Knowledge as Personal: The Representation of Self in the Representation of Knowledge

Document Type: 
ASSC Conference Item
Article Type: 
Self and Mental State Attribution
self representation meta-level hierarchy
Deposited by: 
Joel Parthemore
Date of Issue: 
John Parthemore
Event Dates: 
23-26 June 2006
Event Location: 
Oxford, UK
Event Title: 
10th annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
Event Type: 
ASSC Conference
Presentation Type: 
Number of Pages: 
Knowledge is always knowledge of: knowledge requires an object, but not an object on its own, for the object requires a subject. Just as one probably cannot begin to understand conceptual knowledge without an appreciation of non-conceptual knowledge, so, too, one cannot understand knowledge, conceptual or non-conceptual, in the absence of an understanding of intelligence. Some philosophers have argued that any understanding of intelligence needs to be broad-based and not anthropocentric; but I will argue that what I call the anthropocentric stance is at least useful and at most possibly necessary. This anthropocentric stance is fundamentally a part of our relations to other human intelligences, and it may be fundamental to our relations to any intelligent entities. In understanding others, we begin with an understanding of ourselves. If we take a representational approach to mind, then what is the general nature of our representations of other (one-who-is-like-self) and self? I suggest that our representation of other begins with a modified representation of self. In turn the representation of self may begin with a representation of boundary: the self from the not self. I talk about two distinct but related notions of self, which I call I(1) and I(2), and briefly mention a third, I(3). The self can masquerade as the homunculus in the mind without being one: following a line ofthought from Daniel Dennett, a form of the meta-level argument offers an escape from infinite regress. This is not a paper about consciousness, but it does attempt to show how a certain approach to consciousness might shape any subsequent approach to knowledge representation.
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