Why the externalist is better off without free logic: A reply to McKinsey

Dialectica 62 (4):535-540 (2008)
McKinsey-style incompatibilist arguments attempt to show that the thesis that subjects have privileged, a priori access to the contents of their thoughts is incompatible with semantic externalism. This incompatibility follows – it is urged – from the fact that these theses jointly entail an absurd conclusion, namely, the possibility of a priori knowledge of the world. In a recent paper I argued that a large and important class of such arguments exemplifies a dialectical failure: if they are valid, the putatively absurd conclusion can be generated without the privileged access premise. Michael McKinsey has responded by arguing that the semantic externalist should adopt a neutral free logic invalidating a principle that my argument essentially relies on. I will say why the semantic commitments of the externalist are in tension with free logic, thereby vindicating my original argument.
Keywords privileged access  self knowledge   a priori knowledge  externalism  McKinsey  semantic externalism  free logic
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2008.01162.x
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