Speaking My Mind: Expression and Self-Knowledge by Dorit Bar-On

Speaking My Mind: Expression and Self-Knowledge

byDorit Bar-On

Paperback | September 29, 2005

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Dorit Bar-On develops and defends a novel view of avowals and self-knowledge. Drawing on resources from the philosophy of language, the theory of action, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind, she offers original and systematic answers to many long-standing questions concerning our abilityto know our own minds. We are all very good at telling what states of mind we are in at a given moment. When it comes to our own present states of mind, what we say goes; an avowal such as "I'm feeling so anxious" or "I'm thinking about my next trip to Paris," it is typically supposed, tells it like it is. But why isthat? Why should what I say about my present mental states carry so much more weight than what others say about them? Why should avowals be more immune to criticism and correction than other claims we make? And if avowals are not based on any evidence or observation, how could they possiblyexpress our knowledge of our own present mental states? Bar-On proposes a Neo-Expressivist view according to which an avowal is an act through which a person directly expresses, rather than merely reports, the very mental condition that the avowal ascribes. She argues that this expressivist idea, coupled with an adequate characterization of expressionand a proper separation of the semantics of avowals from their pragmatics and epistemology, explains the special status we assign to avowals. As against many expressivists and their critics, she maintains that such an expressivist explanation is consistent with a non-deflationary view ofself-knowledge and a robust realism about mental states. The view that emerges preserves many insights of the most prominent contributors to the subject, while offering a new perspective on our special relationship to our own minds.

About The Author

Dorit Bar-On is in the Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Details & Specs

Title:Speaking My Mind: Expression and Self-KnowledgeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.02 inPublished:September 29, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199276285

ISBN - 13:9780199276288

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction: The Special Security of Some 'I' TalkII. Using 'I' as 'Subject': Cartesian Reference or No Reference?III. 'I'-Ascriptions: The Semantic and the EpistemicIV. The Epistemic Approach to Avowals' Security: Introspection and TransparencyV. Content Externalism, Skepticism, and the Recognitional Conception of Self-KnowledgeVI. The Distinctive Security of Avowals: Ascriptive Immunity to Error Beyond Security in Content AssignmentVII. Avowals: 'Grammar' and ExpressionVIII. Avowals: Expression, Content, and TruthIX. Speaking My Mind: Expression, Truth, and Self-KnowledgeX. Speaking My Mind: Grammar, Epistemology, and (Some) OntologyBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is a rich book; rich in topics, in argumentation, and in philosophical imagination and insight. It deserves the attention of all who work in mind and language."--Joseph Owens, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews