This book appears to have two primary goals. One is to critique what Quassim Cassam calls “Rationalism” about self-knowledge. This is the view, associated especially with Richard Moran (2001), that the primary way one knows what one believes (or wants, or hopes) is by reflecting on what one ought rationally to believe (or want, or hope). Cassam shows, carefully and patiently (perhaps too carefully and patiently) that this view has little to be said for it, and much to be said against it. He points out, for example, that Rationalism often substitutes a hard question in place of an easy one. In many circumstances it is easy for people to know what they believe or want, where it would be quite hard for them to figure out what they rationally should believe or want. To the extent that this is true (as it frequently is, surely), it suggests that people are not in fact arriving at self-knowledge in the way that Rationalism postulates.
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