Four different accounts of the relationship between third-person mindreading and first-person metacognition are compared and evaluated. While three of them endorse the existence of introspection for propositional attitudes, the fourth (defended here) claims that our knowledge of our own attitudes results from turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves. Section 1 introduces the four accounts. Section 2 develops the “mindreading is prior” model in more detail, showing how it predicts introspection for perceptual and quasi-perceptual (e.g. imagistic) mental events while claiming that metacognitive access to our own attitudes always results from swift unconscious self-interpretation. It also considers the model’s relationship to the expression of attitudes in speech. Section 3 argues that the commonsense belief in the existence of introspection should be given no weight. Section 4 argues briefly that data from childhood development are of no help in resolving this debate. Section 5 considers the evolutionary claims to which the different accounts are committed, and argues that the three introspective views make predictions that aren’t borne out by the data. Section 6 examines the extensive evidence that people often confabulate when self-attributing attitudes. Section 7 considers “two systems” accounts of human thinking and reasoning, arguing that although there are inrospectable events within System 2, there are no introspectable attitudes. Section 8 examines alleged evidence of “unsymbolized thinking”. Section 9 considers the claim that schizophrenia exhibits a dissociation between mindreading and metacognition. Finally, Section 10 evaluates the claim that autism presents a dissociation in the opposite direction, of metacognition without mindreading.
Friday, October 24, 2008
How we know our own minds...
For those of you who might be more heavily into philosophy of mind and introspective psychology, I want to pass along this PDF of a draft article that is to appear in Brain and Behavioral Sciences, "How we know our own minds: the relationship between mindreading and metacognition." Carruthers defends the idea that our knowledge of our own attitudes results from turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves, not from introspection for propositional attitudes. Here is his abstract, showing the organization of his arguments: