Re: Introspection and Explanation

From: Dye, Matt (
Date: Mon Apr 28 1997 - 21:15:33 BST

On Mon, 28 Apr 1997, Taylor, Karl wrote:

> > (4) Introspection is not the way to explain the mind
> because:
> >
> > A. It is private
> > B. It does not exist
> > C. It doesn't explain anything
> > D. *A and C
> > E. B and C
> Why is something that is private no explanation? I thought
> it was just C.
> If introspection did explain anything but was private (ie.
> I, but only I, COULD really observe what was going on in my
> mind) then surely that would be an explanation of how my
> mind works, at least (which would be more than we know now,
> right?).
> I think A. would only be no explanation if 1) I couldn't
> tell you, or 2) it was different from person to person (not
> private really, but individual ie. I could tell you but you
> might not understand).
> If I could talk I'd tell you. And I would guess that most
> people's minds work pretty much the same way (at least,
> that's my experience so far).
> Has it got something to do with the Other Minds problem?


As far as I know, this has to do with the scientific method and the
replication of observations. Let's assume that I could discover
details about how my memory works by introspecting. How would I
know that this is how everybody else's memory works? Let's say
that they all verbally report the same thing I introspected. Then
I would have a collection of independent observations of independent
things (all of our memories). What we need is all of those people
observing one thing and agreeing upon what they observe. Get the
difference? An Other Minds thing.

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