Externalism, internalism, and knowledge of content

Abstract

Externalism holds, and internalism denies, that the individuation of many of an individual's mental states (e.g., thoughts about the physical world) depends necessarily on relations that individual bears to the physical and/or social environment. Many philosophers, externalists and internalists alike, believe that introspection yields knowledge of the contents of our thoughts that is direct and authoritative. It is not obvious, however, that the metaphysical claims of externalism are compatible with this epistemological thesis. Some (e.g., Burge, 1988; Falvey and Owens (F&O), 1994) have sought to dispel the worry that there is a conflict, though they admit that if such a conflict exists, it spells trouble for externalism (see, e.g., F&O, 1994, p. 108). Boghossian has argued that there is indeed a conflict between externalism and introspective knowledge of content. Surprisingly, however, he also argues that there is a conflict between internalism and introspective knowledge of content. I will defend Boghossian's claim that there is a conflict between externalism and knowledge of content, but criticize his claim that there is a conflict between internalism and knowledge of content

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Citations of this work

Introspecting Phenomenal States.Brie Gertler - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):305-28.
Self-Knowledge and Knowledge of Content.Åsa Maria Wikforss - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):399-424.
The Relevance of Discriminatory Knowledge of Content.Sanford C. Goldberg - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (2):136-56.
Externalism, Slow Switching and Privileged Self-Knowledge.Hamid Vahid - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):370-388.
Memory and Externalism.Sven Bernecker - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (3):605-632.

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