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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXIV, No.

2, March 2002

Self-presentation, Representation and the Self


University of Arizona and University of Graz

Chisholm held that some states of ourselves are self-presenting and provide a stopping place in the quest for justification. The justification we have for accepting that we are in those states is transparent to us in a way that enables us to answer questions about justification. Representation enables us to apprehend such self-presenting states through themselves in a representational loop. It is a loop of exemplarization wherein the state is used as an exemplar to represent the kind of state it is. The result is that the representation of the state provides the subject with a kind of representation that loops back onto itself escaping the bondage of stratified mentality. This form of representation by exemplarization is shown to resolve problems and paradoxes concerning subjectivity, consciousness and the self raised by the writings of Hume, Kierkegaard, Ferrier, Sartre and Frank Jackson.

Chisholm held that some states of ourselves are self-presenting. Seeking for a place where the quest for justification might find a stopping place, Chisholm writes,
Sextus Empiricus remarked that every object of apprehension seems to be apprehended either through itself or through another object. Those things, if there are any that are apprehended through themselves might provide us with a stopping place.

He introduces the terminology of the self-presenting by attributing it to Meinong as follows:

Borrowing a technical term of Meinong, let us say that what is directly evident to a man is always some state of affairs that presents itself to him.2

Chisholm goes on to remark that thoughts, including appearings and undertakings, are among those states that are self-presenting. Chisholm was especially concerned with the claim that when a person is in such a state, then it
Editors note: This special symposium, containing this paper and the two that follow it, derives f o a memorial conference in honor of Roderick M. Chisholm held at Brown rm University in the year 2000. Roderick M. Chisholm, Theory o Knowledge, ( E n g l e w d Cliffs: Rentice-Hall, 1966), f 26. Chisholm, Theory ofKmwledge, 28.


must be evident to the person that he is in such a state. He modified his formulation in later work, but the claim that self-presenting states are directly evident remained central to his view. My concern in this paper is with those states that are apprehended through themselves. Chisholm initially, in Perceiving, was inclined toward the view that it would make no sense to suppose that a person was mistaken in believing that he was in a self-presenting state.3 However, over time he sought to disconnect his theory of evidence from both considerations of truth and psy~hology.~ Nevertheless, there is something about the character of selfpresenting states that allows us to apprehend them through themselves in a way that makes it difficult to see how we could be in error in believing that we are in such states. This feature of such states has, of course, been of considerable interest in the philosophy of mind as well as epistemology. Chisholm sought to distance himself in his epistemology from questions about how we apprehend such states through themselves and was content to simply note that when we are in such states, and understand what it means to be in them, it is evident to us that we are in those states. Nonetheless, such questions remain germane to Chisholms thought. I am convinced that Chisholm remained convinced that there was something about those states and about us that explained how we could apprehend them through themselves, even if his allergy to psychologism and naturalism led him to turn away from such questions. Moreover, I am also convinced that he remained convinced that our apprehension of those states through themselves protected us from error concerning them even if, as he turned away from questions about truth toward questions of rationality, he turned away from that the issue of how they protect us from error. Representation of Self-presenting States. My concern, however, is with how we represent those states that are self-presenting. There are, Chisholm affirmed, states of ourselves, conscious states, Humes impressions and ideas, that are self-presenting, immediate and directly evident. My claim is that it is something about the way we represent those states that explains how we can apprehend them through themselves. Such an explanation of how we represent those states also explains why we are secure from error in our r e p sentation, though not beyond the logical possibility of error, as many have noted, and how we are justified in accepting that we are in such states when we represent them in the way that makes them self-presenting. I shall explain why the justification we have for accepting that we are in those states is transparent to us in a way that enables us to answer questions

Roderick M. Chisholm, Perceiving: A Philosophical Srudy, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1957), 67. Cf. My Philosophical Development, in The Philosophy o Roderick M. Chisholm, Lewis f Edwin Hahn, ed., (Chicago: Open Court, 1997). 3-41.


about justification when we are justified in accepting that we are in such states. The equation of justification with being able to answer questions about how we are justified and how we know, is not a confusion of levels, as Alston suggested: but, rather the result of a manner of representation. Representation enables us to apprehend such self-presenting states through themselves in a representational loop. I have suggested that the representational loop is a loop of exemplarization, wherein the state is used as an exemplar to represent the kind of state it is. The result is that the representation of the state provides the subject with a kind of representation that loops back onto itself escaping the bondage of stratified mentality. Problems and Paradoxes. I shall propose that this form of representation, exemplarization, enables us to solve a number of problems about the repre sentation of conscious states and the representation of the self. The first problem is that the experience of conscious states fails to include the representation of them. The representation of such states is left over as a kind of residue of representation. I call this the representation problem. The second problem concerns the impossibility of representing the subjectivity of conscious states and the conscious self. This problem is the mirror opposite of the representation problem in that it affirms that any representation of conscious states and, therefore, of the conscious self, will fail to include the subjective knowledge of the activity of consciousness. Representation will always leave out this remainder of subjective knowledge. I call this the problem of subjectivity. Finally, there is the paradox involved in combining the problems of representation and subjectivity to account for our knowledge of consciousness and the conscious self. The paradox is that consciousness transcends the subjectivity of consciousness to yield the representation of it required for subjective knowledge while at the same time conscious transcends any representation of it. I call this the problem of transcendence. These problems, I shall argue, admit of solution in terms of representation by exemplarization, but first let us formulate the problems. The Representation Problem: Reid versus Hume. Consider the problem of the representation of self-presenting states, conscious states. The best articulation of the problem is to be found in the 18th century dispute between David Hume and Thomas Reid. Hume said that the perceptions of the mind divide into impressions and ideas. Impressions are conscious states. Hume says that as the force and vivaciousness of impressions fade, they become ideas, indeed, ideas of the initial impressions! Now Hume is famous for his attempt to account for our belief in the external world in terms of impres5

William Alston, Levels-Confusions in Epistemology, in Midwesf S f d i e s in Philosophy, P.A. French, T.E. Uehling and H.K. Wettstein, eds., (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980). David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, L.A.Selby-Bigge, ed., (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1888), 1-8.


sions, even if he finds no line of reasoning to d e f d the existence of the external world starting from premises restricted to impressions and ideas. Reid, his opponent, a f f i e d that no external object or quality thereof even resembles an impression. Humes attempt to account for our belief in external objects and the qualities thereof in terms of impressions is, Reid thought, doomed from the outset. Reid does not leave his criticism of Hume at this level, however, but proceeds instead to a deeper and more fundamental criticism. The criticism is that Hume cannot account for our belief in the existence of impressions and ideas themselves. Hence, even if, per impossible, Hume could succeed in giving an account of our belief in the existence of external objects and their qualities based on only our belief in the existence of impressions and ideas, Humes project would falter at the initial step of giving an account of our belief in the existence of impressions and ideas themselves. The reason is that there is a critical distinction between an impression, on the one hand, and a belief and conception of the impression, on the other. Take, for example, a sensation, the sensation of taste one experiences upon drinking the first cup of coffee in the morning. The sensation is one thing and a conception of it, a thought of it, is another. Reid contended that the claim becomes more obvious when the sensation is past, when I remember the sensation I experienced upon drinking the cup of coffee. For now the sensation is past, but the conception of it and the belief that it existed are something present. The past sensation is obviously not identical with the present thought of it on the grounds that nothing that is past can be identical with something present. The fundamental point, however, is that the conception, thought or belief concerning the sensation, whether past or present, must be distinguished from the sensation itself. Consider another example, that of pain. It is one thing to feel a pain, and it is another to have a conception, thought or belief concerning the pain. Reid says that the pain is the immanent object, what we would after Brentano call the intentional object, of the conception, thought or belief. The pain must be distinguished from the thought about it. The reason is that the pain may have no immanent object, no intentional object, while the thought of the pain has the pain as the immanent or intentional object of it? So, if the impression has no immanent object and the conception, thought or belief of the pain does have an immanent object, namely, the pain itself, then the conception, thought or belief of the pain must be distinct from the pain. In general, put in modern terms, the point is that impressions lack the intentional structure of conception, thought

Thomas Reid, The Works o Thomas Reid, Eighth Edirion, S r William Hamilton, ed., f i (Edinburgh: James Thin, 1895). 105. Reid, Works. 356-57. Reid, Works, 183.


and belief, which have immanent or intentional objects. Hence, Reid concluded, Hume, starting with impressions alone cannot give us an account of our conception, thought or belief concerning even impressions. Hume's philosophy leaves us with an unexplained residue of representation beyond impressions, namely, our conception, thought and belief about them. The Represenration offhe Self. This problem leads to a second problem of a representation for Hume, one concerning the self. Hume says that when he turns in upon himself and perceives what he is pleased to call himself, he always perceives some impression or idea and nothing else. He concludes that he must be composed of impressions and ideas." The problem is that when Hume turns in upon himself and perceives his impressions and ideas, there seems to be something omitted, namely, the perceiver of those impressions and ideas. This argument suggests that the perceiver is a substance, and might beg the question against Hume. d However, even if we do not assume that the perceiver is a substance a acknowledge that it might be a collection of impressions and ideas, there remains at least the perception of those impressions and ideas, when Hume looks into himself in order to represent what he is, left dangling beyond the impressions and ideas perceived. The perception of the impressions and ideas, even if that is nothing but another impression, appears to be left outside the bundle of impressions and ideas perceived. Any attempt, therefore, by a self to represent the self as a bundle of impressions and ideas will leave the perception of those impressions and ideas dangling outside the bundle. That perception will be unrepresented and not included in the representation of the bundle of impressions and ideas constituting the self. The attempt to repre sent the self by observing the impressions and ideas composing it is selfdefeating. These are problems about the representation of impressions and, consequently, about the representation of the self in terms of the representation of impressions and ideas. The two problems constitute the problem of representation. I shall eventually argue that the solution to the problem of representation is contained in Hume's own work, but it is important to notice the relationship between this problem and other problems concerning consciousness and evidence implicit in the doctrine of the self-presentation of our conscious states. For, if Reid is correct in his argument, then it appears that the psychological doctrine of self-presentation, of conscious states apprehended through themselves, cannot be correct." The apprehension of the


Hume, Treatise. 252.


This problem is not a problem about the completeness of a representation of the states of the self which may fail t be achieved because of the complexity of the bundle or, as o
Hume himself noted, difficulties specifying the relation between the impressions and ideas that make them a self. It is a more elementary problem, namely, that the very



conscious state, the pain, must be distinguished from the conception, thought or belief about it. Consider a thought about a sensation or other conscious state. We must distinguish the thought about some state, even a thought about a thought, from the state itself. For the thought about a state has that state as an intentional object, it is about that state, and hence must be distinguished from it. Transparency of Consciousness. As a doctrine in philosophy of mind, a doctrine about the psychology of consciousness, this might seem harmless enough. Indeed, RosenthalI3and P01lock~ have thought that this doctrine has the simple consequence that consciousness is metamental ascent to a next level to obtain representation of a state. The ascent beyond the first level is consciousness of them, and consciousness of a state at any level takes you up a level to obtain the conscious representation of the state. Why not be satisfied with simply accepting Reids objection and this consequence of it? First of all, the doctrine of self-presentationhas a point. Conscious states do seem to present themselves to the subject in a way that makes the representation of those states immediately transparent to us. The phenomenology may, of course, be misleading. But they do seem to be apprehended through themselves. One might object that this phenomenology is simply the result of the state playing a causal role in their representation. However, the existence of many objects plays a causal role in our representation of them, so self-presentation is missing from the account. Moreover, though this is controversial, the account that takes us to a higher level to obtain a conscious representation of a state always leaves us with an unrepresented level. We might, of course, move up a level, but, once again, we are left at any point with an unrepresented residue. The controversial but interesting feature of consciousness is that the thought of a conscious state seems representationally transparent. Consciousness seems, at least in some especially clear and salient instances, a toothache, for example, to be representationally transparent all the way up, down and through. When we turn to the question of evidence the point iterates. Some philosophers, Alston originally, have suggested that we may be justified in believing that we are in some conscious or self-presenting state or, like
attempt to represent the bundle by perceiving what is in the bundle defeats the representation of the self as a bundle by leaving a perception unrepresented. It should be noted that when Reid wrote about consciousness he suggested that conscious states signified or were signs of themselves as well as of other things. Nevertheless, he distinguished between the sensation and the thought of the sensation. The sensation may give rise to the thought of it and be a sign of it in that way, but the thought and the sensation giving rise t it are distinct. o David Rosenthal, Two Concepts of Consciousness, Philosophicd Studies 49 (1986). 329-59 and Consciousness and Metacognition, in Meturepresentutions: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, Dan Sperber, ed., (Oxford Oxford University Press. 2000), 265-98. John Pollock, How to Build u Person: A Prolegomenon, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986).



Chi~holm,~ it might be evident to us that we are in such states, even that though we cannot give any answer to the question of how we are justified. Indeed, Alston has gone so far as to suggest that the supposition that we need to be able to answer the question of how we are justified in order to be justified, of how such states are evident to us in order to be evident to us, involves confusing one level with another.16 It is advantageous in dealing with skeptical challenges to be able to claim that one is justified and to be able to answer the query, How are you justified? by saying, I just am, and I dont have to say how I am justified in order to be justified. But the answer is unsatisfying. The object of philosophy is to provide explanation, otherwise the point of it is lost. And when asked for an explanation, if one answers, I dont have to answer, one may be right, but one loses credibility in philosophical inquiry. Finally, however, the unsatisfying answer seems unnecessary because there is a correct and satisfying answer that I can give, namely, I can tell whether I am in pain because the existence of the pain is transparent to me in a way that provides me with justification for accepting the existence of it. The pain presents itself to me in a way that makes the existence of it transparent to me. The pain provides me with an explanation of how I am justified in believing that I am in pain because of the way I apprehend it. There is no confusion of levels, because, contrary to the standad view, the justification is transparent in the way the representation is. I am justified all the way up, down and through the state. But how is this possible? It might argued that justification like representation always leaves us with a residue of justification at another level just as representation always leaves us with a residue of representation at another level. This argument is a fundamental philosophical mistake, however. The Problem o Subjectivity. Before turning to the solution, which is f suggested in Hume, let us consider the way in which the problem of subjectivity has inserted itself into discussions of consciousness. Another Scot, James Frederick Femer, who had the distinction of introducing the term epistemology along with the opposite agnoiology into English, picked up on the point that Reid made against Hume concerning representation and the object of thought. He used it to argue against materialism. His argument, starting with Reids point, is simple. Consider the subjective activity of conscious thought. Now when I think of a material thing, it is an object of thought, and has a kind of objectivity, with no aspect of it lost or omitted. But when I direct the subjective activity of thought toward something, toward


Chisholm, Theory of Knowledge, 26-30. Alston, Levels-Confusionsin Epistemology. James Frederick Ferrier, Introduction to the Philosophy of Consciousness (1938-39) PIS. I-VII in Lectures on Greek Philosophy and other Philosophical Remains, vol. 11, Sir Alexander Grant and E. L. Lushington, eds. (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1866).


some object, the object of that subjective activity is not itself a subjective activity of thought but rather the object of the subjective activity. The object must be distinguished from the subjective activity directed toward it. Femers point was not merely an objection to materialism but to any attempt to give an objective account of the subjective activity of conscious thought. We may, of course, think about our thought, but then we will be thinking about some past thought rather than some present subjective activity of thinking. That subjective activity is always left as a remainder. The argument concerning subjectivity recurs in Kierkegaard* who claims, in a witty moment, that Hegel, in a moment of cosmic absentmindedness, forgot to include something when he was thinking about his absolute system of the totality of objective reality. He forgot to include Hegel, and, moreover, Hegel engaged in the subjective activity of thinking about the total system of objective reality. Kierkegaard, hot in pursuit of Hegel and his total objective system, asks us to imagine a man, call him for our convenience, Joe, who spends his life studying love objectively. Joe has never felt the subjective experience of love. So, Kierkegaard says, for all his objective study and knowledge of love from a third person objective perspective, Joe lacks the subjective truth about love, that is, he does not know what love is subjectively for all his objective kn~wledge.~ Imagine, to reinforce the point, that Joe, having done his research, wonders what the subjective experience of love is like, what it feels like to be in love. Imagine further that he subsequently falls in love. He might well say, So that is what love is. Now I know what it is like. (For those of you who do not think that love is a feeling, it will suffice to substitute having an orgasm for being in love in the example and imagine that Joe, though he studied the orgasm never experienced one. And then he did.) Kierkegaards point is that there is a kind of knowledge of an experience, a kind of subjective knowledge that remains beyond any objective account and all objective knowledge. So, once again, there is the claim that conscious experience leaves a remainder whenever one attempts to represent that experience. Like Ferrier, he claims that any attempt to give an objective account of subjective conscious experience will fail. Of course, Kierkegaard places great emphasis on the subjective experience for knowledge of it. But Kierkegaard would agree that thought about an experience is distinct from the experience, as Ferrier insisted, and, therefore, any thought of an experience will leave out a way of knowing the experience, by having it, by being the experiencing subject. The primary claim of Kierkegaard, however, was that any objective,



Seren Kierkegaard, Concluding CJnscienriJicPosfscript, D.F. Swenson trans., (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1941). 267, 271, 273. Ibid., 51.


that is, third person account of subjective experience leaves a remainder of the subjective knowledge of it. There is an interesting similarity between the example from Kierkegaard and the twentieth century argument from Jacksonzoagainst materialism based on subjective experience. The example is too well know to rehearse in detail, but it is the example of a scientist, Mary, who comes to know all that there is to know about physics and physical phenomena in an advanced state of scientific knowledge. However, Mary has spent her life in a monochromatic room to date, and so, though she knows all there is to know about the physics of red objects and how they interact with the human body, she does not know what it is like to experience the color red. She has never done so. Imagine that she now leaves the room and perceives an object she knows to be red. Now she knows what red is like. So all her objective knowledge leaves a residue of something to know by having the conscious experience of
red. A Paradoxical Theory: Same. Two other twentieth century philosophers,

Same2 and Nagel have insisted that conscious experience gives us knowledge of what something is like, indeed, what it is like to be the person or subject of consciousness one is. Sartre, in some remarks reminiscent of Ferrier, claims that this knowledge of consciousness by consciousness creates an opposition because the intentional object of knowledge cannot be the conscious activity. An object cannot be the same thing as a subjective activity. Nevertheless, Sartre claims that consciousness contains within itself knowledge of consciousness in some primal and immediate way that does not make consciousness an intentional object of consciousness. Rather than saying that the conscious state involves consciousness of consciousness, implying that consciousness is an intentional object of itself, Sartre suggests we should recognize the reflexive character of consciousness giving us knowledge of consciousness by speaking somewhat ungrammatically of consciousness (of) consciousness. This gives us a way of expressing how consciousness gives us subjective knowledge of consciousness without making it an intentional object of itself. The problem of the remainder of subjective knowledge appears to be treated in Sartre by accepting the paradox of saying that consciousness gives us knowledge of consciousness without making it an intentional object. Thus, according to Sartre, consciousness both is and is not the object of consciousness in giving us knowledge of what it is like. Sartre also offers us a paradoxical account of the self to accommodate the problem of the residue. Suppose I reflect on what I am. I must reflect, he


Frank Jackson, Epiphenomena1Qualities. Philosophical Quarterly, 32 (1982). 127-36. Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Hazel E. Barnes, trans., (New York: Philose phical Library, 1956). Introduction, 3-21. Thomas Nagel, The Viewfrom Nowhere, (New York Oxford University Press, 1986).


thought, perhaps following Hume, on my conscious states. So following Hume, I might say that those conscious states are what I am. What else could I say I am? But my consciousness projects beyond those conscious states, and so that is not what I am. It is what I am and is not what I am. As Sartre puts the matter paradoxically, I am what I have been, those conscious states of me, in the mode of not being them. I am that in the mode of not being it. Of course, Sartre is concerned with projection into the future from the present and not just with the residue of representation of those conscious states dangling outside of them. But consciousness would suffice for knowing all that I can know about what I am as consciousness. Given the residue of representation of consciousness,on the one side, and the remainder of subjective knowledge of consciousness on the other, I can know what I am as a conscious being in the mode of not being it. I am, to put the matter in Humean terms, a bundle of impressions in the mode of not being it. There is depth in the Sartrian formulation, though, as I shall argue, we need not settle for the paradoxical conception of the self. It is an honest attempt to deal with the problems of the residue of representation and the remainder of subjective knowledge concerning the self derived from Hume and, indeed, from Kant. Some might be inclined to prefer a conception of the self as something I know not what, an unknown and unrepresented something, a simple substance, a monad, which has the conscious states. But that leaves us with a conception of the self as a surd, something incapable of rational explanation. What reason is there to prefer a surd to a paradox in philosophy? Thomas Nagel, influenced by Sartre, has argued that consciousness, and, indeed, the form of consciousness peculiar to us is what it is like to be what we are.23One might doubt the assumption of Hume, Sartre and Nagel that what we are or what it is like to be what we are consists of our conscious states. I would be inclined to say that however salient and essential conscious states are to my being what I am and to what it is like to be me, that is not the whole story about me. Of course, what it is consciously like to be me consists of my conscious states, but there may be more to me, the unconscious and many material aspects of me, which are part of me and what is like to be me, though, of course, not what it is consciously like to be me. However, those parts of me can be represented by myself or another, in principle, if not in fact, without residue. It is consciousness that leaves a residue in the representation of the self. The Problem of Transcendence. What we find in Sartre is the combination of the problem of representation and the problem of subjectivity in a paradox. The two problems are mirror opposites. The problem of representation affirms that any conscious state is distinct from the representation of it



and thus leaves a residue of representation. The representation is something beyond the conscious state. The problem of subjectivity a f f i s that any representation of the conscious state is distinct from the conscious state and thus leaves a remainder of the subjectivity of the conscious state. Suppose, then, that you attempt to represent the self. The conscious state leaves a residue of representation and representation leaves a remainder of subjectivity. So, according to Sartre the representation of the conscious self is the r e p sentation of consciousness without a residue of representation and a remainder of subjectivity. That representation must be paradoxical. The paradox is that what I am transcends any representation I can give of my conscious self at the same time I transcend representation as a conscious self to know what I am. That is the problem of transcendence. I can only represent myself as being what I am not and not being what I am. Exemplarization: A Solution. We have confronted the problems of representation, subjectivity and transcendence. Some will be impressed with them, others may not. I am impressed with them. As I reflect on the history of the discussion of the representation of the self, I consider the proposal of Sartre that the self is paradoxical a natural outcome of the problems of representation and subjectivity. However, both problems have a solution. The basis of the solution is the appreciation of the way in which a state, even a subjective activity, can function as an exemplar or model to represent a class of states, including itself. This process of representation I have called exemplarization. My fundamental thesis is that we exemplarize our conscious states automatically, or, at least, most of them unreflectively. Once one notices the possibility of exemplarization, the solution to the problems we have considered will become transparent. A conscious state serving as a vehicle to represent conscious states, including itself, will leave no residue of representation, for it functions as a representation. A representation of a conscious state will leave no remainder of subjective activity or subjective knowledge of it, because the representation is the subjective activity. Exemplarization is familiar enough as Goodmanz4 taught us. Consider has an instance. You have heard of a song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, for example, and you ask me what song that is. I accommodate you by singing the song. My singing of the song represents singings of the song. It is an exemplar of a singing and represents singings, including, of course, itself. This is representation by exemplarization. If I sing the song, and you object that I have not represented the singing of the song because I have just provided an exemplar of a singing, I answer that the singing of the song is an exemplar of singing which represents singings of the song at the same time that it is a singing of the song.


Nelson Goodman, hnguages ofArr, (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Menill, 1968).



Solving the Problem of Subjectivity. Exemplarization solves the problem of subjectivity. Suppose I have a feeling, a feeling of pain, for example. Now it might appear that any representation of the feeling will be an objective, third person, representation and will leave out subjective knowledge of what the experience is like in the way in which loveless Joe, who has lived a loveless life, will not know what the feeling of love is like no matter what objective knowledge of love he has obtained. Similarly, monochromatic Mary, who has lived in a monochromatic room all her life, will not know what the sensation of red is like no matter what objective materialistic representation of color she has. Does this drive us to the conclusion that feeling and sensation cannot be represented without leaving out the remainder of subjective knowledge of what these states are like? Exemplarization reveals the way in which representation avoids the remainder. Suppose that Mary leaves her monochromatic room and sees Joes red tee shirt or that Joe sees Mary and is suffused with feelings of love for the first time. Let us remain with the simpler case of Mary who has the sensation of red for the first time. Mary now knows for the first time what the sensation is like which is subjective knowledge that transcends her previous objective representation of knowledge about the color red. Though others have objected, it seems clear to me that Mary knows something in a new way, knows what the sensation of red is like in a new way, which she did not know before. We explain Marys new knowledge of the sensation of red by supposing that she exemplarizes it. The sensation of red becomes an exemplar of a class of sensations. The exemplarized sensation represents the class of sensations including, of course, itself. By exemplarizing the sensation, the sensation is at the same time represented and representational. Her new knowledge of what the sensation of red is like represents the sensation by exemplarizing it. The sensation which is new to her becomes a new representation of a class of sensations by being used to represent a class of sensations of which it is a member. The exemplarized sensation becomes a general representation of a class of sensations. The particular becomes conceptual as a result and represents a class of particulars of which it is a member. It may occur as an objection to some that a concept is general and that there are many ways to generalize from a particular, from a particular sensation, for example. That is obviously a correct point. Two observations avoid converting an obviously correct point into a difficulty. The first is that animals generalize in their responses just as we do, and how they and we generalize is in some cases determined by our biology and in others by tutelage. We do not need to formulate a rule in order to generalize any more

Exemplarization is here treated as using a particular to represent a class. For the purposes of this paper it could be construed as using a particular to represent a kind or sort. I chose the more nominalistic construal to harmonize with Hume.


than other creatures do. The second observation is that the ability to generalize is a necessary though not sufficient condition for exemplarization. For one might respond to a class of particulars in the same way without using any of the particulars in the class to represent the rest, or, for that matter to represent anything else. However, when one exemplarizes, one uses a particular to represent a class.26Finally, it should be noted that we use activities to represent a class of activities, that is, we exemplarize activities. Thus the problem of subjectivity is solved when the new sensation is exemplarized and becomes, while remaining a subjective activity, a representation of the sensation in the new knowledge of it. Solving the Problem of Representation: Humes View. Does this solve the problem of representation raised by Reid against Hume? It does. The exemplarized sensation, the impression, represents the impression becoming an idea of it. There is no residue of representation beyond the sensation when the sensation is exemplarized. It is, I think, important to note that Hume insists that when impressions fade they become ideas of the original impression. Thus, it is open to Hume to reply to Reid that the impression becomes an idea as it is exemplarized to represent a class of impressions including itself. Is this Humes view? There is no doubt that Hume held that particular ideas, faded impressions, are used to stand for a class of ideas and become general. As for the reflexive character of exemplarization whereby the exemplarized impression becomes an idea that represents the impression, Hume remarks at the beginning of the Treatise,
The first circumstance, that sbikes my eye, is the great resemblance betwixt our own impressions and ideas in every other particular, except their degree of force and vivacity. The one seems to be in a manner the reflexion of the other; so that all the perceptions of the mind are double, and appear both as impressions and ideas.

When noting that we use general terms to stand for a class of objects, Hume indicates that he regards it as obvious that the particular is used to stand for the class. He writes when discussing abstract ideas and general terms,
However this may be, tis certain rhaf we form the idea of individuals, whenever we use any general term; thar we seldom or never can exhaust these individuals; and rhnr those, which remain, are represented by means of that habit, by which we recall them, whenever any present occasion requires it?

As for the power by which we bring to mind the other impressions represented by a particular, Hume admits that,



Whether the exemplarized particular can be used to formulate a rule may be controversial. However, the rule to the effect that the particular should be used to stand for members of the class it represents is at least implicit in function of exemplarization. Hum, Treatise. on page 2. The italics on the word reflexion are Humes. Hume, Treatise, 22.


Resemblance suggests further ideas to us when they become useful or necessary. One would think the whole world of our ideas was at once subjected t our view. There may not, be any o present, beside those very ideas, that are thus collected by a kind of magical faculty in the
~ 0 ~ 1 . ~ ~

My intention here is not to defend an interpretation of Hume, however, but rather to indicate that the resources for his defense and the solution of the problem of representation are contained explicitly in his work. Solving the Problem of the Representation of the Self. Does the exemplarization of impressions solve the problem of the residue in the representation of the self? The problem was that when Hume turns into himself and perceives his impressions and ideas, that perception of the impressions and ideas is not represented as part of the bundle of impressions and ideas. Hence, there is always an unrepresented perception outside the bundle of impressions and ideas. So, it appears that what Hume calls himself cannot be that bundle since Humes perception of the impressions and ideas is left dangling outside the bundle. Exemplarization solves this problem as well. When Hume looks into himself and perceives his impressions and ideas that is a perception of the mind, that is, an impression. Assume that impressions are exemplarized. Then Humes perception of his impressions and ideas is itself exemplarized. The exemplarized perception represents itself as well as the other impressions. So the unrepresented perception left dangling outside the represented bundle is an illusion. As Hume looks into himself and represents himself to himself, that perception, assuming it to be exemplarized, represents itself at the same time that it represents other states. Impressions are exemplarized and avoid the problem of representation by looping back onto themselves. The perception of the other impressions and ideas of the self is also exemplarized and represents itself as well other impressions and ideas. Consequently, the perception of the other perceptions in the bundle is itself represented and included in the representation of the bundle. The representation of that perception is not left dangling outside the representation of the bundle but is itself represented as part of the bundle. First Person Representation: The Loop of Exemplarization. Notice, however, that the solution to these three problems does not in any way reduce the representation of the self to a third person representation or description of the self or conscious states of the self. If I exemplarize a state of myself, I may also describe the same state in a third person manner as you might describe it. The subjective point remains, nonetheless, that in exemplarizing the conscious state I represent the state in a different way, in a uniquely first person way, by exemplarizing my own conscious state. You may represent my state, but you cannot represent it in the same way that I do when I exemplarize a conscious state of myself so that it represents itself. This accounts

Hume, Treatise, 24.



for and explains the limitation of third person representation of first person states and the limitations of third person knowledge based on such representation and description. Another can know a great d a of what it is like for me el to have a feeling, for he can represent that feeling to himself in words or in terms of his own feelings. When another feels something she thinks is what I am feeling and says, Now I know how Lehrer, feels, he feels this way, she is then exemplarizing a feeling she has, using it to represent feelings, including my feelings. However, she is still not representing the feeling, whether of love or pain, or both, in exactly the way that I represent it and know it when I exemplarize my own feelings. She may, in principle, represent the same feelings by exemplarizing her feelings as I represent by exemplarizing my feelings, but she does not represent them in exactly the same way that I represent them. Her vehicle of representation is her pain, and my vehicle of representation is my pain. The state represented may be the same for us both, but the thing representing the state is different for each of us. If the other person represents the subjective state in terms of words rather than by exemplarizing the state, a state of feeling, for example, because she has not experienced that state, then she does not represent the state with even the same kind of vehicle of representation that I do when I exemplarize the feeling. I represent that subjective state by exemplarizing that state, while she represents it with a conventional symbol, a word. Furthermore, we can take this difference home to the first person. I can represent feelings of love with the word love or by exemplarizing the feelings of love. When I represent those feelings by exemplarizing them, I have immediate knowledge of what the feeling is like. The feeling represents feelings including itself in exemplarization. So the represented state is used to represent what it is like, and that is a different way of representing what the state is like than by using some words to describe it. Thus, the problems of representation, subjectivity, and transcendence m solved by bringing the alleged residue of representation and remainder of subjectivity into the loop of exemplarization. But do we exemplarize our conscious states, our impressions and ideas? The question is an empirical one, and the claim that we do so a conjecture. The major advantage of the assumption that we exemplarize our conscious states, other than solving the problems of representation, subjectivity and transcendence, is that it explains in what way our conscious states are immediately known and self-presenting. To use the language of Hume, impressions and ideas must come to us repre sented for them to be immediately known self-presenting states. This doctrine of the self-presenting character of impressions, of their apprehension through themselves, is explained by exemplarization. Otherwise we are threatened with a regress of one impression representing another ad infiniturn to obtain the representation of any impression by another impression.



Solving the Paradox o Transcendence. Finally, consider the issue of f transcendence that Sartre raised. He argued that the subjectivity of the consciousness is lost as it becomes an object. The attempt to make consciousness an object of consciousness, whether this is an attempt of the other or oneself, undermines the subjectivity of consciousness. There is, he affirms, some primal consciousness (of) consciousness, some reflexivity of consciousness that gives as subjective knowledge of it. But Sartre a f f i s that this cannot be consciousness of consciousness making itself an object of consciousness. The problem of transcendence, which leads Sartre to a paradoxical representation of the self is that it appears that the self must transcend itself, consciousness must be consciousness of consciousness to yield conscious knowledge, at the same time that it is not an intentional object of conscious knowledge. However, exemplarization allows us to obtain an account of the conscious self without paradox. The conscious self can represent itself without loss of subjectivity. The subjectively conscious activity can be exemplarized and represent itself as it remains subjective activity. Exemplarization explains the reflexivity of conscious without supposing that the conscious self must be conscious of itself at the same time that it does not become an intentional object of conscious knowledge. Moreover, from the theory of exemplarization we obtain an explanation of the importance of the subjective perspective. It provides us with a way of representing our states and, therefore, with a knowledge of what those states are like that is different from other kinds of knowledge even if it is knowledge of the same states. It is a different, first person and subjective way of knowing. It accounts for what existentialists and subjectivists have insisted, that there is a way of knowing that is different from the third person objective way of knowing. Monochromatic Mary knows what red is like in a new way when she exemplarizes the sensation. It is crucial, however, to notice that such an observation cannot prove that any fact is omitted in a third person or, for that matter, materialistic representation of the self and the conscious states of the self. When I exemplarize a conscious state, pain, for example, my pain represents pain for me. What the nature of pain is remains an open question of metaphysics. It may be that loveless Joe and monochromatic Mary exemplarize sensations of love and color which thus represent material states without knowing this is the case. New knowledge does not always reveal a new kind of fact. It may only express a new and unrecognized way of knowing an old fact. Epistemic contexts are opaque. A person who knows that she is drinking water may fail to know that she is drinking H,O. When she comes to know that she is drinking H,O, she knows something new, but it is a new way of knowing an old fact. The fact that she is drinking water is the same fact as that she is drinking H,O. The exemplarization of our conscious states to yield a new way



of knowing may be like this example. It may not. What I have said leaves the metaphysical issue open. My interest was with representation and knowledge. Ontology is another matter. Infallible Belief of the Self-Presenting. Exemplarization does, however, explain the psychology and semantics of self-presentation. The states a~ apprehended though themselves by serving as exemplars that represent the class of things of which they are a member. Does this mean that exemplarization yields infallible belief concerning conscious states? It depends on what one requires in the way of infallibility. It is logically possible to believe that one is in pain when one is not as I have argued for a quarter of century because one might believe that one is in pain on the basis of a false general assumption about when one experiences pain. However, the question that now confronts us is whether a person has infallible belief in the existence of a conscious state based on the exemplarization of it. Again, however, the answer is that it is logically possible to be in error. The psychology may go awry in the activity of exemplarization, and I might, in fact, use the exemplarized state to represent a class of states that does not include the exemplar itself. It is worth noting at this point that a given state can be used to represent diverse classes. It was Reid who noted that the same sensation that is a sign of the existence of a sensation may, at the same time, be a sign of the existence of some external quality. A sensation of sound may signify the sensation at the same time that it signifies an external property which gives rise to the sensation. Exemplarization requires an exemplar and the generalization of it to stand for a class of states or objects. Philosophers become much exercised over the fact that we can generalize in different ways, that we can let the same item stand for diverse classes of objects. One must note the fact, but the question of why we generalize the way we do rather than in some other way is, I think, of little philosophical interest. As we have noted, animals generalize, even ones of very modest cognitive capacities, and the question of why they generalize as they do is a question of empirical inquiry. How they and we generalize is the result of nature and nurture and a mixture thereof which cannot be sorted out by philosophical speculation. I do not see any deep theoretical issues connected with it. Generalization is, though necessary for exemplarization, not sufficient for exemplarization. A representation must have a functional role in inference to supplement the application of the exemplar to other states.30Since exemplarization is a psychological activity

For a more detailed account of the funCtiOM1 role involved in exemplarization, see Keith Lehrer, Meaning, Exemplarization and Metarepresentation, in Metarepresentations: A Mulridisciplinury Perspective, D n Sperber. ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, a 2000). 299-310 and Adrienne Lehrer and Keith Lehrer, Fields, Networks and Vectors, in Grammar and Meaning, F. R. Palmer, ed., (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1995), 26-41.



involving generalizing to a class, it is logically possible that a person might generalize from an exemplar to a class of things that fails to include the exemplar itself. A person might be cognitively defective or just odd in the way they exemplarize. What should be noted, however, is that successful exemplarization will yield a representation that represents the exemplar itself. So, here we reach a kind of infallibility that explains Chisholms original suggestion that it makes no sense to suppose that we could be in error about such states. The infallibility is grounded in the contingent fact of the success of our exemplarization. Moreover, this feature of exemplarization is epistemologically significant because of the connection with self-presentation. We can apprehend, and, indeed, know the existence of such states immediately by our exemplarization of them. Does that make me a foundationalist about such states? Not exactly. It is not sufficient for knowledge of our conscious states that they be exemplarized to represent themselves in the belief that they exist. Exemplarization, as we have just noted, can be unsuccessful. What about successful exemplarization? That will insure truth. However, the attainment of truth by some successful process does not by itself insure the kind of justification that converts to knowledge, at least the kind of knowledge, reflective knowledge, as Sosa3calls it, or discursive knowledge, as I have called it, that plays a role essential in reasoning, most critically, in confirmation and refutation. I shall not repeat my arguments to avoid being tedious. My fundamental claim is that one must be able to defend what one accepts against objections, to reason about it and with it to defend it, in order to have knowledge. A crucial assumption in such defense is that one is rational, trustworthy and, finally, successfully reliable in what one accepts in the way one does, for example, in the way one accepts what one does about ones own conscious states. Successful exemplarization insures success, to be sure, but it leaves open questions and objections about ones rationality, trustworthiness and successful reliabilit~.~ The preceding remarks raise the question of how we can know that we are rational, trustworthy and successfully reliable in what we accept. Let us confine ourselves to rationality and a few remarks on how a referential loop can solve the problem of the rationality of self. The problem is again one of a threatened regress. Once I pose the question of whether I am rational to accept what I do, it appears that I can only answer that question by appealing to something else that I accept which I must be rational to accept. We may avoid the regress by insisting that we just are rational without explanation.

Ernest Sosa, Reflective Knowledge in the Best Circles, The Journal o Philosophy, vol. f XCIV, ( 1997), 41 0-30. For my most recent treatment of these issues, see Keith Lehrer, Theory of Knowledge, Second Edition, (Boulder: Westview Press, 2000). Ch. 9.


That leaves us with an irrational surd as a starting point or ending point in the philosophical discussion which will be unsatisfying to those, like myself, who regard explanation as prime desideratum of philosophy. The regress is avoided once we arrive at the representation of the self by itself as rational. The rationality of the self explains why it is rational for the self to accept what it does. The rationality of acceptance is explained by the rationality of the self. What about the acceptance of the rationality of self? The same is true of it. The rationality of my accepting that I am rational is explained by my rationality. That closes the loop of rationality which has an exact analogy in the loops of trustworthiness and successful reliability. Explanatory power is contained in the loop. Once the need for and the power of the loop are recognized, the loop expands in widening circles of explanation. Exemplarization is one central loop in the widening circle of loops in epistemological explanation. Contemplate the power of the loop.