Introspection, What?

Eric Schwitzgebel

in Introspection and Consciousness

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199744794
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933396 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

Introspection, What?

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Introspection is not a single process but a plurality of processes. It’s a plurality both within and between cases: Most individual introspective judgments arise from a plurality of processes (that’s the within-case claim), and the collection of processes issuing in introspective judgments differs from case to case (that’s the between-case claim). Introspection is not the operation of a single cognitive mechanism or small collection of mechanisms. Introspective judgments arise from a shifting confluence of many processes, recruited opportunistically. Introspection is the dedication of central cognitive resources, or attention, to the task of arriving at a judgment about one’s current, or very recently past, conscious experience, using or attempting to use some capacities that are unique to the first-person case, with the aim or intention that one’s judgment reflect some relatively direct sensitivity to the target state. Cases discussed include visual experience, emotion, and auditory imagery.

Keywords: introspection; self-knowledge; consciousness; imagery; sensory experience; emotion; auditory imagery

Chapter.  7858 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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