Introspective misidentification

Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1737-1758 (2015)
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Abstract

It is widely held that introspection-based self-ascriptions of mental states are immune to error through misidentification , relative to the first person pronoun. Many have taken such errors to be logically impossible, arguing that the immunity holds as an “absolute” necessity. Here I discuss an actual case of craniopagus twins—twins conjoined at the head and brain—as a means to arguing that such errors are logically possible and, for all we know, nomologically possible. An important feature of the example is that it is one where a person may be said to be introspectively aware of a mental state that occurs outside of her own mind. Implications are discussed for views of the relation between introspection and mental state ownership, and between introspection and epistemic criteria for the “mark of the mental.”

Author's Profile

Peter Langland-Hassan
University of Cincinnati

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