If you see someone gesturing on the street with his hand, you might think he's waving to you. But you do not know for sure.
Perhaps he tries to hit an irritating fly, or to call a taxi. At the same time, you probably assume that this person himself
knows what's in his mind at the moment, whether he's waving at you, hiting a fly, or trying to hold a taxi.
Thus, there seems to be a significant difference between the knowledge we have of others and the knowledge we have of ourselves.
While we are often just guessing what goes on in the mind of others, we usually have the intuition that we know ourselves very well.
When you say to the bartender that you're very thirsty, you'd look surprised if he would ask 'Are you sure you're thirsty?'
or 'Are you sure you're thirsty and not hungry?' because you yourself will know this best, don’t you? When it comes to our inner life, we ourselves are the experts of experience.
If we make a statement about what we think or feel, then this statement is generally not questioned.
In philosophy, this is also called 'first-person authority'. But what exactly is the difference between self-knowledge and knowledge of others?
And is it actually true that we know ourselves best?
In the previous lectures we discussed a number of ideas that address the ontological question of what the Self actually IS.
Ontology is the philosophical theory of what is, what exists. Is it a thing? Is it an abstract concept. Is it a function of the brain to organise our perception and experiences?
Now, however, I’ll discuss some philosophers who are not primarily interested in the ontological question of the Self.
For them their primary focus is on the question of HOW we actually know our thoughts, convictions, desires, intentions and emotions.
This is an epistemological question. Epistemology is the philosophical theory of knowledge, the question “What can I know (for certain)?.
In the next lectures I will discuss some answers to this epistemological question. First we ‘ll have a look at the Cartesian idea that self-knowledge is gained through the ability to introspect.
Proponents of introspection say that this ability is the basis of the difference between self-knowledge and our knowledge of others,
and also explains why we ourselves are experts when it comes to our inner lives.
Then we’ll discuss two critical reactions to this idea: a philosophical criticism based on Ludwig Wittgenstein's work, and a scientific critique based on research in contemporary psychology.
Then we’ll look at the theory of Gilbert Ryle, who states that self-knowledge is gained through our ability to interpret.
According to Ryle, there is no significant difference between self-knowledge and the knowledge we have of others, and we should not assume that we know ourselves best.
A next stop will be the theory of Richard Moran, who claims that self-knowledge is a matter of rational deliberation, actively determining what you think of something.
Richard Moran is a Harvard professor who wrote the book “Authority and Estrangement - An Essay on Self-Knowledge” (2002)
Thereafter I’ll show how so-called "unconscious prejudices" can influence our thinking, and what consequences this has for our understanding of self-knowledge.
Finally, we’ll focus on Victoria McGeers idea of self-regulation, or the ability to match our behavior to what we think and vice versa.
Victoria McGeer is a research scholar and lecturer at Princeton University. She took her B.A. in Philosophy and Government at Dartmouth College
and her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the philosophy of language and more prominently in the philosophy of mind.
As you see, we got a lot of work ahead. Get ready ! Thank you for your attention again…..
[13:20] herman Bergson smiles
[13:20] herman Bergson: Oh....and one special message....
[13:21] herman Bergson: Next week NO class...I'll enjoy a nicce vacation then :-))
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki
[13:21] CB Axel: That will make it easier to deal with the time change. °͜°
[13:21] CB Axel: I hope you do have a nice vacation.
[13:22] herman Bergson: This was an easy lecture today ^_^
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes its winter time now soon
[13:22] herman Bergson: Again to the Island :-))
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:22] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita
[13:23] herman Bergson: This was just an introductory story for what is coming up next :-)
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:24] herman Bergson: Guess I answered all your questions.....?
[13:24] CB Axel: That's nice for the people who didn't get here today.
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes indeed.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: I'll post it immediately.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thursday is as usual or?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes...Thursday as usual Bejiita...even though I have this in mind.......
[13:26] CB Axel: LOL
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:27] herman Bergson: So I'd say...see you all again on Thursday :-)
[13:27] herman Bergson: Class dismissed .....^_^
[13:27] CB Axel: OK. See you Thursday. °͜°