Introspective Insecurity

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This paper examines the case for pessimism concerning the trustworthiness of introspection. I begin with a brief examination of two arguments for introspective
optimism, before turning in more detail to Eric Schwitzgebel’s case for the view
that introspective access to one’s own phenomenal states is highly insecure. I argue
that there are a number of ways in which Schwitzgebel’s argument falls short
of its stated aims. The paper concludes with a speculative proposal about why
some types of phenomenal states appear to be more introspectively elusive than
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen MIND
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century
EditorsThomas Metzinger, Jennifer M. Windt
Place of PublicationCambridge MA USA
PublisherThe MIT Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780262034609
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive phenomenology
  • Emotion
  • Freestanding judgments
  • Imagery
  • introspection
  • ntrospection-reliant
  • Optimism
  • Pessimism
  • Scaffolded judgments
  • Schwitzgebel

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