First-Person Knowledge in Phenomenology

Amie L. Thomasson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


We each at least seem to have a distinctive first-person knowledge of our own experience. One standard way to account for the source of first-person knowledge is by appeal to a kind of inner observation, and phenomenology is often thought to rely on introspection. But Husserl's method of phenomenological reduction was designed precisely to find a route to knowledge of the structures of consciousness that was independent of any appeal to observation of one's own mental states. This chapter explicates Husserl's method of phenomenological reduction in contemporary terms that (1) show its distance from all inner-observation accounts; (2) exhibit its kinship to and historical influence on outer-observation accounts of self-knowledge popularized by Sellars; and (3) demonstrate that a contemporary 'cognitive transformation' view based on Husserl's method may provide a viable contribution to contemporary debates about the source of self-knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191709951
ISBN (Print)9780199272457
StatePublished - May 1 2010


  • Cognitive transformation
  • First-person knowledge
  • Husserl
  • Inner observation
  • Introspection
  • Phenomenological reduction
  • Self-knowledge
  • Sellars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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