Philosophers have traditionally assumed that knowledge of our own thoughts is special. Descartes famously believed that knowledge of our current thoughts is infallible. He also believed that those thoughts themselves are self-presenting, so that whenever one entertains a thought, one is capable of infallible knowledge of it. Many figures in the history of philosophy have
Continue reading Knowledge of our own thoughts is just as interpretive as knowledge of the thoughts of others
Imagine two people discussing a question in mathematics. One of them says “7,497 is a prime number,” while the other says, “7,497 is not a prime number.” In a case like this one, we would probably conclude that there is a single right answer and that anyone who says otherwise must be mistaken. The question
Continue reading Do People Actually Believe in Objective Moral Truths?
Self-insight is often considered one of the most distinctive aspects of human experience. While other species can recognize themselves in the mirror or have a rudimentary sense of self, the human capacity for self-insight and self-reflection is what makes our species unique. However, this capacity has many, often hilarious, limits. We all have some version
Continue reading Bright Spots and Blind Spots in Self-Knowledge
We humans spend a remarkable amount of time, money, and energy to benefit others, including family, friends, and strangers. Why do we do it? Do we ever care about others for their sakes and not simply for our own? Is our ultimate goal always and exclusively self-benefit, or are we capable of caring about another
Continue reading Empathic Concern and Altruism in Humans