Unconscious cartesian demon.

Lucian Wischik. M.Phil. essay. January 1997.

"Who knows what I think better than I?" Lots of people. I believe that we are being systematically misled by our own unconscious minds, about how our minds work. This essay explains why.


A picture of the mind is proposed in which there are large unconscious depths, and in which we are being misled into thinking that the mind is more rational than is actually the case. Within this framework, introspection would lead to the following situation: there would be a multiplicity of theories, a systematic over-valuation of rationality, and a lack of insight into the functioning of the unconscious. Dennett's theory of vision is compared with a neuroscientific theory, and it is indicated how Dennett was led to suspect conclusions by his introspective methods. It is concluded that introspection alone is an unreliable method in the philosophy of the mind.
  • Download in PDF format, 127k