In my ‘Mind’s Eye’: introspectionism, detectivism, and the basis of authoritative self-knowledge

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    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3685-3710
    Number of pages26
    JournalSynthese
    Volume191
    Issue number15
    Early online date29 May 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

    Keywords

    • self-knowledge
    • Frist-person authority
    • introspectionism

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