Beliefs’ self-knowledge: an objection to the method of transparency




self-deception, unconscious belief, second-order belief, rational deliberation, doxastic rule


According to the method of transparency, genuine self-knowledge is the outcome of an inference from world to mind. A. Byrne (2018) has developed a theory in which the method of transparency consists in following an epistemic rule in order to form self-verifying second-order beliefs. In this paper, I argue that Byrne’s theory does not establish sufficient conditions for having self-knowledge of first-order beliefs. Examining a case of self-deception, I strive to show that following such a rule might not result in self-knowledge when one is involved in rational deliberation. In the case under consideration, one precisely comes to believe that one believes that without coming to believe that p. The justification for one’s not forming the belief that with its distinctive causal pattern in mental life and behaviour, is that one already had the unconscious belief that not-p, a belief that is not sensitive to the principles governing theoretical and practical reasoning.

Author Biography

Javier Vidal, Universidad de Concepción

Departamento de Filosofía

Profesor Asociado


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How to Cite

Vidal, J. (2019). Beliefs’ self-knowledge: an objection to the method of transparency. Revista De Humanidades De Valparaíso, (14), 429–448.