The semantic basis of externalism
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In J. Campbell, M.O. Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth. New York: Seven Bridges Press (2001)
1. The primary evidence and motivation for externalism in the philosophy of mind is provided by the semantic facts that support direct reference theories of names, indexi- cal pronouns, and natural kind terms. But many externalists have forgotten their sem- antic roots, or so I shall contend here. I have become convinced of this by a common reaction among externalists to the main argument of my 1991 paper AAnti-Individual- ism and Privileged Access.@ In that argument, I concluded that externalism is incompat- ible with the principle that we can have privileged, non-empirical knowledge of the contents of our own thoughts. The reaction in question amounts to a dismissive denial of one of my argument=s main premises. This premise, which I defended at length in the paper, is that an externalist thesis regarding a cognitive property should hold that possession of the property by a person _logically_, or _conceptually_, implies the existence of objects external to that person
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