Mind and Language (forthcoming)

Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin
I argue that introspection is a process which recruits the same mental mechanism as that which is required for the production of ordinary speech acts. In introspection, in effect, we intentionally tell ourselves that we are in some mental state and our aim is, thereby, to produce belief or knowledge about that state in ourselves. However, if we accept a popular theory of speech acts - so-called 'Gricean intentionalism' - this is precisely what speakers do when speaking to others, only the addressee is different. On this basis, I argue that every bias or epistemic risk discovered by social epistemology will be applicable to introspection and other forms of self-directed representation. If so, it becomes unclear in what sense social epistemology is 'social,' but, more importantly, this result suggests that the field has been too narrowly construed and that its methods have direct application at the intrapersonal level.
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The Enigma of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.) - 2017 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

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