Thus far, we have discussed self-knowledge as it concerns knowledge of one’s own sensations, thoughts, and attitudes. Because we have been concerned with the purported asymmetry of self-knowledge, our focus has been on ﬁrst-personal methods, which deliver knowledge of one’s own states exclusively. (Though on the inner sense model of introspection, this exclusivity is not metaphysically necessary-see Chapter 5.) It remains an open question how knowledge of one’s mental states, achieved by use of a ﬁrst-personal method, relates to knowledge of oneself. When one grasps a mental state by using a ﬁrst-personal method, is one thereby aware of a self? What would such awareness consist in? Obviously, there are a variety of ways in which one might be self-aware,
and a corresponding variety of ways to achieve self-awareness. I might be aware of my relation to my physical environment through perception; I might be aware of the position of my limbs through kinesthesia; I might be aware of my character traits through reﬂection on my behavior; and I might be aware that I occupy certain social roles through testimony from others. This diversity reﬂects the wide range of senses of the term “self”: this list includes the ecological self, the embodied self, the narrative self, and the interpersonal self. Philosophers and psychologists
recognize several other senses of “self” as well. (See Neisser and Jopling 1997.) We will be mainly concerned only with the most fundamental type of
self-awareness, which I will call “basic self-awareness.” Perhaps the least controversial way to characterize basic self-awareness is to say that it is the type of awareness reﬂected in the ability to use the term “I” with comprehension. Philosophers disagree as to what, precisely, is involved in having this ability-and whether it requires awareness of the self in one or more of the senses mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is basic self-awareness that is most closely connected to the discussion
in previous chapters. Suppose that I become aware of an itch, through introspection. Plausibly, I can then recognize not only that an itch is present, but that I have an itch. And if I become aware of a belief that it is raining by using the transparency method, I will be in a position to know that I believe this. But the accounts of self-knowledge discussed thus far do not address how knowledge of one’s states supports knowledge expressible with “I.” What is involved in recognizing that the introspected itch, or the belief grasped through reﬂection on (my) reasons, is my itch or my belief ? This is the question we address here.