Self-Knowledge for Humans, by Quassim Cassam [Book Review]

Mind 125 (497):269-280 (2016)
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With this provocative book, Quassim Cassam aspires to reorient the philosophical study of self-knowledge so as to bring its methodology and subject matter into line with recognizably human concerns. He pursues this reorientation on two fronts. He proposes replacing what he sees as the field’s standard subject, an ideally rational being he calls Homo Philosophicus, with a more realistic Homo Sapiens. And he proposes shifting the field’s primary focus from ‘narrow epistemological concerns’ to issues reflecting ‘what matters to humans’, such as knowledge of one’s own character and the moral significance of self-knowledge. Cassam also contributes to this field: he advances an inferentialist account of self-knowledge and a moderate instrumentalism about self-knowledge’s value.

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Brie Gertler
University of Virginia


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