Perplexities of Consciousness, Chapter Seven:
The Unreliability of Naive IntrospectionEric Schwitzgebel
prone to gross error, even in favorable circumstances of extended reflection,
about our own ongoing conscious experience, our current phenomenology.
Even in this apparently privileged domain, our self-knowledge is faulty
and untrustworthy. We are not simply
fallible at the margins but broadly inept. Examples
highlighted in this chapter include: emotional experience (for example, is it
entirely bodily; does joy have a common, distinctive phenomenological core?),
peripheral vision (how broad and stable is the region of visual clarity?), and
the phenomenology of thought (does it have a distinctive phenomenology, beyond
just imagery and feelings?). Cartesian
skeptical scenarios undermine knowledge of ongoing conscious experience as well
as knowledge of the outside world. Infallible
judgments about ongoing mental states are simply banal cases of
foundationalism supposing that we infer an external world from secure knowledge
of our own consciousness is almost exactly backward.
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