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The University of Southampton
Humanities Graduate School

Sophie Keeling

I hold a BA in English Literature and Philosophy from Cardiff University and an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick. Having developed a background in both subjects, I decided that my interests lay primarily in philosophy, and specifically the philosophy of mind and self-knowledge.

Sophie Keeling

I first studied self-knowledge as part of my MA, taking a module on the subject as well as writing my dissertation on the area. In it, I considered how we might best formulate the quasi-perceptual approach to self-knowledge, a view which understands our knowledge of our own mental states as in some way similar to perceptually-gained knowledge of the external world.

I am working on self-knowledge, considering how we know our own beliefs, desires, intentions and other mental attitudes. In particular I am interested in ‘rationalism’, a roughly-defined group of theories that seek in differing ways to address our self-knowledge by rooting our epistemic warrant in our rationality, as Richard Moran, Matthew Boyle, and Tyler Burge do, for example.  I wish to think about the best way in which we might construe such a theory. In doing so, I will firstly attempt to clarify what it actually is for a theory of self-knowledge to be ‘rationalist’, as well as which proposal is preferable. Here, I am particularly interested in Boyle’s ‘reflectivism’ which suggests that we have tacit knowledge of, for example, our belief regarding the matter in question when we form a judgement about its subject matter. My project will also consider various problem cases for rationalism, such as that of ‘attitude recalcitrance’, that is, when we judge something to be the case and yet do not possess the corresponding attitude. This places doubt on our supposed rationality which would, for ‘rationalists’, provide us with the warrant for self-knowledge. Further, under some accounts, we need to understand our knowledge of such attitudes in a different way to our knowledge of our own non-recalcitrant attitudes.

Key facts

Sophie is supervised by Dr Conor McHugh (Southampton) and Dr Richard Gray (Cardiff).

Email Sophie here.

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