Modes of Introspective Access: a Pluralist Approach

Philosophia 47 (3):823-844 (2019)
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Abstract

Several contemporary philosophical theories of introspection have been offered, yet each faces a number of difficulties in providing an explanation of the exact nature of introspection. I contrast the inner-sense view that argues for a causal awareness with the acquaintance view that argues for a non-causal or direct awareness. After critically examining the inner-sense and the acquaintance views, I claim that these two views are complementary and not mutually exclusive, and that both perspectives, conceived of as modes of introspective access, actually broaden the notion of introspection. I then propose a useful distinction between stimuli-induced introspection—i.e., a receptive process whereby some specific mental states induce introspection—and self-triggered introspection—i.e., a selective process whereby the individual’s own interest and volition initiates introspection. I argue that that distinction may eliminate the false dichotomy which claims that only one of those types of awareness, either the causal one or the direct one, is conducive to introspection or is defined as introspection.

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Adriana Renero
CUNY Graduate Center

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