Why the externalist is better off without free logic: A reply to McKinsey

Dialectica 62 (4):535-540 (2008)
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McKinsey-style incompatibilist arguments attempt to show that the thesis that subjects have privileged, a priori access to the contents of their thoughts is incompatible with semantic externalism. This incompatibility follows – it is urged – from the fact that these theses jointly entail an absurd conclusion, namely, the possibility of a priori knowledge of the world. In a recent paper I argued that a large and important class of such arguments exemplifies a dialectical failure: if they are valid, the putatively absurd conclusion can be generated without the privileged access premise. Michael McKinsey has responded by arguing that the semantic externalist should adopt a neutral free logic invalidating a principle that my argument essentially relies on. I will say why the semantic commitments of the externalist are in tension with free logic, thereby vindicating my original argument.



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Maria Lasonen-Aarnio
University of Helsinki

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Armchair Access and Imagination.Giada Fratantonio - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (4):525-547.

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References found in this work

Singular terms, truth-value gaps, and free logic.Bas Van Fraassen - 1966 - Journal of Philosophy 63 (17):481-495.
Anti-Individualism and Knowledge.Sanford Goldberg - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):515-518.
Sense without Denotation.Timothy Smiley - 1959 - Analysis 20 (6):125 - 135.

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