The Social Epistemology of Introspection

Mind and Language:1-18 (2022)
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I argue that introspection recruits the same mental mechanism as that which is required for the production of ordinary speech acts. In introspection, in effect, we intentionally tell ourselves that we are in some mental state, aiming thereby to produce belief about that state in ourselves. On one popular view of speech acts, however, this is precisely what speakers do when speaking to others. On this basis, I argue that every bias discovered by social epistemology applies to introspection and other forms of self-directed representation. If so, it becomes unclear in what sense social epistemology is social.

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Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin


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