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MetareasoningThinking about Thinking$
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Michael T. Cox and Anita Raja

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014809

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014809.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 30 July 2021

There’s No “Me” in “Meta”—Or Is There?

There’s No “Me” in “Meta”—Or Is There?

(p.15) 2 There’s No “Me” in “Meta”—Or Is There?

Don Perlis

The MIT Press

This chapter deals with the following theme: when we examine our performance of a cognitive activity X, must that examining effectively halt our X-performance, or at least so change it that it no longer is what we were attempting to examine? And if so, can it then be examined in pristine form only from without, by a highly distinct process? Or can one perform a mental activity that continues full-blast even while being looked at from within—perhaps even an activity that is that very looking at its own performance of itself? Answers tend to involve one of two notions, which may be referred to as hierarchical (looker is separate from lookee) or loopy (looker and lookee can be intertwined and even one and the same). Consideration of this theme leads to a number of traditionally far-flung topics: informal (natural-language based) self-reference; formal self-reference in mathematical logic; the problem of reference in general; consciousness; commonsense reasoning; and mistakes, which are considered in turn.

Keywords:   cognitive activity, metareasoning, self-reference, consciousness, commonsense reasoning, mistakes

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