Burge, T. (2013): Reason and the first person

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Lichtenberg’s Challenge (383-5)

no self-acquaintance (384)

The indispensiblity of the ‘I’ (386ff)


Self-verifying thoughts

Critical Reasoning

Self-knowledge and observation

Something noteworthy about Burge’s account is that it moves from some foundational claims concerning sense-perception to conclusions about the non-observational nature of self-knowledge. If one is not a representationalist, however, some of the arguments no longer are quite as convincing. For example, Burge thinks that it is constitutive of perceptual experience that it be “objective” and that this objectivity depends on the possibility of mis-perception with entitlement (108). This introduces the possibility of “brute error” (103) into the nature of perceptual belief. But Burge denies that self-knowledge could be contingently wrong in this manner, so self-knowledge cannot be observational.

It isn’t clear to me that this is true on an acquaintance model of perception. If so there is a question as to whether there is a clear-cut basis for the acquaintance model to reject self-knowledge as inner observation.

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