Confabulation does not undermine introspection for propositional attitudes

Adam J. Andreotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


According to some, such as Carruthers (Behav Brain Sci 32:121–138, 2009; Philos Phenomenol Res 80:76–111, 2010; The opacity of mind: an integrative theory of self-knowledge, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011; The centered mind: what the science of working memory shows us about the nature of human thought, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015), the confabulation data (experimental data showing subjects making false psychological self-ascriptions) undermine the view that we can know our propositional attitudes by introspection. He believes that these data favour his interpretive sensory-access (ISA) theory—the view that self-knowledge of our propositional attitudes always involves self-interpretation of our sensations, behaviour, or situational cues. This paper will review some of the confabulation data and conclude that the presence and pattern of these data do not substantiate the claim that we cannot introspect our propositional attitudes. As a consequence of this discussion, I conclude that the ISA theory is not well supported by the empirical data.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2019


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