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Gertler, Brie, , . Introspecting Phenomenal States
2001, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63(2): 305-328.
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Added by: Lukas Schwengerer, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper defends a novel account of how we introspect phenomenal states, the Demonstrative Attention account (DA). First, I present a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for phenomenal state introspection which are not psychological, but purely metaphysical and semantic. Next, to explain how these conditions can be satisfied, I describe how demonstrative reference to a phenomenal content can be achieved through attention alone. This sort of introspective demonstration differs from perceptual demonstration in being non-causal. DA nicely explains key intuitions about phenomenal self-knowledge, makes possible an appealing diagnosis of blindsight cases, and yields a highly plausible view as to the extent of our first-person epistemic privilege. Because these virtues stem from construing phenomenal properties as non-relational features of states, my defense of DA constitutes a challenge to relational construals of phenomenal properties, including functionalism and representationalism. And I provide reason to doubt that they can meet this challenge.

Comment: This paper is a good and clear example of an acquaintance account of introspection with regard to phenomenal states. It can be used as a specialised reading on introspection, or as a supplement to discussions of phenomenal states. Because it involves a challenge to relational construals of phenomenal properties it can also be used in advanced philosophy of mind discussing the nature of phenomenal properties.

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Gertler, Brie, , . Renewed Acquaintance
2012, In: Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar (ed.). Introspection and Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 89-123
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Summary: This chapter elaborates and defends a set of metaphysical and epistemic claims that comprise what is called the acquaintance approach to introspective knowledge of the phenomenal qualities of experience. The hallmark of this approach is the thesis that, in some introspective judgments about experience, (phenomenal) reality intersects with the epistemic, that is, with the subject’s grasp of that reality. While this approach is a descendant of Russell’s acquaintance theory, it is epistemically more modest than that theory. The chapter shows that the acquaintance approach’s hallmark thesis does not carry the ambitious epistemic implications often associated with acquaintance views. And the chapter defends that thesis from objections stemming from what is required for an epistemically substantial grasp of the phenomenal, and from Stalnaker’s worry that, if the thesis were true, information about the phenomenal would be incommunicable.

Comment: An in-depth discussion of the acquaintance approach to introspection, providing a clear explanation and defense of the approach.

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