Externalism, content, and causal histories

Dialectica 48 (3-4):267-86 (1994)
Abstract
SummaryExternalism in philosophy of mind is usually taken to be faced with the following difficulty: from the fact that meanings are externally individuated, it follows that the subjective character of mental states and events becomes problematic. On the basis of a well‐founded approach to similar problems in the philosophy of action, I propose a solution based on two connected issues: we should think of mental states not as beliefs, but as states of knowledge, and thought experiments, designed to strip off the contribution of the world from the subject's contribution to the contents of his mental states, are doomed to fail. The allegedly subjective character of propositional contentful states is that they are agent‐specific states. Agent‐specificity is not in contradiction with mental states or intentional actions having a circumstantial nature
Keywords Content  Epistemology  Externalism  Knowledge  Mental States
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