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The Opacity of MindAn Integrative Theory of Self-Knowledge$
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Peter Carruthers

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596195.001.0001

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Self-Interpretation and Confabulation

Self-Interpretation and Confabulation

(p.325) 11 Self-Interpretation and Confabulation
The Opacity of Mind

Peter Carruthers

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines one of the central predictions of the interpretive sensory-access (ISA) theory of self-knowledge. Since the theory claims that our only access to our thoughts and thought processes is interpretive, relying on sensory, situational, and behavioral cues, there should be frequent instances where the presence of misleading data of these sorts leads us to attribute attitudes to ourselves mistakenly. And just as predicted, there turn out to be numerous circumstances where people will confabulate about their attitudes. A variety of forms of evidence are examined, focusing especially on the self-perception and dissonance traditions in social psychology. While transparent-access theories can attempt to accommodate the data by embracing a dual-method account, none are capable of explaining the patterning in the data.

Keywords:   confabulation, counter-attitudinal, dissonance, dual-method, expressivism, inner sense, interpretive, self-interpretation, self-perception, working memory

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