Single Idea 3483

[catalogued under 16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 1. Introspection]

Full Idea

If by "introspection" we mean simply thinking about our own mental states, then there is no objection to introspection, but if we mean a special capacity like vision of looking inwards, there is no such capacity.

Gist of Idea

Introspection is just thinking about mental states, not a special sort of vision


John Searle (The Rediscovery of the Mind [1992], Ch. 6.II.2)

Book Reference

Searle,John R.: 'The Rediscovery of the Mind' [MIT 1999], p.144

A Reaction

This seems to beg the question of how we can be aware of our mental states in order to think about them. One might image that some animals have mental states, but are quite unaware that they have them, because they are totally focused on content.