Katalin Farkas (CEU) and Tim Crane (CEU) - Understanding yourself and knowing what you believe

Budapest colloquium talks
Open to the Public
Nador u. 15
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 3:30pm
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:10pm


How do we find out what we believe and what we want? One influential proposal was made by Richard Moran: we get to know our beliefs by reflecting on our reasons to believe; when we find out what have reason to believe, we thereby construct the very belief we were searching for. This picture clearly privileges the firs-person: the deliberative self-construction is available only for the agent herself. This picture was criticised for assuming too much rationality about ordinary agents for example by Quassim Cassam and Krista Lawlor. Both Lawlor and Cassam argue that a predominant way to find out about our beliefs and desires is essentially the same in the third and the first person: itʼs based on inferences from the conscious manifestations of attitudes. In this paper, building on the account of standing states offered by Tim Crane in ‟The Unity of Unconsciousness”, we propose a third model which shares some features with both proposals. We argue that when we select some conscious manifestations as indicative of an attitude, we partially construct the attitude itself. Our picture accommodates the psychological observations of Cassam and Lawlor, extends to non-rational self-reflection, and still offers a version of the self-construction of attitudes that privileges the first person.