Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 71, Issue 3, November 2005

Jordi Fernández
Pages 533-556

Self-Knowledge, Rationality and Moore’s Paradox

I offer a model of self-knowledge that provides a solution to Moore’s paradox. First, I distinguish two versions of the paradox and I discuss two approaches to it, neither of which solves both versions of the paradox. Next, I propose a model of self-knowledge according to which, when I have a certain belief, I form the higher-order belief that I have it on the basis of the very evidence that grounds my first-order belief. Then, I argue that the model in question can account for both versions of Moore’s paradox. Moore’s paradox, I conclude, tells us something about our conceptions of rationality and self-knowledge. For it teaches us that we take it to be constitutive of being rational that one can have privileged access to one’s own mind and it reveals that having privileged access to one’s own mind is a matter of forming first-order beliefs and corresponding second-order beliefs on the same basis.