The Transparency of Mental Content

Philosophical Perspectives 8:33-50 (1994)
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I believe that the notion of epistemic transparency does play an important role in our ordinary conception of mental content and I want to say what that role is. Unfortunately, the task is a large one; here I am able only to begin on its outline. I shall proceed somewhat indirectly, beginning with a discussion of externalist conceptions of mental content. I shall show that such conceptions violate epistemic transparency to an extent that has not been fully appreciated. Subsequently, I shall look at the implications of this violation and at the reconstructive project that a rejection of transparency entails. I am inclined to think it unlikely that we will get a conception of propositional content that underwrites epistemic transparency. But I am concerned that we have not fully appreciated the role that transparency currently plays and the work that would need to be done were we to discard it.



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Paul Boghossian
New York University

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