Davidson on first-person authority and externalism

Sven Bernecker
University of Cologne
Incompatibilism is the view that privileged knowledge of our own mental states cannot be reconciled with externalism regarding the content of mental states. Davidson has recently developed two arguments that are supposed to disprove incompatibilism and establish the consistency of privileged access and externalism. One argument criticizes incompatibilism for assuming that externalism conflicts with the mind?body identity theory. Since mental states supervene on neurological events, Davidson argues, they are partly ?in the head? and are knowable just by reflection. Another argument rejects incompatibilism by repudiating the object perception model of introspection. Once extemalism is freed from the internalist idea that thoughts take objects which are inner epistemological intermediaries, Davidson maintains, it poses no threat to privileged self?knowledge. It is argued that neither of these arguments is successful, since both disprove assumptions irrelevant to incompatibilism. Moreover, it is indicated how Davidson would have to go about defending his positive account of privileged self?knowledge against the principal incompatibilist arguments.
Keywords Authority  Epistemology  Externalism  Incompatibilism  Knowledge  Davidson, D
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201749608602410
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 33,190
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1738 - Oxford University Press.
Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total downloads
82 ( #74,180 of 2,242,319 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #410,280 of 2,242,319 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature