I am grateful to Tim Bayne, Eric Schwitzgebel, and anonymous referees for comments and discussions on earlier versions.
Phenomenal Variability and Introspective Reliability
Article first published online: 1 JUN 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Mind & Language
Volume 26, Issue 3, pages 261–286, June 2011
How to Cite
HOHWY, J. (2011), Phenomenal Variability and Introspective Reliability. Mind & Language, 26: 261–286. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2011.01418.x
- Issue published online: 1 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 1 JUN 2011
There is surprising evidence that introspection of our phenomenal states varies greatly between individuals and within the same individual over time. This puts pressure on the notion that introspection gives reliable access to our own phenomenology: introspective unreliability would explain the variability, while assuming that the underlying phenomenology is stable. I appeal to a body of neurocomputational, Bayesian theory and neuroimaging findings to provide an alternative explanation of the evidence: though some limited testing conditions can cause introspection to be unreliable, mostly it is our phenomenology itself that is variable. With this account of phenomenal variability, the occurrence of the surprising evidence can be explained while generally retaining introspective reliability.