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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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Added by: Lukas Schwengerer, Contributed by:

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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Gertler, Brie, , . Self-Knowledge
2011, New York: Routledge.
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Added by: Lukas Schwengerer, Contributed by:

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.

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Spener, Maja, , . Disagreement about cognitive phenomenology
2011, In Tim Bayne and Michelle Montague (ed.), Cognitive Phenomenology. Oxford University Press. pp. 268.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The debate concerning the phenomenology of thought is marked by severe disagreement about how best to characterize a given conscious thought on the basis of introspective reflecting upon it. In this paper I focus on the fact of this introspection-based disagreement – in particular, on its epistemic import for participants in the debate. How ought these philosophers respond when facing such radical disagreement about the deliverance of introspection? I argue that the fact of such disagreement itself should lead participants to be less confident – or even to suspend judgement – in their own introspection-based claims. If that is right, then to the extent that the debate about the phenomenology of thought is carried out by appeal to introspective evidence, this constitutes a serious epistemological concern. At the very least, if this is the epistemically appropriate response, non?trivial reliance of introspective evidence in the debate comes under pressure.

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