The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss a puzzle involving accommodation. The puzzle is based on three assumptions. The first assumption is that accommodation takes place after an utterance. The second assumption is that accommodation can make a difference to the truth-value of an utterance even if the utterance is not about the future. The third assumption is that something that takes place after an utterance cannot make a difference to the truth-value of the utterance unless the (...) utterance is about the future. Since these assumptions are jointly inconsistent, one of them must be false. The question is which one we ought to reject. The majority of the discussion is devoted to discussing each of the options, and the tentative conclusion is that the most plausible strategy is to reject the third thesis. That amounts to saying that something that takes place after an utterance can make a difference to the truth-value of the utterance even if the utterance is not about the future. (shrink)
It is a widely accepted thesis in the cognitive sciences and in naturalistic philosophy of mind that the contents of at least some mental representations are innate. A question that has popped up in discussions concerning innate mental representations is this. Are externalist theories of mental content applicable to the content of innate representations? Views on the matter vary and sometimes conflict. To date, there has been no comprehensive assessment of the relationship between content externalism and content innateness. The aim (...) of this paper is to provide such an assessment. I focus on the notions of innateness that are employed in innateness hypotheses within the cognitive sciences and adjacent fields of philosophy, and on causal externalist theories of content. I distinguish between three accounts of what being innate might amount to in innateness hypotheses within the cognitive sciences, and between three types of causal externalism. I explain what the possibility of innate externalistically individuated representations depends upon given all nine combinations. I explain why causal externalism can be true of innate mental representations, given but one of these combinations. (shrink)
This book discusses the two main construals of the explanatory goals of semantic theories. The first, externalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of a hermeneutic and interpretive explanatory project. The second, internalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of the psychological mechanisms in virtue of which meanings are generated. It is argued that a fruitful scientific explanation is one that aims to uncover the underlying mechanisms in virtue of which the observable phenomena are made possible, and that a scientific (...) semantics should be doing just that. If this is the case, then a scientific semantics is unlikely to be externalist, for reasons having to do with the subject matter and form of externalist theories. It is argued that semantics construed hermeneutically is nevertheless a valuable explanatory project. (shrink)
On a view implicitly endorsed by many, a concept is epistemically better than another if and because it does a better job at ‘carving at the joints', or if the property corresponding to it is ‘more natural' than the one corresponding to another. This chapter offers an argument against this seemingly plausible thought, starting from three key observations about the way we use and evaluate concepts from en epistemic perspective: that we look for concepts that play a role in explanations (...) of things that cry out for explanation; that we evaluate not only ‘empirical' concepts, but also mathematical and perhaps moral concepts from an epistemic perspective; and that there is much more complexity to the concept/property relation than the natural thought seems to presuppose. These observations, it is argued, rule out giving a theory of conceptual evaluation that is a corollary of a metaphysical ranking of the relevant properties. -/- conceptual ethics, explanation, naturalness, epistemic value, concept/property, semantic internalism. (shrink)
Sentences in context have semantic contents determined by a range of factors both internal and external to speakers. I argue against the thesis that semantic content is transparent to speakers in the sense of being immediately accessible to speakers in virtue of their linguistic competence.
This article raises two questions about Robert Myers and Claudine Verheggen's terrific book, Donald Davidson's Triangulation Argument: A Philosophical Inquiry. The first question, concerning the first part of the book, is whether, starting from the assumption that a solitary individual cannot have thought contents, we can show that adding another individual to the picture cannot resolve the problem. The second question, concerning the second part, is whether a more sophisticated, decision-theoretic, Humean about the pro-attitudes can respond to the objections to (...) the simple Humean view, and whether Davidson was not in fact just such a sophisticated decision-theoretic Humean. RÉSUMÉ: Cet article pose deux questions sur le formidable livre de Robert Myers et Claudine Verheggen, Donald Davidson's Triangulation Argument: A Philosophical Inquiry. La première question, qui concerne la première partie du livre, consiste à déterminer si, étant donné la supposition qu'un individu solitaire ne peut pas avoir de contenus mentaux, nous pouvons démontrer qu'ajouter un autre individu ne permet pas de résoudre le problème. La seconde question, qui concerne la deuxième partie du livre, est de savoir si un tenant d'une conception humienne des pro-attitudes plus sophistiquée, adhérant à la théorie de la décision, peut répondre aux objections formulées contre la simple conception humienne, et si Davidson n’était pas en fait un tenant de ce second type de conception humienne. (shrink)
Это мое утверждение, что таблица преднамеренности (рациональность, сознание, ум, мысль, язык, личность и т.д.), что особенное здесь описывает более или менее точно, или, по крайней мере, служит эвристическим для, как мы думаем и ведом, и поэтому она охватывает не только философию и психологию, но все остальное (история, литература, математика, политика и т.д.). Обратите внимание, особенно, что преднамеренность и рациональность, как я (наряду с Сирл, Витгенштейн и другие) просматривать его, включает в себя как сознательное совещательной лингвистической системы 2 и бессознательного автоматизированной (...) прелингвистической системы 1 действия или рефлексы. Я предоставляю критический обзор некоторых из основных выводов двух самых выдающихся студентов поведения современности, Людвиг Витгенштейн и Джон Сирл, о логической структуре преднамеренности (ум, язык, сознание, поведение), принимая в качестве отправной точки фундаментальное открытие Витгенштейна, что все действительно "философские" проблемы одинаковы- путаницы о том, как использовать язык в определенном контексте, и поэтому все решения одинаковы, глядя на то, как язык может быть использован в контексте вопроса, так что его истина условия (Условия удовлетворенности или COS) ясны. Основная проблема заключается в том, что можно сказать что-нибудь, но нельзя означать (государство ясно COS для) любое произвольное высказывание и смысл возможен только в очень конкретном контексте. Я анализирую различные писания и о них с современной точки зрения двух систем мышления (популяризировал как "мышление быстро, думая медленно"), используя новую таблицу преднамеренности и новых двойных систем номенклатуры. Я показываю, что это мощная эвристика для описания поведения. Таким образом, все поведение тесно связано, если вы принимаете правильную точку зрения. Феменологическая иллюзия (забвение нашей автоматизированной системы 1) является универсальной и распространяется не только на всю философию, но и на протяжении всей жизни. Я уверен, что Хомский, Обама, Цукерберг и Папа был бы недоверчивым, если бы сказали, что они страдают от той же проблемы, как Гегель, Husserl и Хайдеггер, (или что они отличаются только в степени от наркоманов и наркоманов в мотивации стимуляции их лобной кортики путем доставки допамина (и более 100 других химических веществ) через вентральный tegum и ядра. В то время как меноменологи только потратили много времени людей, они растают землю и будущее своего потомка. (shrink)
Yli-Vakkuri offers a deductive argument for Content Externalism that primarily appeals to two main principles he says should be adopted by all parties to the debate. Sawyer criticizes this argument on the grounds that there are internalist theories that are not consistent with the two principles he offers, although she takes no issue with the derivation itself. While Sawyer’s critique is insightful and largely correct, there is a more fundamental problem with the original argument. The formal proof given in the (...) original paper begs the question. The informal argument is enthymematic, and all the possible valid reconstructions require assumptions that can be legitimately rejected by content internalists. This is significant to point out as someone might think that the internalist views that Sawyer says are not consistent with the two principles that drive Yli-Vakkuri’s argument can be successfully challenged and thereby the original argument defended. (shrink)
This paper presents a framework for analysing perceptual Twin Earth thought experiments. Visual content normally has an analogue character, and it is argued in this paper that this sets certain constraints on the extent to which Twin Earth thought experiments can be successful. The argumentation in the paper is developed by using examples from visual spatial content. It is argued that visual spatial content can only be “twin-earthed” in a very limited way. Whereas the metrics of space can be twin-earthed, (...) visual experience has a structure that means that it can only be the vehicle for representing entities with geometrical structures. (shrink)
Suosituimpia ja vaikutusvaltaisimpia semanttista eksternalismia ja kausaalista viittaamisen teoriaa vastaan käytettyjä strategioita arvioidaan kriittisesti. Tarkemmassa tarkastelussa mikään niistä ei osoittaudu erityisen vakuuttavaksi.
Externalism is the thesis that the contents of intentional states and speech acts are not determined by the way the subjects of those states or acts are internally. It is a widely accepted but not entirely uncontroversial thesis. Among such theses in philosophy, externalism is notable for owing the assent it commands almost entirely to thought experiments, especially to variants of Hilary Putnam's famous Twin Earth scenario. This paper presents a thought experiment-free argument for externalism. It shows that externalism is (...) a deductive consequence of a pair of widely accepted principles whose relevance to the issue has hitherto gone unnoticed. (shrink)
Can there be 'narrow' mental content, that is entirely determined by the goings-on inside the head of the thinker? This book argues not, and defends instead a thoroughgoing externalism: the entanglement of our minds with the external world runs so deep that no internal component of mentality can easily be cordoned off.
This paper is a defense of an internalist view of the perception of shapes. A basic assumption of the paper is that perceptual experiences have certain parts which account both for the phenomenal character associated with perceiving shapes—phenomenal shapes—and for the intentional content presenting shapes—intentional shapes. Internalism about perceptions of shapes is defined as the claim that phenomenal shapes determine the intentional shapes. Externalism is defined as the claim that perceptual experiences represent whatever shape the phenomenal shape reliably tracks. The (...) argument against externalism proceeds in three steps. First, it is argued that phenomenal shapes are modality specific, such that a phenomenal shape that features in a visual perceptual experience cannot feature in a haptic perceptual experience, and vice versa. Second, it is argued that intentional shapes are amodal. Third, it is argued that externalism is incompatible with the fact that phenomenal shapes are modality specific and intentional shapes amodal. (shrink)
This article examines one argument in favour of the position that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers over behaviour. This argument states that we establish that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers by considering cases where intrinsic properties remain the same but relational properties vary to see whether, under such circumstances, behaviour would ever vary. The individualist argues that behaviour will not vary with relational properties alone, which means that they (...) don’t have causal powers. Four replies are presented which all reject the premise that under such conditions behaviour can never be different, and each of these are refuted. The article concludes by arguing that knowing about the relational properties of mental states gives no predictive advantage over (and, in fact, is predictively worse than) knowing about the intrinsic properties of mental states plus context. (shrink)
Externalism holds that the content of our utterances and thoughts are determined partly by the environment. Here, I offer an argument which suggests that externalism is incompatible with a natural view about ontological commitment--namely, the Quinean view that such commitments are fixed by the range of the variables in your theory. The idea in brief is that if Oscar mistakenly believes that water = XYZ, the externalist ontologically commits Oscar to two waterish kinds, whereas the Quinean commits him to one (...) such kind (albeit a metaphysically impossible kind). The penultimate section addresses a variety of objections to the argument. (shrink)
My concern in this paper is with the claim that knowledge is a mental state – a claim that Williamson places front and centre in Knowledge and Its Limits. While I am not by any means convinced that the claim is false, I do think it carries certain costs that have not been widely appreciated. One source of resistance to this claim derives from internalism about the mental – the view, roughly speaking, that one’s mental states are determined by one’s (...) internal physical state. In order to know that something is the case it is not, in general, enough for one’s internal physical state to be a certain way – the wider world must also be a certain way. If we accept that knowledge is a mental state, we must give up internalism. One might think that this is no cost, since much recent work in the philosophy of mind has, in any case, converged on the view that internalism is false. This thought, though, is too quick. As I will argue here, the claim that knowledge is a mental state would take us to a view much further from internalism than anything philosophers of mind have converged upon. (shrink)
The classic thought experiments for Content Externalism have been motivated by consideration of intentional states with a mind-to-world direction of fit. In this paper, I argue that when these experiments are run on intentional states with a world-to-mind direction of fit, the thought experiments actually support Content Internalism. Because of this, I argue that the classic thought experiments alone cannot properly motivate Content Externalism. I do not show that Content Externalism is false in this paper, just that it cannot be (...) motivated by the classic thought experiments alone. I discuss various externalist responses to the argument I raise and show that they all fail. (shrink)
Sanford Goldberg argues for Content Externalism by drawing our attention to the extent to which an individual’s concepts depend on the concepts of others. More specifically, he focuses on cases that involve knowledge transmission between experts and non-experts to make his point. In this paper, I argue that the content internalist cannot only plausibly respond to his argument but that Content Internalism offers a more plausible account of intentional content with regard to knowledge transmission than does Content Externalism.
Some content externalists claim that if C is a theoretical concept and “C” expresses C, then the content of C in a community at a time is determined by how some members of the community at the time—call them “experts”—understand C or use “C”. Thus, when non-expert Chauncey utters “C”, the content of the concept he expresses does not depend entirely on his intrinsic physical properties, contra the claims of content internalism. This paper proposes that “concept” expresses a theoretical concept, (...) such that the externalist’s insights should apply to how we understand claims expressing the view itself and to how we evaluate the arguments alleged to motivate it. With respect to the first, I argue that the content externalist should regard it as unclear at present which proposition her theory expresses, and should take it that content externalism teaches us about our linguistic community rather than about the metaphysical nature of concepts. With respect to the second, I argue that by externalism’s own lights, the famous externalist thought experiments shouldn’t establish content externalism. In conclusion, I suggest that making sense of content externalism requires presupposing internalism. (shrink)
It's widely accepted that social facts about an individual's linguistic community can affect both the reference of her words and the concepts those words express. Theorists sympathetic to the internalist tradition have sought to accommodate these social dependence phenomena without altering their core theoretical commitments by positing deferential reference-fixing criteria. In this paper, we sketch a different explanation of social dependence phenomena, according to which all concepts are individuated in part by causal-historical relations linking token elements of thought.
In this paper, I argue against Michael Gorman’s objection to Tim Crane’s view of intentional objects. Gorman (“Talking about Intentional Objects,” 2006), following Searle (Intentionality, 1983), argues that intentional content can be cashed out solely in terms of conditions of satisfaction. For Gorman, we have reason to prefer his more minimal satisfaction-condition approach to Crane’s be- cause we cannot understand Crane’s notion of an intentional object when applied to non-existent objects. I argue that Gorman’s criticism rests on a misunderstanding of (...) Crane’s position. I also discuss the importance of keeping track of the distinction between the intentional objects of intentional states and the referents of such states. I do agree with Gorman that conditions of satisfaction are needed to cash out propositional intentional content, but we cannot get these conditions of satisfaction right if we do not capture how the subject takes the world to be. And we cannot properly capture how the subject takes the world to be without commitment to intentional objects. I argue that Crane’s notion of an intentional object is one that avoids questionable ontological commitments. So, in the end we have a view of intentional objects with a respectable metaphysics and ontology that can properly capture the intentional content of subjects’ intentional states. (shrink)
Kriegel has recently developed an adverbial account of intentionality, in part to solve the problem of how we can think of non-existents. The view has real virtues: it endorses a non-relational conception of intentionality and is ontologically conservative. Alas, the view ultimately cannot replace the act-object model of intentionality that it seeks to, because it depends on the act-object model for its intelligibility at key points. It thus fails as a revisionistic theory. I argue that the virtues of adverbialism can (...) be had from within the act-object framework, provided we understand intentional objects correctly. I use Crane as a guide here, and build on his work on intentional objects. In the end, we can provide a suitable solution to the problem of thinking of non-existents within the act-object framework without adopting implausible ontological or metaphysical views. So, adverbialism is neither a possible stand-alone revisionary option nor a needed modif... (shrink)
In this paper, I recommend a creature-level theory of representing. On this theory, a creature represents some entity just in case the creature adapts its behavior to that entity. Adapting is analyzed in terms of establishing new patterns of behavior. The theory of representing as adapting is contrasted with traditional causal and informational theories of mental representation. Moreover, I examine the theory in light of Putnam-Burge style externalism; I show that Putnam-Burge style externalism follows from and is explained by it. (...) I also suggest that the theory of representing as adapting easily accommodates a significant causal-explanatory role for representational content. (shrink)
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
This paper critically evaluates the semantic externalist conception of Race and Gender concepts put forward in Sally Haslanger's 2012 essay collection "Resisting Reality". I argue that her endorsement of "objective type externalism" limits the options for critique compared to social externalist approaches.
The creative aspect of language use provides a set of phenomena that a science of language must explain. It is the “central fact to which any signi- ficant linguistic theory must address itself” and thus “a theory of language that neglects this ‘creative’ aspect is of only marginal interest” (Chomsky 1964: 7–8). Therefore, the form and explanatory depth of linguistic science is restricted in accordance with this aspect of language. In this paper, the implications of the creative aspect of language (...) use for a scientific theory of language will be discussed, noting the possible further implications for a science of the mind. It will be argued that a corollary of the creative aspect of language use is that a science of language can study the mechanisms that make language use possible, but that such a science cannot explain how these mechanisms enter into human action in the form of language use. (shrink)
This dissertation contains four independent essays addressing a cluster of related topics in the philosophy of mind. Chapter 1: “Fundamentality Physicalism” argues that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The chapter explores a variety of other potential formulations of physicalism (particularly modal formulations), contrasts fundamentality physicalism with these theses, and offers reasons to prefer fundamentality physicalism over these rivals. Chapter 2:“Modal Rationalism and the Demonstrative Reply to the Master Argument Against Physicalism” introduces the Master Argument (...) Against Physicalism and investigates its crucial premise: the inference from an a priori gap between the physical and consciousness to a lack of necessitation between the two. I argue against the strong form of modal rationalism that underwrites the master argument and offer a more moderate rationalist view. I offer a novel demonstrative reply to the master argument, according to which a connection between conscious experience and demonstratives, not dualism, is the source of the epistemic gap between consciousness and the physical. Chapter 3: “Conceptual Mastery and the Knowledge Argument” argues that Frank Jackson’s famous anti-physicalist knowledge argument featuring Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist raised in a black and white room, founders on a dilemma. Either (i) Mary cannot know the relevant experiential truths because of trivial obstacles that have no bearing on the truth of physicalism or (ii) once the obstacles have been removed, Mary can know the relevant truths. Chapter 4: “Toward a Theory of Conceptual Mastery” investigates the question “Under what conditions does a thinker fully understand, or have mastery of, a concept?” I argue against three views of conceptual mastery, according to which conceptual mastery is a matter of holding certain beliefs, being disposed to make certain inferences, or having certain intuitions. I propose and respond to objections to my own “meaning postulate view” of the conditions under which a thinker has mastery of a concept. (shrink)
Schellenberg sheds light on the recent debate between Dreyfus and McDowell about the role and nature of concepts in perceptual experience, by considering the following trilemma: (C1) Non-rational animals and humans can be in mental states with the same kind of content when they are perceptually related to the very same environment. (C2) Non-rational animals do not possess concepts. (C3) Content is constituted by modes of presentations and is, thus, conceptually structured. She discusses reasons for accepting and rejecting each of (...) the three claims. By developing a substantive notion of modes of presentation as constituting nonconceptual content, she argues that the trilemma is best resolved by giving up (C3). In doing so, she discusses the nature of mental content and its relation to bodily skills and conceptual capacities as well as the notion of conceptual and nonconceptual content. (shrink)
In Our Knowledge of the Internal World, Robert Stalnaker presents a sophisticated new defense of a radically externalist and contextualist approach to mental content. Stalnaker holds that unstructured propositions—sets of possible worlds—can provide a complete account of mental content, including Fregean cognitive significance phenomena. So there is no theoretical job for concepts to fulfill. Stalnaker sees concepts as ‘creatures of darkness’ that encourage theoretical confusion. Concepts are a vestige of the mistaken internalist picture of the mind: internal states that are (...) supposed to ensure transparent access to the objects, kinds, or properties our thoughts represent. I argue there are better reasons for positing concepts—reasons that are independent of the internalist project. (shrink)
This companion is aimed at specialists and non-specialists in the philosophy of mind and features 13 commissioned research articles on core topics by leading figures in the field. My contribution is on internalism and externalism in the philosophy of mind. I.
I aim to show that a semantic minimalist need not also be a semantic internalist. §I introduces minimalism and internalism and argues that there is a prima facie case for a minimalist being an internalist. §II sketches some positive arguments for internalism which, if successful, show that a minimalist must be an internalist. §III goes on to reject these arguments and contends that the prima facie case for uniting minimalism and internalism is also not compelling. §IV returns to an objection (...) from §I and argues for a way to meet it which does not depend on giving up semantic externalism. (shrink)
The notion of “representation” is central to Kant’s transcendental philosophy. But naturalism and mind-body reductionism tend to reduce talk of (first-person) representation to stories of (third-person) causality and evolution. How does Kant fare in this context?
I defend externalism about color experiences and color thoughts, which I argue color objectivism requires. Externalists face the following question: would a subject's wearing inverting lenses eventually change the color content of, for instance, those visual experiences the subject reports with “red”? From the work of Ned Block, David Velleman, Paul Boghossian, Michael Tye, and Fiona Macpherson, I extract problems facing those who answer “Yes” and problems facing those who answer “No.” I show how these problems can be overcome, leaving (...) externalism available to the color objectivist. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy and theoretical psychology are dominated by an acceptance of content-externalism: the view that the contents of one's mental states are constitutively, as opposed to causally, dependent on facts about the external world. In the present work, it is shown that content-externalism involves a failure to distinguish between semantics and pre-semantics---between, on the one hand, the literal meanings of expressions and, on the other hand, the information that one must exploit in order to ascertain their literal meanings. It is (...) further shown that, given the falsity of content-externalism, the falsity of the Computational Theory of Mind (CTM) follows. It is also shown that CTM involves a misunderstanding of terms such as "computation," "syntax," "algorithm," and "formal truth." Novel analyses of the concepts expressed by these terms are put forth. These analyses yield clear, intuition-friendly, and extensionally correct answers to the questions "what are propositions?, "what is it for a proposition to be true?", and "what are the logical and psychological differences between conceptual (propositional) and non-conceptual (non-propositional) content?" Naively taking literal meaning to be in lockstep with cognitive content, Burge, Salmon, Falvey, and other semantic externalists have wrongly taken Kripke's correct semantic views to justify drastic and otherwise contraindicated revisions of commonsense. (Salmon: What is non-existent exists; at a given time, one can rationally accept a proposition and its negation. Burge: Somebody who is having a thought may be psychologically indistinguishable from somebody who is thinking nothing. Falvey: somebody who rightly believes himself to be thinking about water is psychologically indistinguishable from somebody who wrongly thinks himself to be doing so and who, indeed, isn't thinking about anything.) Given a few truisms concerning the differences between thought-borne and sentence-borne information, the data is easily modeled without conceding any legitimacy to any one of these rationality-dismantling atrocities. (It thus turns out, ironically, that no one has done more to undermine Kripke's correct semantic points than Kripke's own followers!). (shrink)
According to David Chalmers and Frank Jackson, conceptual competence puts one in a position to have a priori knowledge of conditional claims of the form ‘If my environment is thus and so, then water = H2O’. The rationale for this position, I argue, rests on controversial semantic assumptions about the individuation of meanings or concepts. I sketch a new model of conceptual competence, which undermines the apriority of such conditionals.
Timothy Williamson has presented several arguments that seek to cast doubt on the idea that cognition can be factorized into internal and external components. In the first section of this paper, I attempt to evaluate these arguments. My conclusion will be that these arguments establish several highly important points, but in the end these arguments fail to cast any doubt either on the idea that cognitive science should be largely concerned with internal mental processes, or on the idea that cognition (...) can be analysed in terms of the existence of a suitable connection between internal and external components. I shall present an argument for the conclusion that cognition involves certain causal processes that are entirely internal. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction Getting to Twin Earth: What's in the Head? The Cognitive Science Gesture Functionalism, Physicalism, and Individualism The Appeal to Causal Powers Externalism and Metaphysics The Debate Over Marr's Theory of Vision Exploitative Representation and Wide Computationalism Narrow Content and Marr's Theory Individualism and the Problem of Self‐knowledge.
Traditional theists are, with few exceptions, global semantic realists about the interpretation of external world statement. Realism of this kind is treated by many as a shibboleth of traditional Christianity, a sine qua non of theological orthodoxy. Yet, this love affair between theists and semantic realism is a poor match. I suggest that everyone (theist or no) has compelling evidence drawn from everyday linguistic practice to reject a realist interpretation of most external world statements. But theists have further reason to (...) forswear this view, because those who insist on global semantic realism open themselves to the charge of hubris of a theologically inappropriate kind. If the arguments in this paper are sound, then neither God nor any of us have reason to apply a realist interpretation to all or even most statements about the external world. (shrink)
Crispin Wright hat die bislang beste Rekonstruktion von Putnams Beweis gegen die skeptische Hypothese vom Gehirn im Tank vorgelegt. Aber selbst in Wrights Fassung hat der Beweis einen Mangel: Er wird mithilfe eines Prädikates wie z.B. "Tiger" geführt und funktioniert nur, wenn man sich darauf verlassen kann, dass es Tiger wirklich gibt. Aber die Skeptikerin bestreitet, über die Existenz von Tigern bescheid zu wissen. Das Problem lässt sich dadurch beheben, dass man den Beweis – statt mit dem extensionalen Begriff der (...) Referenz (wie bei Wright) – mit Intensionen führt. Zudem sollte der Beweis transzendental laufen, also einzig und allein auf den sprachlichen Voraussetzungen beruhen, die auch die Skeptikerin zur Formulierung ihrer Tank-Hypothese benötigt. -/- The best reconstruction of Putnam's brain-in-a-vat argument is due to Crispin Wright. But even Wright's version of the argument is not convincing. It employs predicates such as 'tiger' and reaches the conclusion only if we can rely upon the existence of tigers; and the skeptic disputes our knowledge regarding tigers. The problem is not insuperable: The argument must be run, not with the extensionalistic notion of reference (as in Wright's version), but with intensions. Furthermore, the argument should have a transcendental form; it should exclusively rely on conditions that are needed by the skeptic for formulating her own position. (shrink)
Are we perhaps in the "matrix", or anyway, victims of perfect and permanent computer simulation? No. The most convincing—and shortest—version of Putnam's argument against the possibility of our eternal envattment is due to Crispin Wright (1994). It avoids most of the misunderstandings that have been elicited by Putnam's original presentation of the argument in "Reason, Truth and History" (1981). But it is still open to the charge of question-begging. True enough, the premisses of the argument (disquotation and externalism) can be (...) formulated and defended without presupposing external objects whose existence appears doubtful in the light of the very skeptical scenario which Putnam wants to repudiate. However, the argument is only valid if we add an extra premiss as to the existence of some external objects. In order to avoid circularity, we should run the argument with external objects which must exist even if we are brains in a vat, e.g. with computers rather than with trees. As long as the skeptic is engaged in a discussion of the brain-in-a-vat scenario, she should neither deny the existence of computers nor the existence of causal relations; for if she does, she is in fact denying that we are brains in a vat. (shrink)
SummaryIn this paper I discuss two influential views in the philosophy of mind: the two‐component picture draws a distinction between ‘narrow content’ and ‘broad content’, while radical externalism denies that there is such a thing as narrow content. I argue that ‘narrow content’ is ambiguous, and that the two views can be reconciled. Instead of considering that there is only one question and three possible answers corresponding to Cartesian internalism, the two‐component picture, and radical externalism respectively, I show that there (...) are two distinct questions: ‘Are mental contents internal to the individual?’ and, ‘Are mental contents analysable in two‐components?’ Both questions can be given a positive or a negative answer, in such a way that there are four, rather than three, possible views to be distinguished. The extra view whose possibility emerges in this framework is that which mixes radical externalism with the two‐component picture. It agrees with radical externalism that there cannot be ‘solipsistic’ contents: content is not an intrinsic property of the states of an individual organism, but a relational property. It also agrees with the two‐component picture, on a certain interpretation: the broad content of a psychological state depends upon what actually causes that state, but the narrow content depends only on what normally causes this type of state to occur. In the last section of the paper, I deal with internal representation which seem to be independent even of the normal environment. I show that such contents are themselves independent of the normal environment only in a relative sense: they are locally independent of the normal environment, yet still depend on it via the concepts to which they are connected in the concept system. (shrink)
Belief states are only contingently connected with the objects of belief. Burge's examples show that the same belief state can be associated with different objects of belief. Kripke's puzzle shows that the same object of belief can be associated with different belief states. Nevertheless, belief states can best be characterized by a subset of the propositions one believes, namely those one directly or immediately believes. The rest of the things one believes are believed indirectly, by virtue of one's direct beliefs. (...) This distinction sheds light on Kripke's puzzle, the problem of the contingent a priori, and the problem of logical omniscience. (shrink)