Does Confabulation Pose a Threat to First-Person Authority? Mindshaping, Self-Regulation and the Importance of Self-Know-How

Topoi 39 (1):151-161 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Empirical evidence suggests that people often confabulate when they are asked about their choices or reasons for action. The implications of these studies are the topic of intense debate in philosophy and the cognitive sciences. An important question in this debate is whether the confabulation studies pose a serious threat to the possibility of self-knowledge. In this paper we are not primarily interested in the consequences of confabulation for self-knowledge. Instead, we focus on a different issue: what confabulation implies for the special status of self-attributions, i.e. first-person authority. In the first part of the paper, we propose that FPA is based on a capacity for self-regulation. Accordingly, FPA depends on the extent to which we are able to bridge the gap between our sayings and doings by aligning our actions with our avowed self-ascriptions and vice versa. FPA is withheld when we fail at such re-alignment. In the second part of the paper, we contrast our view with the accounts of Scaife and Bortolotti :227–249, 2018). We claim that the apparent fact that we cannot reliably distinguish, from a first-person perspective, when we are confabulating and when we are not, does not necessarily undermine FPA. We argue that a systematic failure to align our actions with our self-ascriptions and vice-versa is a genuine threat to FPA. In the last part of the paper, we introduce the concept of self-know-how—the know-how embodied in the way one is disposed to relate to oneself in making sense of oneself with or in the face of others—and briefly explored the importance of diminished or absent self-know-how in clinical cases.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,261

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Interpretivism, First-Person Authority, and Confabulation.Eivind Balsvik - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (4-5):311-329.
Stranger than Fiction: Costs and Benefits of Everyday Confabulation.Lisa Bortolotti - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (2):227-249.
Confabulation and rational obligations for self-knowledge.Sophie Keeling - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (8):1215-1238.
Mnemonic Confabulation.Sarah Robins - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):121-132.
First-person Folk Psychology: Mindreading or Mindshaping?Leon De Bruin - 2016 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 9 (1):170-183.
Confabulation, confidence, and introspection.Brian Fiala & Shaun Nichols - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):144-145.
Elusive reasons: A problem for first-person authority.Krista Lawlor - 2003 - Philosophical Psychology 16 (4):549-565.


Added to PP

46 (#347,610)

6 months
8 (#370,225)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles