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The paper reviews Christopher Peacocke's account of self-knowledge. His proposal relies on the claim that first-order mental states may be given to a subject so as to function as reasons, from his point of view, for the corresponding self-ascriptions. Peacocke's Being Known elicits two different views of how that may be the case: a given propositional attitude is considered to be conscious if, on the one hand, there is something it is like to have it; and, on the other, if it can occupy a subject's attention without being an object of attention. I examine both views and conclude that, on the latter, Peacocke's proposal risks of not offering an independent reason for the self-ascription, and, on the former, of offering no reason at all. I then turn to some ideas from his The Realm of Reason and claim that they can help stabilise his earlier account only at the cost of surrendering internalism in the epistemology of psychological self-ascriptions and of contaminating internalist proposals about knowledge of any subject matter with an externalist base which would betray their point. Unless one doesn't want to pay this price, then Peacocke's account offers no solution to the problem of self-knowledge. 1

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Letters and PhilosophyUniversity of ModenaLargo Sant’Eufemia 1941100 ModenaItaly, Email:

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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