Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind: An Essay in Neo-Sellarsian Philosophy

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This volume attempts to solve a grave problem about critical self-reflection. Psychological studies indicate not just that we are bad at detecting our own "ego-threatening" thoughts; they also suggest that we are ignorant of even our ordinary thoughtss—e.g., reasons for our moral judgments of others (Haidt 2001), and even mundane reasons for buying one pair of stockings over another! (Nisbett & Wilson 1977) However, self-reflection presupposes an ability to know one’s own thoughts. So if ignorance is the norm, why attempt self-reflection? While admitting the psychological data, this book argues that we are infallible in a limited range of self-discerning judgments—that in some cases, these judgments are self-fulfilling or self-verifying. Even so, infallibility does not imply indubitability, and the author does not wish to provide a "foundation" for empirical knowledge. The point is rather to explain how self-reflection as a rational activity is possible.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages308
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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