Self-knowledge about attitudes: rationalism meets interpretation

Philosophical Explorations 18 (2):183-198 (2015)
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Recently influential “rationalist” views of self-knowledge about our rational attitudes hold that such self-knowledge is essentially connected to rational agency, and therefore has to be particularly reliable, immediate, and distinct from third-personal access. This approach has been challenged by “theory theory” or “interpretationist” views of self-knowledge: on such views, self-knowledge is based on the interpretation of information about ourselves, and this interpretation involves the same mindreading mechanisms that we use to access other persons’ mental states. Interpretationist views are usually dismissed as implausible and unwarranted by advocates of rationalism. In this article, I argue that rationalists should revise their attitude towards interpretationism: they can, and ought to, accept themselves a form of interpretationism. First, I argue that interpretationism is correct at least for a substantive range of cases. These are cases in which we respond to a question ab..

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Franz Knappik
University of Bergen


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