Externalism and memory

[Michael Tye] Externalism about thought contents has received enormous attention in the philosophical literature over the past fifteen years or so, and it is now the established view. There has been very little discussion, however, of whether memory contents are themselves susceptible to an externalist treatment. In this paper, I argue that anyone who is sympathetic to Twin Earth thought experiments for externalism with respect to certain thoughts should endorse externalism with respect to certain memories. /// [Jane Heal] Tye claims that an externalist should say that memory content invoking natural kind concepts floats free of the setting where the memory is laid down and is at later times determined by the context in which the memory is revived. His argument assumes the existence of 'slow switching' of the meaning of natural kind terms when a person is transported from Earth to Twin Earth. But proper understanding of natural kind terms suggests that slow switching (contrary to what is often presupposed) is likely never to be completed. Hence the situation of a person unknowingly transported to Twin Earth is not that his memories switch content but rather that he gets two natural kinds confused
Keywords Externalism  Memory  Metaphysics  Mind  Putnam, H
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8349.00036
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Fiona Macpherson (2005). Colour Inversion Problems for Representationalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):127-152.
Mikkel Gerken (2011). Conceptual Equivocation and Warrant by Reasoning. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):381-400.
Laura Schroeter (2007). Illusion of Transparency. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):597 – 618.

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