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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 2007 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. Graph of Socratic Elenchos.John Bova - manuscript
    From my ongoing "Metalogical Plato" project. The aim of the diagram is to make reasonably intuitive how the Socratic elenchos (the logic of refutation applied to candidate formulations of virtues or ruling knowledges) looks and works as a whole structure. This is my starting point in the project, in part because of its great familiarity and arguable claim to being the inauguration of western philosophy; getting this point less wrong would have broad and deep consequences, including for philosophy’s self-understanding. -/- (...)
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  2. I. Jané. Reflections on Skolem's Relativity of Set-Theoretical Concepts. The Philosopher's Annual, Edited by Patrick Grim, Peter Ludlow, and Gary Mar, Vol. XXIV. CSLI Publications, Stanford, 2003, Pp. 95–121 - C. Wright. On Being in a Quandary: Relativism, Vagueness, Logical Revisionism. The Philosopher's Annual, Edited by Patrick Grim, Peter Ludlow, and Gary Mar, Vol. XXIV. CSLI Publications, Stanford, 2003, Pp. 273–325. [REVIEW]Peter Schotch - 2005 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 11 (1):84-89.
  3. Debating Self-Knowledge, by Anthony Brueckner and Gary Ebbs: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, Pp. Ix + 233, £62. [REVIEW]Cristina Borgoni - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):204-204.
  4. Reply to Brueckner.Joseph Keim Campbell - 2008 - Analysis 68 (3):264-269.
  5. Ordinary Language, Conventionalism and a Priori Knowledge.Henry Jackman - 2001 - Dialectica 55 (4):315-325.
    This paper examines popular‘conventionalist’explanations of why philosophers need not back up their claims about how‘we’use our words with empirical studies of actual usage. It argues that such explanations are incompatible with a number of currently popular and plausible assumptions about language's ‘social’character. Alternate explanations of the philosopher's purported entitlement to make a priori claims about‘our’usage are then suggested. While these alternate explanations would, unlike the conventionalist ones, be compatible with the more social picture of language, they are each shown to (...)
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  6. Externalism and A Priori Knowledge of the World: Why Privileged Access is Not the Issue.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (4):433-445.
    I look at incompatibilist arguments aimed at showing that the conjunction of the thesis that a subject has privileged, a priori access to the contents of her own thoughts, on the one hand, and of semantic externalism, on the other, lead to a putatively absurd conclusion, namely, a priori knowledge of the external world. I focus on arguments involving a variety of externalism resulting from the singularity or object‐dependence of certain terms such as the demonstrative ‘that’. McKinsey argues that incompatibilist (...)
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  7. Comments on Mark Brown’s “Why Individualism Matters”.James K. Swindler - 1990 - Southwest Philosophy Review 6 (2):115-118.
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  8. 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 (...)
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  9. I—Paul Boghossian.Paul Boghossian - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):225-248.
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  10. VII—Formal and Substantial Individualism.Bernard Williams - 1984 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 85 (1):119-132.
  11. A Theory of the Measurement of Knowledge Content, Access, and Learning.Peter Pirolli & Mark Wilson - 1998 - Psychological Review 105 (1):58-82.
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  12. Replies to Boghossian and Smithies.Hilary Kornblith - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):69-80.
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  13. 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 (...)
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  14. Difficulties in Generating Scepticism About Knowledge of Content.A. Brueckner - 1999 - Analysis 59 (1):59-62.
  15. What Anti-Individualists Cannot Know a Priori.Susana Nuccetelli - 1999 - Analysis 59 (1):48-51.
    Note first that knowledge of one's own thought-contents would not count as a priori according to the usual criteria for knowledge of this kind. Surely, then, incompatibilists are using this term to refer to some other, stipulatively defined, epistemic property. But could this be, as suggested by McKinsey { 1 99 1: 9), the property of being knowable 'just by thinking' or 'from the armchair'? Certainly not if these were metaphors for knowledge attainable on the basis of reason alone, since (...)
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  16. McKinsey-Brown Survives.H. W. Noonan - 2000 - Analysis 60 (4):353-356.
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  17. Ambiguity and Knowledge of Content.A. Brueckner - 2000 - Analysis 60 (3):257-260.
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  18. Externalism and the a Prioricity of Self-Knowledge.A. Brueckner - 2000 - Analysis 60 (1):132-136.
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  19. The Compatibility of Anti-Individualism and Privileged Access.K. Falvey - 2000 - Analysis 60 (1):137-142.
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  20. Word-Ambiguity, World-Switching, and Knowledge of Content: Reply to Brueckner.S. C. Goldberg - 1999 - Analysis 59 (3):212-217.
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  21. Externalism, Privileged Self-Knowledge, and the Irrelevance of Slow Switching.T. A. Warfield - 1997 - Analysis 57 (4):282-284.
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  22. Outsmarting the McKinsey-Brown Argument?P. Noordhof - 2004 - Analysis 64 (1):48-56.
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  23. Noordhof on McKinsey-Brown.A. Brueckner - 2005 - Analysis 65 (1):86-88.
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  24. On Our Alleged a Priori Knowledge That Water Exists.S. C. Goldberg - 2003 - Analysis 63 (1):38-41.
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  25. Anti-Individualism and Analyticity.A. Brueckner - 2002 - Analysis 62 (1):87-91.
  26. Recent Work on McKinsey's Paradox.J. Kallestrup - 2011 - Analysis 71 (1):157-171.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  27. Forms Of Externalism And Privileged Access.Michael McKinsey - 2002 - Noûs 36 (s16):199-224.
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  28. Cogency and Question-Begging: Some Reflections on McKinsey's Paradox and Putnam's Proof.Crispin Wright - 2000 - Noûs 34 (s1):140-163.
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  29. Cogency and Question-Begging: Some Reflections on McKinsey's Paradox and Putnam's Proof.Crispin Wright - 2000 - Philosophical Issues 10 (1):140-163.
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  30. 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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  31. Language Selection and Switching in Strasbourg.Penelope Gardner-Chloros - 1991 - Oxford University Press UK.
    The term `code-switching' is used to describe the mixing of different language varieties which often results from language contact. This book is the first full-length study of code-switching in a European context.
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  32. Transcendental Arguments: Problems and Prospects.Robert Stern (ed.) - 1999 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Fourteen new essays by a distinguished team of authors offer a broad and stimulating re-examination of transcendental arguments. This is the philosophical method of arguing that what is doubted or denied by the opponent must be the case, as a condition for the possibility of experience, language, or thought.The line-up of contributors features leading figures in the field from both sides of the Atlantic; they discuss the nature of transcendental arguments, and consider their role and value. In particular, they consider (...)
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  33. Externalism, Self-Knowledge and Explanation.Richard Flockemann - unknown
    In recent years, much attention has been given to the question of whether content externalism is compatible with an account of self-knowledge maintaining that we have an epistemically privileged access to the content of our propositional mental states. Philosophers who maintain the two are incompatible have put forward two majors types of challenge, which I call - following Martin Davies - the Achievement and Consequence Problems, which aim to demonstrate that self-knowledge cannot be reconciled with externalism. These challenges have spawned (...)
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  34. 5. Authoritative Self-Knowledge.Wolfgang Carl - 2014 - In The First-Person Point of View. De Gruyter. pp. 121-150.
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  35. Contrastivism and Anti-Individualism: A Response to Aikin and Dabay.Sarah Sawyer - 2014 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
    In this paper I clarify my argument for the claim that contrastive self-knowledge entails anti-individualism.
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  36. The McKinsey–Lemmon Logic is Barely Canonical.Robert Goldblatt & Ian Hodkinson - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Logic 5:1-19.
    We study a canonical modal logic introduced by Lemmon, and axiomatised by an infinite sequence of axioms generalising McKinsey’s formula. We prove that the class of all frames for this logic is not closed under elementary equivalence, and so is non-elementary. We also show that any axiomatisation of the logic involves infinitely many non-canonical formulas.
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  37. Boghossian’s Inference Argument Against Content Externalism Reversed.Manuel PÉrez Otero - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):159-181.
    I deal here with one of Boghossian’s arguments against content externalism, related to our inferential rationality . According to his reasoning, the apriority of our logical abilities is inconsistent with certain externalist assumptions. Nevertheless, the problem constitutes an important challenge for any theory of content, not just for externalism. Furthermore, when we examine what internalists may propose to solve the problem, we see that externalists have at their disposal a more promising repertoire of possible replies than internalists. In that sense, (...)
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  38. Privileged Access and Externalism.Ted Alan Warfield - 1995 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
    It is widely held that individuals have some sort of special access to their own minds. In recent philosophy of mind, the view that thought content depends on extra-mental environmental factors has become the dominant view. Many philosophers have argued and are convinced that this externalism about thought content is incompatible with the thesis that individuals have special access to their own minds. ;In this thesis I refute the case for the inconsistency of privileged access and externalism and offer a (...)
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  39. Skepticism and Externalist Theories of Thought Content.Kirk Alan Ludwig - 1990 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    This dissertation addresses the question whether externalist theories of thought content provide a satisfactory response to the traditional problem of skepticism about the external world. I address two questions. If externalist theories of thought content are true, do they provide a satisfactory response to skepticism about the external world? Are externalist theories of thought content true? My answer to the first question is yes, and to the second no. The argument of the dissertation is divided into three parts. In the (...)
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  40. Jessica Brown, Anti-Individualism and Knowledge. [REVIEW]Jussi Haukioja - 2005 - Philosophy in Review 25:12-14.
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  41. Our Knowledge About Our Own Mental States: An Externalist Account.Keya Maitra - 2000 - Dissertation, The University of Connecticut
    The "incompatibility charge" argues that externalism fails to explain "self-knowledge" or the privileged knowledge that we ordinarily take ourselves to enjoy in relation to at least some of our own mental states. This dissertation attempts to provide an externalist reply to this charge. First, I suggest that the "compatibility debate" needs to be reoriented. This is because the mere internality or externality of determining factors cannot by itself explain how one can know the content determined by those factors. Thus the (...)
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  42. Anti-Individualism, Dubitability and Responsibility.Scott Kimbrough - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Anti-individualism is the thesis that features of the social and physical environments contribute to determining the contents of our beliefs. The notion of content implicit in the thought experiments supporting anti-individualism is tied to explications of how our terms and the concepts they express are correctly applied. Since anti-individualists should regard these explications as a subject of ongoing dispute, they should claim that sameness and difference of content is not always detectable upon reflection. Many philosophers accordingly worry that anti-individualists cannot (...)
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  43. An Analysis of the Philosophy Underlying Anticollectivist Individualism.Lynda Saunders - 1988 - Dissertation, University of Sussex (United Kingdom)
    Available from UMI in association with The British Library. ;The subject matter of this thesis is a particular form of individualism--anti-collectivist individualism. ;To be differentiated from more collectivist, humanist strands of individualism, anti-collectivist individualism can readily be equated with the classic liberal creed that accompanied a new stress on the individual and the emergence of a capitalist market economy in the West in the post-feudal period. ;The thesis places anti-collectivist individualism within the classic liberal tradition. It addresses anti-collectivist individualism both (...)
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  44. On the Identity of Concepts, and the Compatibility of Externalism and Privileged Access.F. Stoner - 2004 - American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (2):155-168.
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  45. Externalism and Self-Knowledge.Adam Silvio Vinueza - 1996 - Dissertation, City University of New York
    It is often alleged that semantic externalism, the thesis that mental content is partially determined by external factors, conflicts with the view that we have some kind of privileged access to the contents of our own mental states. If this is correct, we have a paradox: externalism is powerfully intuitive, but so is the idea of privileged access. In this essay, I examine the apparent paradox and argue that the alleged conflict is illusory. ;After sketching the paradox and its significance (...)
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  46. Slow Man. [REVIEW]Md Schuyler Henderson - 2007 - Lahey Clinic Medical Ethics Journal 14 (3):5-5.
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  47. Macdonald, G. And Wright, C. , "Fact, Science and Morality". [REVIEW]B. Hale - 1989 - Mind 98:307.
  48. Externalism and Self-Knowledge.Jorge Fernandez - 2003 - Dissertation, Brown University
    This dissertation addresses the question of whether externalism and privileged access are compatible. I defend the view according to which they are, indeed, incompatible. However, this follows unproblematically from a distinction between two notions of mental content that I introduce and develop. My main suggestion is that a confusion between two notions of mental content is responsible for the view that the incompatibility of privileged access and externalism is problematic, since these are views about, strictly speaking, different varieties of mental (...)
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  49. Content.Enrique Villanueva & Sociedad Filosófica Ibero Americana - 1995
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  50. Privileged Acces and Two Kinds of Semantic Externalism.Jesper Kallestrup - 2003 - Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 38.
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