Intuition, Externalism, and Direct Reference in Ockham

History of Philosophy Quarterly 24 (4):317-336 (2007)
In this paper I challenge recent externalist interpretations of Ockham’s theory of intuitive cognition. I begin by distinguishing two distinct theses that defenders of the externalist interpretation typically attribute to Ockham: a ‘direct reference thesis’, according to which intuitive cognitions are states that lack all internal, descriptive content; and a ‘causal thesis’, according to which intuitive states are wholly determined by causal connections they bear to singular objects. I then argue that neither can be plausibly credited to Ockham. In particular, I claim that the causal thesis doesn’t square with Ockham’s account of supernaturally produced intuition and that the direct reference thesis sits uneasily with Ockham’s characterization of the intentional structure of intuitive states.
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