Principia 9 (1-2):159-175 (2005)

André Leclerc
Universidade Federal do Ceará
After the seminal works of Putnam (1975), Burge (1979), and Kripke (1982), the next important contribution to externalism is certainly Davidson’s (mainly 1987, 1988, 1989, 2001). By criticizing the positions of these philosophers, Davidson elaborated his own brand of externalism. We shall first present some features of Davidson’s externalism (the importance of historical-causal connections for the foundation of language and thought, for the explanation of how language can be learned, and how attitudes can be identified by the interpreter, and finally how mental content is determined by appealing to the idea of triangulation), to prepare the discussion of a few problems. We then discuss two questions in Davidson’s externalism. First, how to reconcile the fact that external factors determine mental content, as Putnam, Burge and Davidson himself argued convincingly, with token-physicalism, the thesis that mental events are identical with physical events occurring “in the head” (or the thesis that mental events supervenes locally on brain activities)? The second main problem is how to reconcile the first person authority with some prima facie consequences of externalism, mainly that we should know the relevant parts of our (natural and social) environment in order to know the content of our own thoughts? We argue that Davidson’s answer to the first question is not successful, while his answer to the second was a breakthrough
Keywords Externalism  Individualism  Metaphysics  Self-knowledge  Davidson, Donald
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,355
External links

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

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
Mental Events.Donald Davidson - 1970 - In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.). Clarendon Press. pp. 207-224.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Does Externalism Entail the Anomalism of the Mental?Nicholas Shea - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):201-213.
Davidson on First‐Person Authority and Externalism.Sven Bernecker - 1996 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):121-139.
The Conditions of Thought.Donald Davidson - 1989 - In Grazer Philosophische Studien. Netherlands: Rodopi. pp. 193-200.
The Mind of Donald Davidson.Johannes Brandl (ed.) - 1989 - Netherlands: Rodopi.
Davidson's Social Externalism.Steven Yalowitz - 1999 - Philosophia 27 (1-2):99-136.
Davidson’s Transcendental Externalism.Jason Bridges - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):290-315.
Self-Knowledge and Scepticism.Jeff Malpas - 1994 - Erkenntnis 40 (2):165-184.


Added to PP index

Total views
48 ( #237,897 of 2,519,520 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #407,153 of 2,519,520 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes