Topic: Introspection

Camp: Agreement / Epistemic Specialness introspe

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We form beliefs about our own mental states by introspection. How exactly introspection works will be discussed in the next section. But however it works, philosophers have long taken note of the fact that each individual’s introspective capacity seems to place her in a unique position to form beliefs, and gain knowledge, of her own mental states. An individual’s introspective beliefs about her own mental states seem in some way more secure than her beliefs about the external world, including her beliefs about the mental states of other people. Correspondingly, her introspective beliefs about her own mental states seem more secure than the beliefs that anyone else could form about her mental states. In these ways, there seems to be something epistemically special about the beliefs that we form on the basis of introspection. Typically, this specialness has been referred to as the privileged access that we have to our own mental states.To say that an individual has privileged access to her own mental states is to say that she is in a better position than anyone else to acquire knowledge (or perhaps, justified beliefs) about them. But what exactly does privileged access amount to? In this section, of the numerous different claims that philosophers have made in this regard are discussed. (See Alston 1971 for a particularly comprehensive discussion of these and similar claims.)

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Topic Name : Introspection
Namespace : /terminology/

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Camp Name : Epistemic Specialness introspe
Parent Camp : Agreement
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