Philosophy | Theory of Knowledge
P562 | 25677 | Leite


A seminar on recent work on self-knowledge.  The discussion will be
guided by three relatively recent books, David
Finkelstein's "Expression and the Inner," Dorit Bar-On's "Speaking My
Mind:
Expression and Self-Knowledge," and Dick Moran's "Authority and
Estrangement," with additional reading from relevant journal
articles.  Some of the questions we will consider include: the nature
of self-knowledge as an epistemic capacity; its relation to self-
observation (whether outer or, in some sense, inner), to
consciousness, to rationality, and to social practices of deference
and psychological ascription; whether the notion of expression is
helpful in understanding the special authority attaching to
psychological self-ascriptions; whether the notion of responsibility
for one's own attitudes is helpful in understanding self-knowledge.
I'd like to conclude by exploring the ideas of agency and
responsibility as they apply to one's own mental life, focusing on
the so-called propositional attitudes (such as belief and desire),
since it makes little sense to regard us as active (in the relevant
sense) in relation to our sensations or as responsible for them.  One
significant issue here is what exactly it means to "make up one's
mind," another and related issue is what the sense of agency and
responsibility is in which we might plausibly be regarded as active
in relation to (and responsible for) our attitudes but not our
sensations.  I don't have a distinctive line on all of this
material.  The course will be focused on a careful exploration of the
texts and the issues they raise, with the goal of helping you begin
to work out your views in this territory.  I expect that the material
will be of interest for students interested in topics in the
philosophy of mind, epistemology, moral psychology, action theory,
and the nature of rational agency, among other things.  The class
will be conducted in a discussion-based format.  Participants in the
course will be expected to write a handful of short papers, to lead
one (and probably two) class meetings, and to write a seminar paper
of around twenty pages.