Suspicious minds: Coliva on Moore’s paradox and commitment

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n The Varieties of Self-Knowledge, Annalisa Coliva defends a pluralist approach, according to which we know about our different kinds of mental states in different ways. The case for pluralism in some area of philosophy is often rather defeatist in spirit. We try out a number of different explanations for some phenomena, and realise that each falls short; at best each explanation looks good for some initial, restricted diet of examples, but once we consider the full range of the phenomena to be explained, things go awry (e.g. Wright 2013: 123). This kind of reasoning to a pluralist conclusion might plausibly apply to the debate on self-knowledge, where there’s been a tendency to construct accounts that perhaps work well enough for either beliefs, or phenomenal states such as pains, but struggle badly when applied more broadly. Coliva’s book isn’t free of this kind of reasoning (and there’s no reason it should be!), but there’s also a more positive, bottom-up case for pluralism: an argument that takes seriously the variety between the states supposedly self-known, and posits an appropriate variety of ways that states can be self-known.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-322
Early online date26 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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