Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 42, 2008

Philosophy of Mind

Stephen Voss
Pages 199-205

Agent’s Knowledge and First-person Authority

I propose the hypothesis that our knowledge of our own mental states derives from our knowledge of our intentions, and that our knowledge of our intentions is part of having those intentions. I enumerate various aspects of the question to be answered and various aspects of my answer. The hypothesis begins to explain various aspects of self-knowledge, such as its fallibility and its variability from one kind of mental state to another. Self-knowledge is also grounded in our common antecedent knowledge of the functionalist nature of mental states and the integrity of our mental life and above all mind’s link with action in the world. The hypothesis helps pluck philosophy from the fairy-land of Lockean and Kantian inner sense.