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Self-Knowledge and Its Limits

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

A philosophical account of self-knowledge should offer more than an epistemological explanation of first-personal privilege. It should also address the many cases where the first-person perspective is not so privileged, and account for the importance of self-knowledge to a person’s social and psychological well-being. Quassim Cassam’s Self-Knowledge for Humans and John Doris’s Talking to Our Selves both emphasize the importance of these latter tasks, but neither author is wholly successful: Cassam’s argument rests on a gross distortion of the “Rationalist” picture he sets up as a foil, and Doris’s on a skeptical argument that stands in some questionable company.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Florida State University,


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