Book

The Opacity of Mind

Peter Carruthers

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596195
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731549 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596195.001.0001
The Opacity of Mind

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It is widely believed in philosophy that people have privileged and authoritative access to their own thoughts, and many theories have been proposed to explain this supposed fact. This book 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”. The book argues that our 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 (including inner speech). In fact our access to our own thoughts is no different in principle from our access to the thoughts of other people, utilizing the conceptual and inferential resources of the same “mindreading” faculty, and relying on many of the same sources of evidence. The book proposes and defends the Interpretive Sensory-Access (ISA) theory of self-knowledge. This is supported through comprehensive 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.

Keywords: authority; conscious; expressivism; inner sense; interpretation; introspection; metacognition; mindreading; privilege; propositional attitude; self-knowledge; sensory-access; thought; transparent; working memory

Book.  448 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Opacity of Mind

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Inner Sense Theories in The Opacity of Mind

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Mindreading in Mind in The Opacity of Mind

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Metacognition and Control in The Opacity of Mind

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Dissociation Data in The Opacity of Mind

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