First-Person Authority

2015
McGeer, V. (2015). Mind-making practices: the social infrastructure of self-knowing agency and responsibility. Philosophical Explorations , 18 (2), 259-281. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper is divided into two parts. In Section 1, I explore and defend a “regulative"
"view” of folk-psychology as against the “standard view” (encompassing both theory- theory  and  simulation  theory,  as  well  as  hybrid  variations).  On  the  regulative  view, folk-psychology  is  conceptualized  in  fundamentally  interpersonal  terms  as  a  “mind- making”   practice   through  which   we  come   to   form  and   regulate   our  minds  in accordance with a rich array of socially shared and socially maintained sense-making norms.  It  is  not,  as  the  standard  view  maintains,  simply  an  epistemic  capacity  for coming  to  know  about  the  mental  states  and  dispositions  already  there.  Importantly, the regulative view can meet and beat the standard at its own epistemic game. But it also does more. In Section 2, I show how the regulative view makes progress on two other problems that remain puzzling on the standard view:  (1) the problem of “first- person authority”  –  accounting for the special features of self-knowledge; and (2) the problem of “reactive responsiveness”  –  accounting for our deep concern with calling"
"one another to account for normatively untoward behaviour, both generally and in the moral domain.
mcgeer_2015_phil_explor_182.pdf
Reprinted in The Philosopher's Annual (2016) vol. 35
2007
McGeer, V. (2007). The moral development of first-person authority. European Journal of Philosophy , 16 (1), 81-108.Abstract
A fully satisfying account of 1st person authority should satisfy two desiderata: (1) explain the privileged relation we bear to our own intentional states sufficient to justify a default presumption of authority; (2) explain why such authority matters for our ability to function well as rational agents.  The traditional epistemological approach fails on the second desideratum, suggesting the more radical alternative of analyzing first-person authority in terms of a rational and self-regulative capacity we have to author our own intentional states.   In comparing different versions of this “agency” model of authoritative self-knowledge, I argue that Richard Moran’s Kantian ideal of rational autonomy is neither necessary nor sufficient for well-functioning agency; worse, the ideal is unsuitable for human beings given our moral developmental liabilities. Using examples drawn from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, I argue we become better authoritative agents through embracing a less ambitious rational ideal.
mcgeer_2007_ejp_161.pdf
2005
McGeer, V. (2005). "Out of the Mouths of Autistics: Subjective Report and its role in Cognitive Theorising". In Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement (eds., Andrew Brook & Kathleen Akins) . C.U.P.
1996
McGeer, V. (1996). "Is 'Self-Knowledge' an Empirical Problem? Renegotiating the Space of Phlosophical Explanation". Journal of Philosophy , 93 (10), 483-515.