Abstract

Researchers in the science of consciousness must gather data about consciousness. But we do not have third-person observational access to consciousness – in the end, this means that we have to trust the subject to tell us about it via reports. Critics worry that the grounds to trust are missing because the subject will use introspection to deliver their reports and introspection is – so critics argue – private and unreliable. The result is a global pessimism about introspection in the science of consciousness.

In my talk I will respond to the unreliability charge. My strategy is to show that properly understood, it breaks down into a cluster of independent unreliability problems. Considered separately, these problems are experimentally tractable and considered jointly, they do not support global pessimism about introspection in the science of consciousness.