Agency and observation in knowledge of one's own thinking

European Journal of Philosophy 27 (1):148-161 (2018)
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This essay addresses the question how we know our conscious thinking. Conscious thinking typically takes the form of a series of discrete episodes that constitute a complex cognitive activity. We must distinguish the discrete episodes of thinking in which a particular content is represented in phenomenal consciousness and is present “before the mind’s eye” from the extended activities of which these episodes form a part. The extended activities are themselves contentful and we have first-person access to them. But because their content is not represented in phenomenal consciousness, this access cannot be broadly observational. Instead, I argue, it is agential. Furthermore, that extended activities are intentional explains the possibility of a nonobservational form of introspective access to the discrete episodes in consciousness.



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Casey Doyle
State University of New York at Binghamton

Citations of this work

The Activity of Reasoning: How Reasoning Can Constitute Epistemic Agency.David Jenkins - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (3):413-428.

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References found in this work

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:321-332.
Intention.P. L. Heath - 1960 - Philosophical Quarterly 10 (40):281.

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