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Inferential knowledge, externalism and self-knowledge.

Ford, R.G.; (2004) Inferential knowledge, externalism and self-knowledge. Masters thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Privileged self-knowledge says, roughly, that we have non-empirical knowledge of our own thoughts. Externalism about mental content says, roughly, that our mental states are determined at least in part by our environment. It has been alleged that jointly assuming externalism about mental content and privileged self-knowledge are true has the consequence that any subject can have non-empirical knowledge of her own environment and this is intuitively absurd. The thesis investigates in various ways the problem arises and focuses on the following principle: Knowledge Transmission Principle: For any subject S and any proposition P and any proposition Q: if S has a certain kind of knowledge that P and S knows that P entails Q, then S knows that Q by way of S's certain kind of knowledge that P and S's knowledge that P entails Q. After investigating the ways of denying the principle with a view to upholding the compatibility of privileged self-knowledge and externalism about mental content the thesis reaches the following conditional conclusions: If we allow that the knowledge transmission principle is unrestrictedly true or if we allow for the possibility of so called 'illusions about mental content', then the consequence that a subject can have non-empirical knowledge of her own environment is not absurd. If on the other hand certain other conditions are in place, then the relevant instance of the transmission principle fails, then we can jointly assume externalism about mental content and privileged self-knowledge are true without them having the absurd consequence that we have non-empirical knowledge of our environment as a result of this joint assumption.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Inferential knowledge, externalism and self-knowledge.
Identifier: PQ ETD:602787
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446845
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