Akeel Bilgrami

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXXXI No. 3, November 2010


The term ‘privileged access’, on the lips and keyboards of philosophers, expresses an intuition that self-knowledge is unique among the knowledges human beings possess, unique in being somehow more direct and less prone to error than other kinds of knowledge such as, say, our knowledge of the physical world or of the mental states of others. These notions of ‘directness ‘ and ‘immunity to error’ do, of course, need to be made more precise and may need more qualification (and even revision) than is provided at the level of intuition. Those are the familiar tasks of the philosophical refinement of an intuition. But these tasks must nest in a more basic philosophical question, which is to consider, as with all intuitions, whether the intuition can be justified in the first place by philosophical argument or whether, on scrutiny, it should be discarded as insupportable.

View the paper: A Precis of Self-Knowledge and Resentment