Sharon E MasonMy research is in contemporary epistemology, and most of my work focuses on the relation between knowledge and the first-person perspective. I’m interested in how first-person concerns, such as aiming to have reasonable beliefs, fit within an externalist theory of knowledge. I think that externalists are right that a first-person view is not necessary for knowledge. However, I also think that the two most common externalist accounts of the significance of the first-person view are mistaken, and I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to articulate exactly what goes wrong with these accounts. Epistemologists have, by and large, paid too little attention to what the first-person perspective is and what it is not. I defend an account of the first-person perspective in which the unique view that a subject can and often does have of her own beliefs is the consequence of a particular kind of consciousness at the level of one’s first-order thoughts. In this sense, the first-person perspective is much broader than traditional views have it, for they take the first-person perspective to be circumscribed by grammatical self-reference or by thoughts that employ one’s self-concept.

I am also interested in self-knowledge, agency, virtue theory (especially intellectual virtues), and memory. In addition, I’ve recently acquired a taste for the philosophy of food.

I like to garden; there’s something wonderful about getting my hands into the dirt and (eventually) producing healthful food that can be artfully prepared and shared with good friends. I especially prize a good cup of tea.