Chapter

Does Perception Do Any Work in an Understanding of the First Person?

John Campbell

in The Self and Self-Knowledge

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199590650
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741043 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590650.003.0005
Does Perception Do Any Work in an Understanding of the First Person?

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Knowledge of what it is for one of one’s psychological states to be causing another depends on one’s having an understanding of what happens when there is an external intervention on one’s mental life. It is our understanding of perception that provides us with our grasp of the prototypical interventions on our mental life; these interventions cannot be interpreted in agentive terms, it is a matter of the world acting on one’s beliefs, not an agent acting on one’s beliefs. There is a distinction between ‘surgical’ and ‘silencing’ interventions on one’s mental life, and the paper argues that ‘silencing’ interventions are what matter for non-inferential perceptual knowledge. Grasp of the role of perception in providing these ‘silencing’ interventions is essential to an understanding of one’s own causal structure, and thus it is essential to an understanding of the first person.

Keywords: Mental causation; first person; self-knowledge; perception; interventions; perceptual knowledge; silencing

Chapter.  9567 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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