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Introspective Knowledge And Displaced Perception Essay

2255 words - 10 pages

"Dretske remarks that there are ‘two important differences between introspective knowledge and other forms of displaced perception’ (p. 60). What are these differences? Are they enough to call into question his view of introspective knowledge as displaced perception?"

The second chapter of Naturalizing the Mind is in the main an attempt to provide an account of introspective knowledge consistent with the Representational Thesis. Dretske takes introspective knowledge to be a given and proceeds by trying to explain how such knowledge is possible without appealing to an ‘inner sense’, an idea that seems to conflict with the Thesis’s commitment to ...view middle of the document...

We seem to have this ability. In telling you what I believe I do not have to figure this out (as you might have to) from what I say or do. There is nothing from which I infer that A looks longer than B. It just does." (p. 39) Dretske take!
s the notion that humans have introspective knowledge as a given. His interest in the matter arises when one attempts to "explain how we come by such knowledge and what gives us this first-person authority"(p. 40)
Dretske wants to reject one possible explanation, namely the idea that introspective knowledge is garnered by the mind perceiving its own workings. Dretske wants to provide an account of introspective knowledge that does not rely on some sort of ‘inner sense’ because of his commitment to an externalist theory of the mind. If introspective knowledge can be attained by the mind’s perceiving its own internal workings, then it seems that mental facts must be constituted by the intrinsic character of the events occurring in the mind (otherwise, it would be impossible from merely ‘looking inward’ at the mind to have knowledge of those mental facts), a conclusion that the Representational Thesis rejects. If Dretske succeeds in explaining how introspective knowledge is possible in some manner that does not rely on an ‘inner sense’, he has shown that externalism about the mind cannot be rejected on the grounds that introspective knowledge (something that is taken as a given) exists.
The line that Dretske chooses to pursue is the following; introspective knowledge is a species of displaced perception, the displaced perception model of introspective knowledge shows that introspection can occur without an ‘inner sense’, therefore, the fact that introspective knowledge exists does not constitute a reason to reject externalism about the mind. It seems that the second step in this paraphrase of Dretske’s argument is correct; if introspective knowledge is really is a species of displaced perception, then introspection can occur without an ‘inner sense’. However, given certain distinctions that Dretske makes between introspective knowledge and ‘other forms’ of displaced perception, it seems that introspective knowledge cannot rightly be seen as a form of displaced perception. If this is correct, then Dretske has failed to provide an alternative to the ‘inner sense’ explanation of introspective knowledge and has subsequently failed to defend externalism from t!
he problems that this explanation poses.
Displaced perception occurs when a system perceives facts about an object not by sensuously perceiving that object but by perceiving a different object. The example that Dretske gives is of the perception of one’s weight by looking at a bathroom scale. In this case, the person perceives sensuously only the scale (she sees a certain object that has different patches of color in different shapes...

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