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Developing dark pessimism towards the justificatory role of introspective reports

Irvine, Elizabeth ORCID: 2021. Developing dark pessimism towards the justificatory role of introspective reports. Erkenntnis 86 , pp. 1319-1344. 10.1007/s10670-019-00156-9

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This paper argues for a position of ‘dark pessimism’ towards introspective reports playing a strong justificatory role in consciousness science, based on the application of frameworks and concepts of measurement. I first show that treating introspective reports as measurements fits well within current discussions of the reliability of introspection, and argue that introspective reports must satisfy at least a minimal definition of measurement in order to play a justificatory role in consciousness science. I then show how treating introspective reports as measurements makes it possible to identify the foundational methodological problems that underlie much of the current philosophical and scientific debate about the status of introspective evidence in studying consciousness. I argue that these problems prevent introspective reports from playing a strong justificatory role and resolving long-standing debates in consciousness science, both in contemporary work and in the future.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0165-0106
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 July 2019
Date of Acceptance: 22 July 2019
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 03:41

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