Individualism and semantic development

Philosophy of Science 58 (March):15-35 (1991)
This paper takes issue with Tyler Burge's claim that intentional states are nonindividualistically individuated in cognitive psychology. A discussion of current models of children's acquisition of semantic knowledge is used to motivate a thought-experiment which shows that psychologists working in this area are not committed to describing the concepts children attach to words in terms of the concepts standardly attached to those words in the child's community. The content of the child's representational states are thus not individuated with reference to linguistic environment in the manner that Burge's nonindividualistic view requires. The paper concludes that the explanatory states of cognitive psychology are sometimes individualistically individuated
Keywords Cognitive Psychology  Epistemology  Individualism  Intention  Representation
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DOI 10.1086/289597
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