Conceptual atomism and the computational theory of mind: a defense of content-internalism and semantic externalism

John Benjamins & Co (2007)
Contemporary philosophy and theoretical psychology are dominated by an acceptance of content-externalism: the view that the contents of one's mental states are constitutively, as opposed to causally, dependent on facts about the external world. In the present work, it is shown that content-externalism involves a failure to distinguish between semantics and pre-semantics---between, on the one hand, the literal meanings of expressions and, on the other hand, the information that one must exploit in order to ascertain their literal meanings. It is further shown that, given the falsity of content-externalism, the falsity of the Computational Theory of Mind (CTM) follows. It is also shown that CTM involves a misunderstanding of terms such as "computation," "syntax," "algorithm," and "formal truth." Novel analyses of the concepts expressed by these terms are put forth. These analyses yield clear, intuition-friendly, and extensionally correct answers to the questions "what are propositions?, "what is it for a proposition to be true?", and "what are the logical and psychological differences between conceptual (propositional) and non-conceptual (non-propositional) content?" Naively taking literal meaning to be in lockstep with cognitive content, Burge, Salmon, Falvey, and other semantic externalists have wrongly taken Kripke's correct semantic views to justify drastic and otherwise contraindicated revisions of commonsense. (Salmon: What is non-existent exists; at a given time, one can rationally accept a proposition and its negation. Burge: Somebody who is having a thought may be psychologically indistinguishable from somebody who is thinking nothing. Falvey: somebody who rightly believes himself to be thinking about water is psychologically indistinguishable from somebody who wrongly thinks himself to be doing so and who, indeed, isn't thinking about anything.) Given a few truisms concerning the differences between thought-borne and sentence-borne information, the data is easily modeled without conceding any legitimacy to any one of these rationality-dismantling atrocities. (It thus turns out, ironically, that no one has done more to undermine Kripke's correct semantic points than Kripke's own followers!)
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book $90.20 used (48% off)   $150.00 new (14% off)   $173.00 direct from Amazon    Amazon page
ISBN(s) 902725205X   9789027252050
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive John-Michael Kuczynski, Conceptual atomism and the computational theory of mind: a defense of content-internalism and semantic externalism
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Keith Butler (1997). Externalism, Internalism, and Knowledge of Content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):773-800.
A. C. Genova (2007). Externalism and Token-Identity. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):223-249.
Ana Gavran (2004). Tim Crane on the Internalism-Externalism Debate. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (11):207-218.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

175 ( #22,026 of 1,938,815 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

23 ( #21,464 of 1,938,815 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.