The status of supposition

Noûs 34 (3):376–399 (2000)
Abstract
According to many forms of Externalism now popular in the Philosophy of Mind, the contents of our thoughts depend in part upon our physical or social milieu.1 These forms of Externalism leave unchallenged the thesis that the ~non-factive! attitudes we bear towards these contents are independent of physical or social milieu. This paper challenges that thesis. It is argued here that publicly forwarding a content as a supposition for the sake of argument is, under conditions not themselves guaranteeing the existence of that state, sufficient for occupancy of the intentional state of supposing that content. Because a saying may literally create an intentional state, whether one is in such a state does not depend solely upon how things are within one’s skin. Rather, even leaving content fixed, the attitude borne toward that content depends in part upon what norms are in force in one’s milieu.
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