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Summary The debate on content externalism and self-knowledge concerns the supposed incompatibility between externalism and armchair knowledge of one's own thought contents. Following Putnam 1975 and Burge 1979, many philosophers accept that mental contents are individuated partly by the social and/or physical environment. But in a Cartesian vein, many are also convinced that we enjoy especially secure armchair knowledge of our own occurrent thought contents. Yet if those contents are partly determined by the environment, it seems we could not know our thought contents just from the armchair. Whether I am having a water-thought vs. a twin-water-thought would depend on factors which are known only empirically. The debate turns on whether this apparent conflict is real.
Key works Millikan 1984's argument against "meaning rationalism" was the earliest articulation of how externalist semantics precludes Cartesian self-knowledge. But most see the externalism/self-knowledge debate as beginning with an exchange between Davidson 1987 and Burge 1988 (though both authors denied the incompatibility). However, Boghossian 1989 offered an incompatibilist reply, and other incompatibilists soon followed; see McKinsey 1991 and Brown 1995. Early compatibilist counter-replies are from Falvey & Owens 1994 and Macdonald 1995. Boghossian 1997 was a further contribution to the incompatibilist side, and the compatibilists McLaughlin & Tye 1998 and Sawyer 1998 followed soon after. From there, the literature truly began to explode.
Introductions Ludlow & Martin 1998 contains a useful introductory essay, besides anthologizing most of the key papers listed above. McLaughlin et al 2009 contains a selection by Jessica Brown that is also useful. See the relevant chapters in Kallestrup 2011 as well. For a longer, more detailed introduction, and for a lengthy bibliography, see Parent 2013 in the Stanford Encyclopedia.
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  1. Prepared by Aron Edidin and Paul Boghossian.Peter Achinstein & Ernest Adams - 1980 - In Richard C. Jeffrey (ed.), Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 2--299.
  2. Knowledge Externalism.Marc Alspector-kelly - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (3):289–300.
    A popular counterexample directed against externalist epistemological views is that of an agent (Lehrer's "Truetemp" for example) whose beliefs are clearly neither justified nor known but that were generated in the manner that the externalist requires, thereby demonstrating externalism to be insufficient. In this essay I develop and defend an externalist account of knowledge – essentially an elaboration of Fred Dreske's information-theoretic account – that is not susceptible to those criticisms. I then briefly discuss the relationship between knowledge and justification.
  3. Conceptual Minimalism and Anti-Individualism: A Reply to Goldberg.Kent Bach & Reinaldo Elugardo - 2003 - Noûs 37 (1):151-160.
  4. Social Externalism and First-Person Authority.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (2):287 - 300.
    Social Externalism is the thesis that many of our thoughts are individuated in part by the linguistic and social practices of the thinker’s community. After defending Social Externalism and arguing for its broad application, I turn to the kind of defeasible first-person authority that we have over our own thoughts. Then, I present and refute an argument that uses first-person authority to disprove Social Externalism. Finally, I argue briefly that Social Externalism—far from being incompatible with first-person authority—provides a check on (...)
  5. Anti-Individualism and Knowledge – Jessica Brown. [REVIEW]Lynne Rudder Baker - 2005 - Times Literary Supplement 5336:26.
    Traditionally, Anglophone philosophers have assumed that the identity of a thought is determined wholly by the subject's intrinsic states--e.g., her brain states. In the 1970's, this traditional view (lately called 'individualism' or ‘internalism’) was challenged by Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge, who argued that the contents of one’s beliefs, desires, intentions are partly determined by one's physical, social and/or linguistic environment. The question is not whether the environment causes one to think what one does. Rather, the question is one of (...)
  6. Individualism and Self-Knowledge: Tu Quoque.Kelly Becker - 2002 - American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (3):289 - 295.
  7. Self-Knowledge and the Bounds of Authenticity.Sven Bernecker - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (1):107-121.
    This paper criticizes the widespread view whereby a second-order judgment of the form ‘I believe that p ’ qualifies as self-knowledge only if the embedded content, p , is of the same type as the content of the intentional state reflected upon and the self-ascribed attitude, belief, is of the same type as the attitude the subject takes towards p . Rather than requiring identity of contents across levels of cognition self-knowledge requires only that the embedded content of the second-order (...)
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  8. Prospects for Epistemic Compatibilism.Sven Bernecker - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):81-104.
    This paper argues that Sosa’s virtue perspectivism fails to combine satisfactorily internalist and externalist features in a single theory. Internalism and externalism are reconciled at the price of creating a Gettier problem at the level of “reflective” or second-order knowledge. The general lesson to be learned from the critique of virtue perspectivism is that internalism and externalism cannot be combined by bifurcating justification and knowledge into an object-level and a meta-level and assigning externalism and internalism to different levels.
  9. Self-Knowledge and Closure.Sven Bernecker - 1998 - In Peter Ludlow & Norah Martin (eds.), Externalism and Self-Knowledge. CSLI Publications. pp. 333-349.
    Paul Boghossian has famously argued that semantic externalism is incompatible with authoritative self-knowledge. Boghossian also draws incompatibilist consequences from the slow switching thought experiment introduced by Tyler Burge. This paper develops three objections to Boghossian's incompatibilist argument.
  10. On Knowing One's Own Mind.Sven Bernecker - 1997 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    This paper raises two objections to Tyler Burge's externalist theory of privileged self-knowledge. The first point is that Burge owes us an account of external content-determining factors of our belief concept. The second point is that that Burge can reconcile externalism with self-knowledge only at the price of abandoning Frege's insight concerning the referential opacity of propositional attitudes.
  11. McKinsey on Kripke's Assault on Cluster Theories.Rod Bertolet - 1980 - Philosophy Research Archives 6:466-473.
    This paper attempts to undermine Michael McKinsey’s Important objections to Kripke’s attempts to refute cluster versions of description theories of name reference. McKinsey argues that Kripke Ignores descriptions to which a clustser theorist might appeal In constructing his counterexamples, but that these same descriptions are what guide our intuitions In evaluating the examples. I argue that the descriptions McKinsey offers are question-begging, and thus of no help to a cluster theorist. In a second brief section, I offer an argument designed (...)
  12. McKinsey, Causes and Intentions.Rod Bertolet - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):619-632.
  13. Dynamic Integration of Pragmatic Expectations and Real-World Event Knowledge in Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution.Klinton Bicknell & Hannah Rohde - 2009 - In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. pp. 1216--1221.
  14. Can Externalism Be Reconciled with Self-Knowledge?Akeel Bilgrami - 1992 - Philosophical Topics 20 (1):233-68.
  15. Thought and its Objects.Akeel Bilgrami - 1991 - Philosophical Issues 1:215-232.
  16. I—Paul Boghossian.Paul Boghossian - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):225-248.
  17. Content and Self-Knowledge in Philosophy of Mind.Paul A. Boghossian - 1989 - Philosophical Topics 17 (1):5-26.
  18. Debating Self-Knowledge, by Anthony Brueckner and Gary Ebbs.Cristina Borgoni - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):204-204.
  19. Self-Knowledge and Externalism.Bill Brewer - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 5:39-47.
    A person’s authoritative self-knowledge about the contents of his or her own beliefs is thought to cause problems for content externalism, for it appears to yield arguments constituting a wholly non-empirical source of empirical knowledge: knowledge that certain particular objects or kinds exist in the environment. I set out this objection to externalism, and present a new reply. Possession of an externalist concept is an epistemological skill: it depends upon the subject’s possession of demonstratively-based knowledge about the object or kind (...)
  20. Externalism and the Varieties of Self-Awareness.Andrew Brook - manuscript
    Externalism is the view that some crucial element in the content of our representational states is outside of not just the states whose content they are but even the person who has those states. If so, the contents of such states (and, many hold, the states themselves) do not supervene on anything local to the person whose has them. There are a number of different candidates for what that element is: function (Dretske), causal connection (Putnam, Kripke, Fodor), and social context (...)
  21. Semantic Externalism and Self-Knowledge.J. Brown - 2009 - In Ansgar Beckermann & Brian P. McLaughlin (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 767--780.
  22. Noordhof on McKinsey-Brown.A. Brueckner - 2005 - Analysis 65 (1):86-88.
  23. Anti-Individualism and Analyticity.A. Brueckner - 2002 - Analysis 62 (1):87-91.
  24. Ambiguity and Knowledge of Content.A. Brueckner - 2000 - Analysis 60 (3):257-260.
  25. Externalism and the a Prioricity of Self-Knowledge.A. Brueckner - 2000 - Analysis 60 (1):132-136.
  26. Difficulties in Generating Scepticism About Knowledge of Content.A. Brueckner - 1999 - Analysis 59 (1):59-62.
  27. Content Externalism, Entitlement, and Reasons.Anthony Brueckner - 2007 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), Internalism and Externalism in Semantics and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 160.
  28. Cartesian Skepticism, Content Externalism, and Self-Knowledge.Anthony Brueckner - 2005 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 50 (4):53-64.
    Há um argumento cético clássico derivado das Meditações sobre a filosofia primeira. Este artigo oferece uma formulação contemporânea padrão do argumento, pretendendo mostrar que ninguém sabe qualquer coisa sobre o mundo extramental. A obra de Hilary Putnam na filosofia da linguagem e da mente parece fornecer uma resposta a uma versão atualizada do argumento cético cartesiano. Em sua maior parte, este artigo é dedicado a uma análise e crítica das meditações anti-céticas de Putnam. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Descartes. Putnam. Ceticismo. Cérebros em (...)
  29. Two Transcendental Arguments Concerning Self-Knowledge.Anthony Brueckner - 2003 - In Susana Nuccetelli (ed.), New Essays on Semantic Externalism and Self-Knowledge. MIT Press.
  30. Self-Knowledge Via Inner Observation of External Objects?Anthony L. Brueckner - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):118-122.
    Harold Langsam has recently presented a novel observational account of self-knowledge. I critically discuss this account and argue that it fails to provide a uniform understanding of how we are able to know the contents of our own thoughts.
  31. Problems for a Recent Account of Introspective Knowledge.Anthony L. Brueckner - 2001 - Facta Philosophica.
  32. Ambiguity and Knowledge of Content.Anthony L. Brueckner - 2000 - Analysis 60 (3):257-60.
  33. Externalism and the a Prioricity of Self-Knowledge.Anthony L. Brueckner - 2000 - Analysis 60 (1):132-136.
    Michael McKinsey has argued that content externalism has the absurd consequence that one can know a priori that water exists. Richard W. Miller responds that when a prioricity is properly understood, McKinsey's argument should not be seen as a _reductio of externalism. This paper disputes Miller's understanding of a prioricity.
  34. Transcendental Arguments From Content Externalism.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1999 - In Robert Stern (ed.), Transcendental Arguments: Problems and Prospects. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  35. Two Recent Approaches to Self-Knowledge.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1999 - Philosophical Perspectives 13 (s13):251-71.
  36. Content Externalism and a Priori Knowledge.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1998 - ProtoSociology 11:149-159.
    M. McKinsey has argued that the externalist theory of mental content implies that one can have a priori knowledge of propositions that are in fact only knowable a posteriori. So, according to McKinsey, the externalist theory must be mistaken. A. Gallois and J. O'Leary-Hawthorne have formalized this argument. In this paper, I discuss their formalization and their criticisms of it.
  37. The Characteristic Thesis of Anti-Individualism.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1995 - Analysis 55 (3):146-48.
    This is a response to an argument (by Michael McKinsey) purporting to show that anti-individualism is trivially true. I show that this argument rests upon a misconception of the basic claim of anti-individualism.
  38. Trying to Get Outside Your Own Skin.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1995 - Philosophical Topics 23 (1):79-111.
  39. Skepticism and Externalism.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1993 - Philosophia 22 (1-2):169-71.
  40. Scepticism About Knowledge of Content.Anthony L. Brueckner - 1990 - Mind 99 (395):447-51.
    Focuses on the arguments that show the externalism of mental content. Discussion on the principle of knowledge identification; Account of basic self-knowledge; Interpretations of sentence content; Skepticism of knowledge content.
  41. Reason and the First Person U Knjizi Wright, C., Smith, B: C. And Macdonald, C.T. Burge - 1998 - In Crispin Wright, Barry C. Smith & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.), On knowing our own minds. Oxford University Press.
  42. Davidson and Forms of Anti-Individualism: Reply to Hahn.Tyler Burge - 2003 - In Martin Hahn & B. Ramberg (eds.), Reflections and Replies: Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge. MIT Press.
  43. Mental Agency in Authoritative Self-Knowledge: Reply to Kobes.Tyler Burge - 2003 - In Martin Hahn & B. Ramberg (eds.), Reflections and Replies: Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge. MIT Press.
  44. Reply: Authoritative Self-Knowledge and Perceptual Individualism.Tyler Burge - 1988 - In Robert H. Grimm & D. D. Merrill (eds.), Contents of Thought. University of Arizona Press. pp. 86--98.
  45. Externalism and Skepticism.Keith Butler - 1998 - Dialogue 37 (1):13-34.
  46. Review of Anti-Individualism : Mind and Language, Knowledge and Justification, by Goldberg, S. C. [REVIEW]Stephen A. Butterfill - unknown
  47. Bradley, I. 40 Bronfenbrenner, M. 203, 206 Brown, A. 206 Brueckner, AL 168.J. E. Cairnes, A. Assiter, M. Baranzini, P. Bardhan, A. Barten, K. Basu, T. L. Beauchamp, M. Bernal, K. Bharadwaj & M. Black - 1999 - In Steve Fleetwood (ed.), Critical Realism in Economics: Development and Debate. Routledge.
  48. Reply to Brueckner.Josephkeim Campbell - 2008 - Analysis 68 (3):264-269.
  49. 5. Authoritative Self-Knowledge.Wolfgang Carl - 2014 - In The First-Person Point of View. De Gruyter. pp. 121-150.
  50. Reply to My Critics: Anthony Brueckner and Robin Jeshion.Albert Casullo - 2011 - In Michael J. Shaffer & Michael Veber (eds.), What Place for the a Priori? Open Court. pp. 111.
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