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Cynthia MacDonald
University of Canterbury (Christchurch 8020 New Zealand)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2005 – 9/30/2006

Self-Knowledge: Entitlement, Privilege, and Authority

This monograph develops and defends a distinctive account of authoritative self-knowledge based on the key idea of direct epistemic access. It makes use of an observational analogy in order to defend a position on authoritative self-knowledge, but not by appealing to something like an inner sense. Rather, it appeals to more abstract and general features of observation of external things, specifically, features of observable properties, which help to explain our direct and immediate access to them. It is developed for a particular class of intentional states, the current, conscious thinkings, but is applicable to the sensations and to other cases of self-knowledge (say, of beliefs), where there isn’t a presumption of authority.