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Self-Knowledge for Humans$
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Quassim Cassam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657575.001.0001

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Self-Knowledge and Inference

Self-Knowledge and Inference

(p.137) 11 Self-Knowledge and Inference
Self-Knowledge for Humans

Quassim Cassam

Oxford University Press

This chapter defends inferentialism about self-knowledge, the view that inferences from behavioural and other evidence are a basic source of self-knowledge. In particular, we come to know our own attitudes by inference from what Lawlor calls ‘internal promptings’. Three arguments for inferentialism are discussed, one by elimination, another by example, and a third by experiment. Four objections to inferentialism are discussed and rejected. For inferentialism, the supposed asymmetry between knowledge of oneself and of others is a difference between the kinds of evidence that are available in the two cases. It is argued that inferentialism does not generate a vicious regress, and that inferential self-knowledge need not result in a form of alienation from one’s own attitudes. Standard counterexamples to inferentialism fail because they misunderstand the doctrine to which they are supposed to be counterexamples.

Keywords:   inferentialism, Krista Lawlor, internal promptings, elimination, example, experiment, asymmetry, evidence, vicious regress, alienation

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