Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 7, pp 1737–1758 | Cite as

Introspective misidentification

  • Peter Langland-Hassan


It is widely held that introspection-based self-ascriptions of mental states are immune to error through misidentification (IEM), relative to the first person pronoun. Many have taken such errors to be logically impossible, arguing that the immunity holds as an “absolute” necessity. Here I discuss an actual case of craniopagus twins—twins conjoined at the head and brain—as a means to arguing that such errors are logically possible and, for all we know, nomologically possible. An important feature of the example is that it is one where a person may be said to be introspectively aware of a mental state that occurs outside of her own mind. Implications are discussed for views of the relation between introspection and mental state ownership, and between introspection and epistemic criteria for the “mark of the mental.”


Introspection Immunity to error Self-knowledge IEM 



Versions of this paper were presented at the Fifth Consciousness Online conference and at the 2013 meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Special thanks to Richard Brown, Max Seeger, Elizabeth Schechter, Annalisa Coliva, John Schwenkler, Joel Smith, and Serife Tekin for their valuable criticisms and suggestions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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