Reference Failure, Illusion of Thought and Self‐Knowledge

Dialectica 67 (3):303-323 (2013)
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One of the main issues concerning different versions of content externalism is whether or not they are compatible with the privileged access thesis. According to the so-called ‘illusion version’ of externalism, in reference failure cases (such as cases in which an empty proper name is involved) the subject suffers an illusion of entertaining a thought. In this paper, I shall concentrate on a recent argument offered by Jessica Brown, which she calls the “illusion argument”, to the effect that the illusion version of externalism undermines the privileged access thesis (Brown, 2004). After criticizing Brown's argument, I shall try to reconstruct the illusion argument in a more defensible and straightforward way. I will exploit, in my argument, solutions proposed by Goldman and Alston for the so-called ‘generality problem’ (Goldman, 1986; Alston, 1995). Moreover, I shall offer a stronger formulation of the global reliability condition for knowledge, upon which my reconstruction of the illusion argument is based



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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Discrimination and perceptual knowledge.Alvin I. Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.
Individualism and self-knowledge.Tyler Burge - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (November):649-63.
Nonexistence.Nathan Salmon - 1998 - Noûs 32 (3):277-319.

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