Trivial self-knowledge is far removed from what non-philosophers recognize as self-knowledge. Trivial self-knowledge is distinguished from substantial self-knowledge by reference to ten conditions. These conditions give a rough indication of the sorts of consideration that are relevant to determining whether a particular kind of self-knowledge is trivial or substantial. The difference between trivial and substantial self-knowledge is claimed to be a matter of degree. Examples of substantial self-knowledge include knowledge of one’s own character, values, abilities, aptitudes, and emotions. Knowledge of what makes one happy, and why one’s attitudes are as they are, are further examples of substantial self-knowledge. There are multiple pathways to substantial self-knowledge, and its value is easier to explain than the value of trivial self-knowledge. Substantial self-knowledge matters to us in ways that trivial self-knowledge does not.
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