Self-awareness and self-knowledge

Amie Thomasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Higher-order theories and neo-Brentanian theories of consciousness both consider conscious states to be states of which we have some sort of ‘inner awareness’. Three kinds of evidence are typically given for thinking that self-awareness is constitutive of consciousness: (1) verbal evidence (that we speak of conscious states as those we are conscious of), (2) phenomenological evidence, and (3) epistemological evidence (that we have immediate reporting ability on our conscious states). I argue, however, that these three forms of evidence ultimately reduce to one: the epistemological evidence that our conscious states are first-person knowable. But, I argue, we can account for this on a cognitive-transformation account of self-knowledge rather than by appealing to inner awareness. If so, the primary motivation for thinking of inner awareness as essential to consciousness is undermined and the way is cleared for a strictly one-level theory of consciousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number2006
StatePublished - 2006


  • Brentano
  • Consciousness
  • Inner awareness
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Philosophy


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