Edited By Joao Fonseca and Jorge Goncalves
Self-Knowledge, Introspection and Memory
Self-knowledge (S-K) has a variety of dimensions and philosophers have proposed, and continue to propose, a host of different methods to explore or to establish the principles of a very particular form of knowledge such as this. What is quite impressive in the philosophical literature (by which I mean not only that of analytical inspiration but also that of the so-called continental philosophy) is the fact that the usual relationship between S-K, introspection and reflection leaves no space for the essential role of memory. Hence, it is memory’s role in S-K that I wish to look at here.
Traditionally, empiricist and rationalist approaches have dominated the epistemic views of S-K. The latter starts with Descartes, or even earlier, and continues until Kant; the former includes Locke and Hume2. ← 73 | 74 → In fact, if one thinks of Hume and Kant as the most relevant modern representatives and the culmination points of both approaches to S-K, it would seem perfectly acceptable to suggest that introspection plays a determinant methodological role. In the first case, let us remember what Hume famously said regarding his own mind and what he finds there: “For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of hot or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself, at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing...
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