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❚ introspective ❚ empiricism ❚ philosophy ❚ reductionist

eliminativist approach to introspection

Explaining our introspective abilities through faculties that are already present in human cognitive systems, irrespective of any particular introspective functions they may perform, thereby explaining our high-level capacities to reflect upon our own minds through the more general cognitive capacities of the human mind

Lyons notes1 that the term ‘introspection’ is derived from the Latin words for to look’ and ‘within’ (p.1), he suggests that ‘introspection’ is a relic of an outdated folk psychology, alongside other notions like ‘belief’, ‘desire’, intention’, it is on the way out as a viable concept, gradually disappearing from the intellectual landscape as we obtain scientifically-informed neurophysiological terms that more accurately capture the workings of the mind (p. 155).

Attention to, and reliance upon, introspection has grown significantly since Lyons’ book with the rise of serious and widespread study of consciousness in recent years … understanding the nature, epistemic status, and methodological role of introspection is at the heart of contemporary debate among philosophers and scientists (Varela & Shear, 19992; Jack & Roepstorff, 20033; Hurlburt & Schwitzgebel, 20074; Petitmengin, 20095).


  1. William Lvons’ The Disappearance ofIntrospection (1986),↩︎

  2. View from Within: First-person Approaches to the Study of Consciousness (Consciousness Studies), 1999  edited by Francisco J Varela & Jonathan Shear↩︎

  3. Jack, A. I., & Roepstorff, A. (2003). Why trust the subject?↩︎

  4. Describing Inner Experience?: Proponent Meets Skeptic, Russell Hurlburt, Eric Schwitzgebel↩︎

  5. The Validity of First-Person Descriptions as Authenticity and Coherence, Claire Petitmengin & Michel Bitbol↩︎