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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E pistemology The special position that apparently gives one awareness of what is presently going on in one's own mind , such as one's thoughts, beliefs, intentions , and emotions. Privileged access is contrasted with the lack of special access in one's knowledge of the external world and other minds. For while one's knowledge of the world and other minds is mediated through certain causal factors and is subject to being checked by experience , one's awareness of one's mind is claimed to be immediate, infallible , and incorrigible. On this view, either these states are detectable by oneself alone or one is the final authority concerning their existence and their character. On either version, the accuracy of the reports of these mental states is verified by oneself. Since Descartes , many philosophers have believed that this special position exists. One's mental states are private and the first-person account has authority. But Ryle, W. Sellars, Wittgenstein , and others denied that one has special access to one's own mind that differs from one's access to other minds, in part because the meaning of expressions used from a first-person perspective needs the support of a third-person use in a single language. It is still difficult to understand how to avoid a collapse of mental terms into first-person solipsism or third-person behaviorism. “I have ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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