terça-feira, 15 de novembro de 2011

Royal Institute of Philosophy Workshop: Self-Knowledge

Philosophy Department / University of Birmingham
Room G51, ERI Building, University of Birmingham Campus
Monday 12th of December 2011

4pm-5.15pm “Self-Knowledge: A Special Kind of Knowledge?”
Åsa Wikforss (Stockholm University)

5.15pm-5.30pm Coffee and Tea

5.30pm-6.45pm “Self-Knowledge and the ‘Inner Eye’”
Cynthia Macdonald (University of Manchester)

6.45pm onwards – Drinks and Dinner

According to a legend, the words ‘Know thyself’ were inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. This aphorism has always fascinated philosophers. Plato, for example, discussed it in at least six of his dialogues. More recently, philosophers have been very interested in self-knowledge understood as knowledge about our own mental states. The presentations at this workshop will discuss the recent work on how is it that we can know what we think. They also explore the special features of this kind knowledge.

The workshop is open to all audiences, and there is no attendance fee (refreshments will be free, but drinks and dinner will not be included). For any enquiries, please contact Dr Jussi Suikkanen (j.v.suikkanen@bham.ac.uk).

“Self-Knowledge: A Special Kind of Knowledge”
In my paper I examine the claim that self-knowledge is epistemologically special. My focus is on knowledge of our own beliefs. Two claims are often made: First, that this knowledge is better or safer than ordinary empirical knowledge. Second, that it involves a special kind of justification, since it can neither be said to be based on observation, nor on inferences from other beliefs. I argue that both of these claims are problematic. In particular, I argue that the arguments against the observational and inferential models fail. Instead, I suggest, self-knowledge should be treated as an ordinary species of empirical knowledge.

A biographical note on Åsa Wikforss:
Åsa Wikforss received her PhD at Columbia University in 1996, and is currently a professor in theoretical philosophy at Stockholm University, Sweden.  Her principal interest is in philosophy of mind and language. Her work includes papers on the normativity of meaning and content, on semantic externalism, on natural kinds, and on self-knowledge.

“Self-Knowledge and the ‘Inner Eye’”
Tyler Burge has argued that the basic core cases of authoritative self-knowledge are the 'cogito-like' ones. These are thoughts that are contextually self-verifying because, in thinking the thought, one makes the thought true.  One makes it true because the state thought about is literally a part or constituent of the thinking state.  In thinking that I am thinking that Manchester is north of London, I am thinking that Manchester is north of London. The knowledge possessed by subjects in such cases is infallible for this reason. This has been called the 'same-order' view of authoritative self-knowledge.  I first consider problems with this view, then formulate a response to it.  The response is a version of what is known as Detectivism, a view that appeals to an observational basis for authoritative self-knowledge.

A biographical note on Cynthia Macdonald:
Cynthia MacDonald is a professor in philosophy at the University of Manchester. She has held the Belle van Zuylen Visiting Professorship at the University of Utrecht, and Visiting Professorships at the Queen's University, Belfast, Rutgers University and Columbia University. Her primary research interests lie in an area intersecting philosophy of mind and metaphysics, and in cognitive science.

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