge in the Age of Theory will be of (...) great interest not only to philosophers but to scholars of literature and other humanities. (shrink)
Bernard Lonergan has argued for a theory of cognition that is transcendentally secure, that is, one such that any plausible attempt to refute it must presuppose its correctness, and one that also grounds a correct metaphysics and ontology. His proposal combines an identity theory of knowledge with an intentional relation between knower and known. It depends in a crucial way upon an appropriation of one’s own cognitional motives and acts, that is, upon “knowing one’s own knowing.” I argue (...) that because of conflicts between the identity and intentionality components of the theory, rational self-appropriation cannot, as Lonergan claims, be an iteration of just the same acts by which we acquire other sorts of knowledge. I propose an amended theory in which the relation between intending-subject and intended-object of first-level cognition becomes, in RSA, a numerical identity of knower and known and of the epistemic and the ontological. (shrink)
Kant's purpose in the Critique of Pure Reason was to describe the nature and set the boundaries of human knowledge. At the heart of this ambitious enterprise is his doctrine of apperceptive self-identity. He insists that in order for us to know anything, there must be a unitary self capable of being aware of its own identity over time. Unfortunately, Kant's descriptions of this unitary 'I think' are extremely obscure, and his accounts of how it functions in the first Critique's (...) overall theory of knowledge are extremely problematical. ;I believe that much of the diversity of opinion about Kant's theory of self-identity has arisen owing to a lack of consensus about what really constitutes an adequate account of self-identity in the first Critique. I contend that an adequate account must satisfy four basic requirements. First, the theory must be compatible with his solutions to certain philosophical problems that emerge in the analysis of ordinary human cognition. Second, the theory must be consistent with the principles underlying his general account of human knowledge. Third, the theory must explain the cognitive relation between the momentary phenomenal self and the transtemporal, a priori unity of apperception. And fourth, it must explain the ontological status of this unitary 'I think'. ;I contend that the key to Kant's theory of apperceptive self-identity is found in his notion of synthesis. I look closely at what synthesis means for Kant, what he does with it in his account of human knowledge, and how his detailed account of objective synthesis may be used to shed light upon his more obscure accounts of the unitary synthesizing agent. I suggest that Kant's theory of apperceptive self-identity may be understood as a more generalized version of his theory of schematism. Both involve the synthetic unification of something pure and actively formal with some empirical and passively given content; and both are intimately connected with the nature of time. I show how these two facts may be used to elucidate the nature of the apperceptive subject, and how Kant's theory is able to satisfy the four requirements. (shrink)
People in the ancient world thought of vision as both an ethical tool and a tactile sense, akin to touch. Gazing upon someone—or oneself—was treated as a path to philosophical self-knowledge, but the question of tactility introduced an erotic element as well. In The Mirror of the Self , Shadi Bartsch asserts that these links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge are key to the classical understanding of the self. Weaving together literary theory, philosophy, and social history, Bartsch traces this (...) complex notion of self from Plato’s Greece to Seneca’s Rome. She starts by showing how ancient authors envisioned the mirror as both a tool for ethical self-improvement and, paradoxically, a sign of erotic self-indulgence. Her reading of the Phaedrus , for example, demonstrates that the mirroring gaze in Plato, because of its sexual possibilities, could not be adopted by Roman philosophers and their students. Bartsch goes on to examine the Roman treatment of the ethical and sexual gaze, and she traces how self-knowledge, the philosopher’s body, and the performance of virtue all played a role in shaping the Roman understanding of the nature of selfhood. Culminating in a profoundly original reading of Medea , The Mirror of the Self illustrates how Seneca, in his Stoic quest for self-knowledge, embodies the Roman view, marking a new point in human thought about self-perception. Bartsch leads readers on a journey that unveils divided selves, moral hypocrisy, and lustful Stoics—and offers fresh insights about seminal works. At once sexy and philosophical, The Mirror of the Self will be required reading for classicists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike. (shrink)
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. Requires signed TDF. ;This work examines some of the epistemological and ontological conditions of the deep self-knowledge that is demanded by the Delphic motto gnothi seauton . The guiding questions are: what is the 'self' that deep self-knowledge is of? What are we such that we can ask deep and puzzling questions about our life-plans, our self-conceptions and the meaning of our lives? Can we know ourselves as we really are, or (...) only under a certain description which conceals as much as it reveals? What is the nature of the relation between self-knowledge and reality? ;The central thesis that is defended is that a person is to a certain extent a self-defining and self-forming being by virtue of his self-knowledge; fundamental changes in how he knows himself, and conceives his way of life, his life-history, emotions, final ends, death etc.--particularly in light of fundamental practical questions --necessarily occasion changes in what he is. What he is at any one moment in his life is in part constituted by his self-knowledge. ;To account for the complex 'inter-relation' between self-knowledge and its object, and the possibility of self-formation, a broadly Kantian theory of constituting activity is developed, as well as a theory of the empirical 'under-determination' of self-knowledge. The peculiarity of self-knowledge is that the knower is the known, and that he is active with respect to the object known ; the object of knowledge and the knowing subject change and extend their range together. This complicates some of the claims of realism and the correspondence theory of truth: self-knowledge is not a matter of the strict conformity of beliefs or conceptions to an independent, determinate and unchanging reality. In Kantian terms, the object of self-knowledge conforms to the conditions of knowledge. ;This broadly Kantian approach is brought to the analysis of Hampshire and Sartre's theories, which are studied as illustrations of the general ontological and epistemological conditions of self-knowledge. Other issues that are discussed include the problem of truth conditions in deep self-knowledge, the agent-observer dualism in self-inquiry, the relational model of the self, and Iris Murdoch's critique of Hampshire and Sartre. (shrink)
Some sociological theories yield self-subverting or 'dangerous' knowledge. The functionalist theory of social deviance provides a case in point. The theory, first formulated by Durkheim, maintains that ostensibly anti-social deviants perform a number of socially indispensable functions. But what would happen if everyone knew this? They would cease to regard deviants as malefactors and would indeed come to esteem them as public benefactors. In that case, however, deviants could no longer perform their proper function. If they are to (...) play the part assigned to them by the theory, most people must remain unaware of their 'true' role in the drama of social life. This gives rise to the paradox of dangerous knowledge: The theory can be true only if its truths are not widely known; widespread ignorance is the precondition of its truth. But then, if its truths must not be publicly known, the theory is a piece of esoterica, not of science. I conclude by considering, and rejecting, several possible solutions to the 'dangerous knowledge' paradox. (shrink)
In this chapter I attempt to curb the pretensions of simulationism. I argue that it is, at best, an epistemological doctrine of limited scope. It may explain how we go about attributing beliefs and desires to others, and perhaps to ourselves, in some cases. But simulation cannot provide the fundamental basis of our conception of, or knowledge of, minded agency.
The problem of self-knowledge is one of the most fascinating in all of philosophy and has crucial significance for the philosophy of mind and epistemology. Gertler assesses the leading theoretical approaches to self-knowledge, explaining the work of many of the key figures in the field: from Descartes and Kant, through to Bertrand Russell and Gareth Evans, as well as recent work by Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, William Lycan and Sydney Shoemaker. -/- Beginning with an outline of the distinction between self-knowledge (...) and self-awareness and providing essential historical background to the problem, Gertler addresses specific theories of self-knowledge such as the acquaintance theory, the inner sense theory, and the rationalist theory, as well as leading accounts of self-awareness. The book concludes with a critical explication of the dispute between empiricist and rationalist approaches. (shrink)
This work identifies Kant’s doctrine of inner sense as a central element within the ‘architectonic of pure reason’ of the first Critique, exposes its variant construals, and considers the implications of its problematicity for Kant’s theoretical philosophy most generally.
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes (...) that external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Achievement (...) without achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)
"Self-knowledge" is commonly used in philosophy to refer to knowledge of one's particular mental states, including one's beliefs, desires, and sensations. It is also sometimes used to refer to knowledge about a persisting self -- its ontological nature, identity conditions, or character traits. At least since Descartes, most philosophers have believed that self-knowledge is importantly different from knowledge of the world external to oneself, including others' thoughts. But there is little agreement about what precisely distinguishes self-knowledge from knowledge in other (...) realms. Partially because of this disagreement, philosophers have endorsed competing accounts of how we acquire self-knowledge. These accounts have important consequences for the scope of mental content, for mental ontology, and for personal identity. (shrink)
Translated by the noted classical scholar Francis M. Cornford, this edition of two masterpieces of Plato's later period features extensive ongoing commentaries by Cornford that provide helpful background information and valuable insights. The Theatetus offers a systematic treatment of the question, "What is knowledge?" with most of the dialogue taking place between Socrates and the student Theatetus. Among the answers they explore: knowledge as perception; knowledge as true belief; knowledge as true belief plus an account (i.e., a justified true belief); (...) as well as variations on each of these answers. The Sophist, a related dialogue, follows Socrates' cross-examination of a self-proclaimed true philosopher, the Stranger from Elea, on the distinction between philosophers, statesmen, and sophists. (shrink)
It is widely accepted that knowledge of certain of one’s own mental states is authoritative in being epistemically more secure than knowledge of the mental states of others, and theories of self-knowledge have largely appealed to one or the other of two sources to explain this special epistemic status. The first, ‘detectivist’, position, appeals to an inner perception-like basis, whereas the second, ‘constitutivist’, one, appeals to the view that the special security awarded to certain self-knowledge is a conceptual matter. I (...) argue that there is a fundamental class of cases of authoritative self-knowledge, ones in which subjects are consciously thinking about their current, conscious intentional states, that is best accounted for in terms of a theory that is, broadly speaking, introspectionist and detectivist. The position developed has an intuitive plausibility that has inspired many who work in the Cartesian tradition, and the potential to yield a single treatment of the basis of authoritative self-knowledge for both intentional states and sensation states. (shrink)
Dretske’s theory of self-knowledge is interesting but peculiar and can seem implausible. He denies that we can know by introspection that we have thoughts, feelings, and experiences. But he allows that we can know by introspection what we think, feel, and experience. We consider two puzzles. The first puzzle, PUZZLE 1, is interpretive. Is there a way of understanding Dretske’s theory on which the (potential) knowledge affirmed by its positive side is different than the (potential) knowledge denied by (...) its negative side? The second puzzle, PUZZLE 2, is substantive. Each of the following theses has some prima facie plausibility: (a) there is introspective knowledge of thoughts, (b) knowledge requires evidence, and (c) there are no experiences of thoughts. It is unclear, though, that these claims form a consistent set. These puzzles are not unrelated. Dretske’s theory of self-knowledge is a potential solution to PUZZLE 2 in that if Dretske’s theory is correct, then (a), (b), and (c) are all true. We provide a solution to PUZZLE 1 by appeal to Dretske’s early work in the philosophy of language on contrastive focus. We then distinguish between “Closure” and “Transmissibility”, and raise and answer a worry to the effect that Dretske’s theory of self-knowledge runs counter to Transmissibility. These results help to secure Dretske’s theory as a viable solution to PUZZLE 2. (shrink)
A RELATIVISTIC THEORY OF PHENOMENOLOCICAL CONSTITUTION: A SELF-REFERENTIAL, TRANSCENDENTAL APPROACH TO CONCEPTUAL PATHOLOGY. (Vol. I: French; Vol. II: English) -/- Steven James Bartlett -/- Doctoral dissertation director: Paul Ricoeur, Université de Paris Other doctoral committee members: Jean Ladrière and Alphonse de Waehlens, Université Catholique de Louvain Defended publically at the Université Catholique de Louvain, January, 1971. -/- Universite de Paris X (France), 1971. 797pp. -/- The principal objective of the work is to construct an analytically precise methodology which can (...) serve to identify, eliminate, and avoid a certain widespread _conceptual fault_ or _misconstruction_, called a "projective misconstruction" or "projection" by the author. It is argued that this variety of error in our thinking (i) infects a great number of our everyday, scientific, and philosophical concepts, claims, and theories, (ii) has largely been undetected, and (iii), when remedied, leads to a less controversial and more rigorous elucidation of the transcendental preconditions of human knowledge than has traditionally been possible. The dissertation identifies, perhaps for the first time, a _projective_ variety of self-referential inconsistency, and proposes an innovative, self-reflexive approach to transcendental argument in a logical and phenomenological context. The strength of the approach lies, it is claimed, in the fact that a rejection of the approach is possible only on pain of self-referential inconsistency. The argument is developed in the following stages: A general introduction identifies the central theme of the work, defines the scope of applicability of the results reached, and sketches the direction of the studies that follow. The preliminary discussion culminates in a recognition of the need for a _critique of impure reason_. The body of the work is divided into two parts: Section I seeks to develop a methodology, on a purely formal basis, which is, on the one hand, capable of being used to study the transcendental foundations of the special sciences, including its own proper transcendental foundation. On the other hand, the methodology proposed is intended as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for dealing with _projective_ uses of concepts. The approach initiates an analysis of concepts from a perspective which views _knowledge as coordination_. Section I describes formal structures that possess the status of preconditions in such a coordinative account of knowledge. Special attention is given to the preconditions of _identifying reference_ to logical particulars. The first section attempts, then, to provide a self-referential, transcendental methodology which is essentially revisionary in that it is motivated by a concern for conceptual error-elimination. Phenomenology, considered in its unique capacity as a self-referential, transcendental discipline, is of special relevance to the study. Section II accordingly examines a group of concepts which come into question in connection with the central theme of _phenomenological constitution_. The "_de-projective methodology_" developed in Section I is applied to these concepts that have a foundational importance in transcendental phenomenology. A translation is, in effect, proposed from the language of consciousness to a language in which preconditions of referring are investigated. The result achieved is the elimination of self-defeating, projective concepts from a rigorous, phenomenological study of the constitutive foundations of science. The dissertation was presented in a two volume, double-language format for the convenience of French and English researchers. Each volume contains an analytical index. (shrink)
How do we know our current states of mind--what we want, and believe in? Jordi Fernández proposes a new theory of self-knowledge, challenging the traditional view that it is a matter of introspection. He argues that we know what we believe and desire by 'looking outward', towards the states of affairs which those beliefs and desires are about.
Arthur Danto’s analytic theory of art relies on a form of artistic interpretation that requires access to the art theoretical concepts of the artworld, ‘an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld’. Art, in what Danto refers to as post-history, has become theoretical, yet it is here contended that his explanation of the artist’s creative style lacks a theoretical dimension. This article examines Danto’s account of style in light of the role the (...) artistic metaphor plays in the interpretation of the artwork, arguing that it is unable to account for the metaphorical power he claims is embedded within the work of art. An artist’s style issues from a unique perspective, the way an artist inhabits a specific spot in history. Though each person has such a perspective, when applied aesthetically, it is the key to the articulation of a unique historical meaning in the work of art. At the same time, artists’ knowledge of their contribution remains cut off from this perspective, for they are unaware of their self-manifestation of the historical concept of style. This article makes the case that Danto’s notion of style, based on Sartre’s notion of being-for-itself, cannot fulfil the role he allots it in his theory because, at some level, artists must apprehend their style to create a work of art capable of functioning critically as a countertext. It is only through the apprehension of their style, and dialogical activity that takes place between the artist and the beholders, that the unseen body of artworld theory is formed. Without this, when oriented to the aesthetic, style provides no concept or theory for the mind to behold. This article presents an alternative approach to style that recognizes the role of theory in the creation of metaphor, which would circumvent this problem. (shrink)
Discussion continues here of a theory I have previously described as being an equivocal remembrance theory of inner awareness, the direct appre-hension of one’s own mental-occurrence instances . O’Shaughnessy claims that we acquire knowledge of each of our experiences as it occurs, yet any occurrent cognitive awareness of it that we may have comes later and is mediated by memory. Thus, acquiring knowledge of an experience firsthand is automatic and silent, not a matter of experientially apprehending the experience. (...) Although O’Shaughnessy does hold that every experience has itself as an object, this is not a matter of a cognitive self-apprehension . O’Shaughnessy’s grounds for his proposal of a nonexperiential acquisition of knowledge of one’s experiences amounts to the claim that to hold otherwise would imply an infinite regress of experiences, for the experience by which we would know of an experience would be itself the object of experience, etc. I argue that neither an appendage theory nor an intrinsic theory of inner awareness, both of which are experiential, sets an experiential regress going. Then, I argue that something experiential would seem to be essential to acquiring firsthand knowledge of one’s experiences according to O’Shaughnessy’s own account of environmental perception. At its core is the thesis that the basic perceptual experience, the primary component of a perception, is a nonconceptual and noncognitive noticing of present sensations produced by environmental items. This first component evokes a second, cognitive component of the experience that is a recognitional awareness of the first component. Only in this way could perception perform its cognitive function, according to the theory, which is to yield knowledge of sensations and their causes in the environment. But the recognitional awareness, the “interpretative” component, clearly is experiential and an inner awareness. Moreover, O’Shaughnessy does not appear to view this component as resulting in an infinite number of inner awarenesses because implicitly he considers it, perhaps, to be intrinsic to the perceptual experience. (shrink)
Kant is well known for claiming that we can never really know our true moral disposition. He is less well known for claiming that the injunction "Know Yourself" is the basis of all self-regarding duties. Taken together, these two claims seem contradictory. My aim in this paper is to show how they can be reconciled. I first address the question of whether the duty of self-knowledge is logically coherent (§1). I then examine some of the practical problems surrounding the duty, (...) notably, self-deception (§2). Finding none of Kant's solutions to the problem of self-deception satisfactory, I conclude by defending a Kantian account of self-knowledge based on his theory of conscience (§3). (shrink)
The theory of mind that medieval philosophers inherit from Augustine is predicated on the thesis that the human mind is essentially self-reflexive. This paper examines Peter John Olivi's (1248-1298) distinctive development of this traditional Augustinian thesis. The aim of the paper is three-fold. The first is to establish that Olivi's theory of reflexive awareness amounts to a theory of phenomenal consciousness. The second is to show that, despite appearances, Olivi rejects a higher-order analysis of consciousness in favor (...) of a same-order theory. The third and final is to show that, on his view, consciousness is both self-intimating and infallible. (shrink)
Bernard Lonergan has argued for a theory of cognition that is transcendentally secure, that is, one such that any plausible attempt to refute it must presuppose its correctness, and one that also grounds a correct metaphysics and ontology. His proposal combines an identity theory of knowledge with an intentional relation between knower and known. It depends in a crucial way upon an appropriation of one’s own cognitional motives and acts, that is, upon “knowing one’s own knowing.” I argue (...) that because of conflicts between the identity and intentionality components of the theory, rational self-appropriation (RSA) cannot, as Lonergan claims, be an iteration of just the same acts by which we acquire other sorts of knowledge. I propose an amended theory in which the relation between intending-subject and intended-object of first-level cognition becomes, in RSA, a numerical identity of knower and known and of the epistemic and the ontological. (shrink)