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Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Authoritative Self-Knowledge

Cynthia Macdonald
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9264.2008.00248.x 319-346 First published online: 1 October 2008


Many recent discussions of self-consciousness and self-knowledge assume that there are only two kinds of accounts available to be taken on the relation between the so-called first-order (conscious) states and subjects' awareness or knowledge of them: a same-order, or reflexive view, on the one hand, or a higher-order one, on the other. I maintain that there is a third kind of view that is distinctively different from these two options. The view is important because it can accommodate and make intelligible certain cases of authoritative self-knowledge that cannot easily be made intelligible, if at all, by these other two types of accounts. My aim in this paper is to defend this view against those who maintain that a same-order view is sufficient to account for authoritative self-knowledge.

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