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Gertler, Brie, and . Self-Knowledge

2011, New York: Routledge

Publisher’s Note: The problem of self-knowledge is one of the most fascinating in all of philosophy and has crucial significance for the philosophy of mind and epistemology. In this outstanding introduction Brie Gertler assesses the leading theoretical approaches to self-knowledge, explaining the work of many of the key figures in the field: from Descartes and Kant, through to Bertrand Russell and Gareth Evans, as well as recent work by Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, William Lycan and Sydney Shoemaker.Beginning with an outline of the distinction between self-knowledge and self-awareness and providing essential historical background to the problem, Gertler addresses specific theories of self-knowledge such as the acquaintance theory, the inner sense theory, and the rationalist theory, as well as leading accounts of self-awareness. The book concludes with a critical explication of the dispute between empiricist and rationalist approaches.

Comment: This is a good introductory overview for the metaphysics and epistemology of self-knowledge. The book provides an excellent discussion on the nature and scope of (purportedly) special self-knowledge. As such it can be used as a starting point for an advanced undergraduate course on self-knowledge. Moreover, the book features a comprehensive overview of three main approaches to an epistemology of self-knowledge (acquaintance, inner sense, rationalist), which makes it a suitable background reading.