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Shoemaker, Self–Blindness and Moore's Paradox

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I show how the ‘inner–sense’ (quasi–perceptual) view of introspection can be defended against Shoemaker's influential ‘argument from self–blindness’. If introspection and perception are analogous, the relationship between beliefs and introspective knowledge of them is merely contingent. Shoemaker argues that this implies the possibility that agents could be self–blind, i.e., could lack any introspective awareness of their own mental states. By invoking Moore's paradox, he rejects this possibility. But because Shoemaker's discussion conflates introspective awareness and self–knowledge, he cannot establish his conclusion. There is third–person evidence available to the self–blind which Shoemaker ignores, and it can account for the considerations from Moore's paradox that he raises.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Claremont McKenna College, California

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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