Self-Interpretation and Confabulation

Peter Carruthers

in The Opacity of Mind

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596195
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731549 | DOI:
Self-Interpretation and Confabulation

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This chapter examines one of the central predictions of the interpretive sensory-access (ISA) theory of self-knowledge. Since the theory claims that our only access to our thoughts and thought processes is interpretive, relying on sensory, situational, and behavioral cues, there should be frequent instances where the presence of misleading data of these sorts leads us to attribute attitudes to ourselves mistakenly. And just as predicted, there turn out to be numerous circumstances where people will confabulate about their attitudes. A variety of forms of evidence are examined, focusing especially on the self-perception and dissonance traditions in social psychology. While transparent-access theories can attempt to accommodate the data by embracing a dual-method account, none are capable of explaining the patterning in the data.

Keywords: confabulation; counter-attitudinal; dissonance; dual-method; expressivism; inner sense; interpretive; self-interpretation; self-perception; working memory

Chapter.  22439 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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