David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Review 103 (1):107-37 (1994)
Psychological externalism is the thesis Chat the contents of many of a person's propositional mental states are determined in part by relations he bears to his natural and social environment. This thesis has recently been thrust into prominence in the philosophy of mind by a series of thought experiments due to Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge. Externalism is a metaphysical thesis, but in this work I investigate its implications for the epistemology of the mental. I am primarily concerned with the question whether externalism undermines the idea that a person typically knows the contents of her own thoughts, beliefs, and other propositional attitudes directly and authoritatively. I criticize arguments that have been advanced on behalf of a positive answer to this question, and argue that they rest on a faulty conception of the nature of first person authority, one which likens our access to our own minds to perception. An account of the basis of first person authority is sketched that locates our epistemic right to our self-ascriptions of propositional attitude not in our ability to discriminate among the various thought contents we might be thinking, but rather in our ability to express our thoughts, and to think with them in accordance with the norms of rationality. I consider also the question whether first person authority and externalism jointly make possible a refutation of certain forms of global skepticism, as has been famously argued by Putnam. I argue that Putnam's attempted refutation fails, because the crucial externalist claims that drive it are not knowable a priori
|Keywords||Epistemology Externalism Language Scepticism Self-knowledge|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Mikkel Gerken (2011). Conceptual Equivocation and Warrant by Reasoning. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):381-400.
Mark McCullagh (2002). Self-Knowledge Failures and First Person Authority. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):365-380.
Dorit Bar-On (2004). Externalism and Self-Knowledge: Content, Use, and Expression. Noûs 38 (3):430-55.
John Kulvicki (2010). Introspective Availability. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):208-228.
Jessica Brown (2004). Wright on Transmission Failure. Analysis 64 (1):57–67.
Similar books and articles
Jeff Malpas (1994). Self-Knowledge and Scepticism. Erkenntnis 40 (2):165-184.
Keith Butler (1998). Externalism and Skepticism. Dialogue 37 (1):13-34.
Andr Gallois (1996). Externalism and Skepticism. Philosophical Studies 81 (1):1-26.
Anthony L. Brueckner (1993). Skepticism and Externalism. Philosophia 22 (1-2):169-71.
Ted A. Warfield (1992). Privileged Self-Knowledge and Externalism Are Compatible. Analysis 52 (4):232-37.
Keith Butler (1997). Externalism, Internalism, and Knowledge of Content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):773-800.
Akeel Bilgrami (1992). Can Externalism Be Reconciled with Self-Knowledge? Philosophical Topics 20 (1):233-68.
Duncan Pritchard (2002). McKinsey Paradoxes, Radical Skepticism, and the Transmission of Knowledge Across Known Entailments. Synthese 130 (2):279-302.
Ted A. Warfield (1995). Knowing the World and Knowing Our Minds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (3):525-545.
Anthony L. Brueckner (1994). Knowledge of Content and Knowledge of the World. Philosophical Review 103 (2):327-343.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads76 ( #26,759 of 1,696,615 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #71,012 of 1,696,615 )
How can I increase my downloads?