How to Think about Phenomenal Self-Knowledge

Paul Snowdon

in The Self and Self-Knowledge

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199590650
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741043 | DOI:
How to Think about Phenomenal Self-Knowledge

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The paper attempts to analyse one sort of self knowledge, that of our phenomenal states, by engaging with Crispin Wright’s approach in his Whitehead Lectures. It is argued that his distinction between phenomenal and attitudinal self knowledge is inadequately drawn but that we can pick out the phenomenal case well enough to know what we are dealing with. It is then argued that Wright’s theses which are presented by characterizing avowals are formulated at the wrong level and are also probably wrong. Further, when we formulate theses at the right level that match Wright’s claims, they seem open to similar counterexamples. It is suggested that our beliefs about our own experiences can be mistaken, and that we can be ignorant about the character of our experiences. A serious question remains about how we know about our own experiences, and something is proposed in response to that difficult question.

Keywords: Avowals; Incorrigibility; self-intimatingness; ways of knowing; Crispin Wright

Chapter.  11300 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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