On the Phenomenology of Introspection

Charles Siewert

in Introspection and Consciousness

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

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

On the Phenomenology of Introspection

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An account of introspection is proposed that features notions of phenomenal consciousness and attention. Though it rejects theories of inner sense, it aims to do justice to the source of their appeal. It argues that a distinction between sensing and thinking cannot be drawn beyond the first-order level of mind. For no ‘sensing of one’s own sensing’ is phenomenologically discernible but a sensing that coincides with what is sensed: no ‘objectual sensing’ or ‘registration’ beyond the first-order is found and none need be postulated. But we should acknowledge there is a special introspective form of attention involved in ‘identifying for recognition’ one’s own phenomenal features, and in having ‘recognitional concepts’ of them. This attention is cognitive rather than sensory, and essentially involves no ‘turn inward,’ but can be at once attention both to one’s surroundings and to one’s experience. Warrant for first-person judgment is rooted in the tie between this and a legitimate presumption of semantic competence in speaking of one’s own experience. This helps illuminate how critical first-person reflection on experience (i.e. phenomenology) is possible.

Keywords: attention; first-person warrant; higher-order perception; inner sense; introspection; phenomenal consciousness; phenomenology; sensing

Chapter.  19479 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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