By William Lyons
William Lyons offers an unique thesis on introspection as self-interpretation when it comes to a culturally encouraged version.
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Extra info for The disappearance of introspection
Copy Theory versus Replay Theory of Imagination 115 3. Experimental Psychology and the Replay Theory of Imagination 118 4. Neo-Hobbesean Nature of This Replay Theory of Imagination 120 5. Memory and "Introspection" 121 6. Perceptual Memory and Imagination in the Service of "Introspection" 123 7. "Introspection" and "Folk Psychology" 125 8. "Introspective Reports" 128 9. Corrigibility of "Introspective Reports" 130 10. Some Links with Empiricism and Behaviorism 133 Chapter 8 The Point of "Introspection" 137 1.
3 The earliest account of introspection that could lay claim to be a classical accountthough neither the term "introspection" nor any equivalent technical term is employedis probably to be found in Augustine's De Trinitate. He there remarks, "What then can be the purport of the injunction, Know thyself? . No one can possibly doubt that he lives and remembers, understands, wills, thinks, knows, and judges. 6 Page 2 Augustine is suggesting something that became the orthodox view from roughly the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of our century and the basis for the allegedly scientific technique of introspection in nineteenth-century psychology: that we can discover the nature of mind by a process of bracketing out the external world in order the better to perceive internal mental events or contents and then by engaging directly or indirectly in some process of inner perception or inner observation.
For all the two thousand years during which metaphysicians have thus cultivated psychology, they are not agreed about one intelligible and Page 17 established proposition. "Internal observation" gives almost as many divergent results as there are individuals who think they practise it. 42 William James's immediate response was to try to disarm his critics by making it clear that, according to his account, the data of introspection are by nature reports and, like all other reports, fallible. It would be as foolish to claim infallibility for introspective reports as for ordinary observational ones.