David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Acta Analytica 17 (28):103-114 (2002)
The paper offers some preliminary and rather unsystematic reflections about the question: Do Beliefs Have Their Contents Essentially? The question looks like it ought to be important, yet it is rarely discussed. Maybe thatâs because content essentialism, i.e., the view that beliefs do have their contents essentially, is simply too obviously and trivially true to deserve much discussion. I sketch a common-sense argument that might be taken to show that content essentialism is indeed utterly obvious and/or trivial. Somewhat against this, I then point out that a sexy conclusion that is sometimes drawn from Putnam-Burge-style externalist arguments, namely that our mental states are not in our heads, presupposes content essentialism â which suggests that the view is not entirely trivial. Moreover, it seems intuitively that physicalists should reject the view: If beliefs are physical states, how could they have their propositional contents essentially? I distinguish three readings of the title question. Content essentialism does seem fairly obvious on the first two, but not so on the third. I argue that the common-sense argument mentioned earlier presupposes one of the first two readings but fails to apply to the third, on which âbeliefâ refers to belief-state tokens. Thatâs because ordinary belief individuation is silent about belief-state tokens. Token physicalists, I suggest, should indeed reject content essentialism about belief-state tokens. What about token dualists? One might think they ought to embrace content essentialism about belief-state tokens. I end with puzzling why this should be so
|Keywords||Content Epistemology Event Externalism Physicalism Proposition Burge, T|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Donald Davidson (1980). Essays on Actions and Events. Oxford University Press.
Colin McGinn (1989). Mental Content. Blackwell.
Terence Horgan (1980). Humean Causation and Kim's Theory of Events. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):663 - 679.
Citations of this work BETA
Brian Weatherson (2013). Margins and Errors. Inquiry 56 (1):63-76.
Robin Stenwall (2016). Truthmaker Internalism and the Mind-Dependence of Propositions. Acta Analytica 31 (1):59-76.
Similar books and articles
Fiona Macpherson (2005). Colour Inversion Problems for Representationalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):127-152.
Frank Jackson (1995). Essentialism, Mental Properties, and Causation. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:253-268.
John Gibbons (2001). Externalism and Knowledge of the Attitudes. Philosophical Quarterly 51 (202):13-28.
Keith Butler (1997). Externalism, Internalism, and Knowledge of Content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):773-800.
Michael Esfeld (2002). Externalism About Content: Its Social and Its Physical Roots. Filosoficky Casopis 50:387-400.
Chris Tillman (2012). Reconciling Justificatory Internalism and Content Externalism. Synthese 187 (2):419-440.
A. C. Genova (2007). Externalism and Token-Identity. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):223-249.
Jeeloo Liu (2002). Physical Externalism and Social Externalism: Are They Really Compatible? Journal of Philosophical Research 27:381-404.
Bryan Frances (2007). Externalism, Physicalism, Statues, and Hunks. Philosophical Studies 133 (2):199-232.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads43 ( #112,754 of 1,925,107 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #96,574 of 1,925,107 )
How can I increase my downloads?