Introspection and Consciousness edited by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar

Reviewed by
March 2013, no. 349
Frank Jackson reviews 'Introspection and Consciousness' by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar

Introspection and Consciousness

edited by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar

Oxford University Press, $89.95 hb, 431 pp, 9780199744794

Introspection and Consciousness edited by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar

Reviewed by
March 2013, no. 349

I have beliefs about what you believe. I also have beliefs about what I myself believe. The big difference between the two cases is how I come by these beliefs. By and large, my beliefs about what you believe come from observations of your behaviour (understood in a wide sense, which includes the environment in which your behaviour is located). Here are two illustrations. You sell all your shares and buy gold. I infer that you believe that gold will outperform shares. You write an article saying that the Coalition will win the next election. I infer that you believe that the Coalition will win the next election. However, my beliefs about what I myself believe don’t usually come from observations by me of my own behaviour. My belief that gold will outperform shares may explain why I sell all my shares and buy gold, but it doesn’t reveal to me that I have this belief. Likewise, I don’t need to write an article saying that the Coalition will win the next election in order to discover that I have this belief. There is, to borrow some jargon, a first person–third person asymmetry in how we arrive at beliefs about beliefs.

Frank Jackson reviews 'Introspection and Consciousness' by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar

Introspection and Consciousness

edited by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar

Oxford University Press, $89.95 hb, 431 pp, 9780199744794

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