We are acquainted with ourselves

Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2531-2549 (2015)
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I am aware of the rain outside, but only in virtue of looking at a weather report. I am aware of my friend, but only because I hear her voice through my phone. Thus, there are some things that I’m aware of, but only indirectly. Many philosophers believe that there are also some things of which I am directly aware. The most plausible candidates are experiences such as pains, tickles, visual sensations, etc. In fact, the philosophical consensus seems to be that experiences are the only plausible candidates for acquaintance. But I will argue that we are also acquainted with ourselves. After outlining what it means to be acquainted with oneself, I will introduce, develop, and defend a commonly used test for acquaintance. Then I will apply this test to us and show that we pass. I will consider various objections to my argument. But ultimately I will conclude that we can be, and often are, acquainted with ourselves

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Matt Duncan
Rhode Island College


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