Speaking Sense: A Hybrid Source of Justification for Self-Knowledge

Episteme (forthcoming)
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Nico Silins (2012, 2013, 2020) argues that conscious judgments justify self-attribution of belief in the content judged. In defending his view, he makes use of Moore’s Paradox, seeking to show how his theory can explain what seems irrational or absurd about sentences of the form, ‘p and I do not believe that p’. I show why his argument strategy is not available to defend the view that conscious judgments can justify the self-attribution of belief in the content judged. I then propose an amended version of his theory, which holds that sincerely asserting a proposition—whether aloud or silently—justifies self-ascribing belief in the proposition expressed. In doing so, I draw on an argument which I made in Gregory (2018) that there is something it is like to make a sincere assertion which is different from what it is like to make an insincere assertion. The phenomenology of sincere assertion provides immediate justification for self-ascription of belief in a proposition which has been sincerely asserted; nonetheless, it may be that we need to interpret our own assertions in order to determine which propositions they express. This paves the way for showing how two competing schools of thought about self-knowledge—one which holds that self-knowledge is immediate and one which holds that self-knowledge is inferential—might be combined.

Author's Profile

Daniel Gregory
University of Salzburg


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