Wednesday, July 28, 2010


... a new essay of mine, available here. I first presented this essay at a conference in Fullerton organized by JeeLoo Liu and Heather Battaly in 2009. (See here for a YouTube video of the original talk.)

This is a (relatively) short paper arguing that we have poor knowledge of our stream of conscious experience, of our morally most important attitudes, of our evaluatively loaded personality traits, and of our overall moral character.

It sacrifices depth and detail for breadth and readability, but I suppose that isn't always a bad thing.

Comments welcome, as always, either by email or on this post.


J.Vlasits said...

What do you think about normative accounts of self-knowledge like Bilgrami 2006? He's a constitutivist, but I'm not sure that the evidence that you bring up is very convincing against an account like his, since we simply aren't responsible for actions based on our inner pictures of houses and things like that. For him, your denial of self-knowledge in general would also be a denial of meaningful agency. I'm not sure that I'm convinced by his account, but putting his next to yours would be interesting.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

J.Vlasits: I disagree with Bilgrami on almost every point. To start with: I don't think self-knowledge is necessary for responsible agency. So, for example, I think we are responsible for the sexist and racist biases in behavior even though we may have no knowledge of those biases and even be trying unsuccessfully to keep a lid on them. Bilgrami seems excessively intellectualist.

peter kirwan said...

I watched the youtube version. Interesting, accessible and very useful for my stuff.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the kind words, Peter. There should soon be a Philosophy TV diavlog between Tamar Gendler and me that will also connect with your interest in implicit association. I'm not sure whether the Philosophy TV site has even been launched yet (it is a spinoff of Bloggingheads TV); when Tamar's and my diavlog is up, though, I will link from The Splintered Mind.