Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Introspection: A Draft Entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

... is now up here. It is, I'm afraid, monstrously long (85 double-spaced manuscript pages, about 21,000 words). Hopefully it's well enough organized that people can locate the section most relevant to their interests and read it in isolation. I saved for the end of the entry my own material on our poor knowledge of our own stream of conscious experience.

There are always trade-offs between accuracy, comprehensiveness, readability, and length, and I'm not sure I consistently found the right balance. Feedback welcome!


Anibal Monasterio Astobiza said...

I think it is a superb review!

But what, specifically, is the vehicular system for which introspection takes place, an attentional system?, a post hoc linguaform or propositional system reporting?, memory? some kind of special introspection faculty?, just simply our whole cathing concept of self-consciousness, or all of them...

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the kind comment, Anibal! I don't think philosophers or psychologists have done a very good job addressing the question you pose. My own take is that our self-knowledge arises from a vast diversity of sources, partly collaborative, partly competing, but that it's useful to reserve the word "introspection" for those occasions where substantial attention is dedicated to the goal of determining what your (speciously) present conscious experience is, and where some sort of direct sensitivity to the experience itself is involved (or would be involved if the executed processes achieved their subpersonal aims). Or something like that!