Advertisement

The ‘Crux’ of Internal Promptings

  • Patrizia Pedrini
Chapter
Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 96)

Abstract

In Self-Knowledge for Humans (2014), Cassam defends a quite broad inferentialist theory of substantial third-person self-knowledge, which he promises to extend to virtually all mental states, including the so-called “internal promptings” (Lawlor 2009). Internal promptings are spontaneous, self-intimated experiential episodes that may not always be phenomenologically salient, or conceptually clearly subsumed, to the extent that the subject may not always be able to identify them. According to Cassam, however, their spontaneous surfacing does not preclude our access to them actually being inferential.

I question the claim that internal promptings can really be covered by an inferentialist theory of self-knowledge. While I agree with Coliva (2016) that an inferentialist theory of self-knowledge does not in fact apply to self-knowledge of internal promptings, I show that this failure does not depend on lacking a story about how inferentialism can be extended to first-person self-knowledge, as Coliva diagnoses. Rather, Cassam’s theory is flawed by an independent, and precedent, amphiboly fallacy affecting the concept of self-knowledge he makes use of. That is why Coliva’s objection may not apply immediately, even if her verdict on the non-extensibility of an inferentialist theory of self-knowledge to internal promptings is unaffected.

I also raise and discuss the issue of under-determination of inner experience with respect to conceptual schemes. Finally, by taking stock of the intrinsically elusive nature of a vast portion of our own mental states, I express sympathy for a wider geography of the mental.

Keywords

Third-person self-knowledge First-person self-knowledge Self-interpretation Internal promptings Internal evidence Unconceptualized mental states 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Julie Kirsch for comments and revisions on an early draft of this chapter.

References

  1. Boyle, M. 2015. Critical study: Cassam on self-knowledge for humans. European Journal of Philosophy 23 (2): 337–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carruthers, P. 2009. How we know our own minds: The relationship between mindreading and metacognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32: 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ———. 2011. The opacity of the mind: An integrative theory of self-knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Carter, J.A., and D. Prichard. 2018. Extended self-knowledge. In third-person self-knowledge, self-interpretation, and narrative, ed. Patrizia Pedrini and Julie Kirsch. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Cassam, Q. 2014. Self-knowledge for humans. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Coliva, A. 2015. Review of Quassim Cassam self-knowledge for humans. Analysis.  https://doi.org/10.1093/analys/anv078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. ———. 2016. The varieties of self-knowledge. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2018. In Self-knowing interpreters. In third-person self-knowledge, self-interpretation, and narrative, ed. Patrizia Pedrini and Julie Kirsch. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Funkhouser, R. 2005. Do the self-deceived get what they want? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86: 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kirsch, J. 2015. Review of Quassim Cassam Self-Knowledge for Humans. Philosophy in Review 4: 188–190.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2018. In Interpreting things past. In third-person self-knowledge, self-interpretation, and narrative, ed. Patrizia Pedrini and Julie Kirsch. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Lawlor, K. 2009. Knowing what one wants. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79: 47–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McDowell, J. 1994. Mind and world. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Mele, A. 2001. Self-deception unmasked. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Noordhof, P. 2009. The essential instability of self-deception. Social Theory and Practice 35-1: 45–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Peacocke, C. 1999. Being known. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pedrini, P. 2009. Epistemologia dell’autoconoscenza. Pisa: ETS.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2013. L’autoinganno. Che cos’è e come funziona. Roma-Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  19. Renz, U. 2017. Self-knowledge as personal achievement. Proceedings of the Aristotelian society cxvii., part 3.  https://doi.org/10.1093/arisoc/aox012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rudder Baker, L. 2013. Naturalism and the first-person perspectives. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Schwitzgebel, E. 2008. The unreliability of naive introspection. Philosophical Review 117 (2): 245–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shoemaker, S. 1994a. Self-knowledge and ‘inner sense’: Lecture I: The object-perception model. Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 54 (2): 249–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ———. 1994b. Self-knowledge and ‘inner sense’: Lecture II: The broad perceptual model. Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 54 (2): 271–290.Google Scholar
  24. ———. 1994c. Self-knowledge and ‘inner sense’: Lecture III: The phenomenal character of experience. Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 54 (2): 291–314.Google Scholar
  25. Sims, A. 2018. In Causal inference in the clinical setting: Why the cognitive science of folk psychology matters. In third-person self-knowledge, selfinterpretation, and narrative, ed. Patrizia Pedrini and Julie Kirsch. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Zawidzki, T.W. 2018. In Self-interpretation as software: Toward a new understanding of why false self-conceptions persist. In third-person selfknowledge, self-interpretation, and narrative, ed. Patrizia Pedrini and Julie Kirsch. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Pedrini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Letters and PhilosophyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations