Constitutive Theories of Self-Knowledge and the Regress Problem

  • Richard Greene


In the contemporary literature on self-knowledge discussion is framed by and large by two competing models of self-knowledge: the observational (or perceptual) model and the constitutive model. On the observational model self-knowledge is the result of ‘cognitively viewing' one's mental states. Constitutive theories of self-knowledge, on the other hand, hold that self-knowledge is constitutive of intentional states. That is, self-ascription is a necessary condition for being in a particular mental state. Akeel Bilgrami is a defender of the constitutive model. I argue that the constitutive model gives rise to a regress problem. This paper will focus on that problem as well as its application to Bilgrami's version of the constitutive model.

Philosophical Papers Vol.32(2) 2003: 141-148

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eISSN: 0556-8641