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Chapter 7 - Knowing what I want

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2011

JeeLoo Liu
Affiliation:
California State University, Fullerton
John Perry
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
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Summary

As it is silly to ask somebody, ‘How do you know you are in pain?’ it is equally foolish to ask, ‘How do you know that you want to go to the movies?’

Vendler (1972, 50)

Knowing that one wants to go to the movies is an example of self-knowledge, knowledge of one’s mental states. It may be foolish to ask the man on the Clapham Omnibus how he knows what he wants, but the question is nonetheless important – albeit neglected by epistemologists. This chapter attempts an answer.

Before getting to that, the familiar claim that we enjoy “privileged access” to our mental states needs untwining (section 1). A sketch of a theory of knowledge of one’s beliefs that has received some attention in the recent literature (section 2), and the case for extending that account to self-knowledge in general (section 3), sets the stage for our answer to the main question (section 4).

Type
Chapter
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Consciousness and the Self
New Essays
, pp. 165 - 183
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • Knowing what I want
  • Edited by JeeLoo Liu, California State University, Fullerton, John Perry, Stanford University, California
  • Book: Consciousness and the Self
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511732355.008
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  • Knowing what I want
  • Edited by JeeLoo Liu, California State University, Fullerton, John Perry, Stanford University, California
  • Book: Consciousness and the Self
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511732355.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Knowing what I want
  • Edited by JeeLoo Liu, California State University, Fullerton, John Perry, Stanford University, California
  • Book: Consciousness and the Self
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511732355.008
Available formats
×