SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Some remarks on the correct interpretation of the thesis of Revelation in the philosophy of mind
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

The so called thesis of revelation has come in the philosophical literature on the mental in a number of slightly divergent formulations. As I understand it, in its core revelation is the claim that phenomenal mental events have the potential to reveal (part of) their nature to a subject entertaining them just of virtue of their being entertained by that subject and of an act of introspection by her directed at them. In short: to have an experience " i.e., to be acquainted with it " is to know its nature. It is widely agreed that although some versions of revelation might strike us as prima facie plausible and perhaps even appealing, at least up to a certain extent, most of them are nonetheless inconsistent with almost any coherent form of physicalism about phenomenal properties. Thus far, the issue of the alleged tension between revelation and physicalism has mostly been put in terms of phenomenal concepts and/or some kind of "special feature" they would allegedly possess. On a similar vein, the kind of knowledge one would allegedly achieve via introspecting her own conscious states if revelation turned out to be true has mostly been construed as a kind of propositional knowledge or knowledge-that. This emerges clearly in recent attempts to undermine the cogency of revelation against physicalism, e.g., those put forth in Damjanovic (2012) and Trogdon (2016). Analogous assumptions, though, can also be found in authors who endorse revelation, e.g., Nida-Rumelin (2006), Chalmers (2006), Goff (2017). What my paper will be aimed at arguing is that contra this approach, the kind of knowledge one is put in a position to achieve via having and introspecting her own experiences is to be understood as a kind of sui generis non-conceptual -or at least pre-conceptual- and non-propositional knowledge of things a la Russell (1910; 1912). I argue that this kind of grasping may be understood either as an instance of what David Pitt (2011), drawing by analogy on Levine's (2010) distinction between implicit and explicit self-knowledge of thought, labels acquaintance-as-knowledge to be distinguished from (propositional) knowledge by acquaintance, or as an instance of what Giustina and Kriegel (e.g. 2017; 2018; 2019; 2020; 2021; 2022) call primitive introspection, to be distinguished from (recognitional, thus conceptual) reflective introspection. Arguments for the existence of a kind of non-propositional knowledge of things of this sort can also be found in Duncan (2018; 2020; 2022), Conee (1994) and Coleman (2019), among others.

Chair: Daniel Weger
Time: 12:00-12:30, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: HS E.002

Bruno Cortesi 
(University School for Advanced Studies of Pavia, Italy, Italy)

Testability and Meaning deco