Tue Dec 5, 2017
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
|Graduate Research Colloquium
Mental Action in Self-Knowledge
You can self-attribute a belief that p ‘transparently’ by making a conscious judgment that p. Making self-attributions in this way seems to be a way of gaining a special first-personal, authoritative form of knowledge about your beliefs. But this produces a puzzle: how could a transition from p to I believe that p possibly be licensed? Any transition like that would not be a recognizable form of inference, and we would not be entitled to the move. To dissolve the puzzle, I argue that there actually is no transition from p to I believe that p involved in transparent self-attribution of belief. In the relevant context, a judgment that p is already a self-attribution of a belief that p. One and the same mental action can be both of those when it is performed intentionally under a particular kind of description. The ultimate proposal demystifies self-knowledge of a whole class of attitudes. It also demonstrates that philosophy of action can enrich the explanatory resources of epistemology in two important ways.