Introspection without Judgment

Erkenntnis 86:407-427 (2021)
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Abstract

The focus of this paper is introspection of phenomenal states, i.e. the distinctively first-personal method through which one can form beliefs about the phenomenology of one’s current conscious mental states. I argue that two different kinds of phenomenal state introspection should be distinguished: one which involves recognizing and classifying the introspected phenomenal state as an instance of a certain experience type, and another which does not involve such classification. Whereas the former is potentially judgment-like, the latter is not. I call them, respectively, reflective introspection and primitive introspection. The purpose of this paper is to argue that primitive introspection is a psychologically real phenomenon. I first introduce the distinction and provide some preliminary motivation to accept it (§1). After some set-up considerations (§2), I present my central argument for the existence of a non-classificatory kind of introspective state (§3), what I call the ‘argument from phenomenal-concept acquisition’. Finally, I briefly present some reasons why my distinction may be important for various philosophical debates (§4).

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Anna Giustina
Universitat de Valencia

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