On the unreliability of introspection
- 390 Downloads
In his provocative and engaging new book, Perplexities of Consciousness, Eric Schwitzgebel makes a compelling case that introspection is unreliable in the sense that we are prone to ignorance and error in making introspective judgments about our own conscious experience. My aim in this commentary is to argue that Schwitzgebel’s thesis about the unreliability of introspection does not have the damaging implications that he claims it does for the prospects of a broadly Cartesian approach to epistemology.
KeywordsIntrospection Self-knowledge Consciousness Experience Unreliability Brute error Basing error Cartesian epistemology Eric Schwitzgebel
Thanks to Eric Schwitzgebel, Daniel Stoljar and an audience at the Pacific Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in April 2012 for helpful comments and discussion.
- Burge, T. (1988). Individualism and self-knowledge. Journal of Philosophy, 85, 649–663.Google Scholar
- Schwitzgebel, E. (2011). Perplexities of consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Schwitzgebel, E. (2012). Introspection, what? In D. Smithies & D. Stoljar (Eds.), Introspection and consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Smithies, D. (forthcoming). The role of experience in a priori justification. Synthese.Google Scholar