Incorrect understanding and concept possession

Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):55-70 (2004)

Tyler Burge has argued that an incorrect understanding of a word can be sufficient for possessing the concept the word literally expresses. His well-known 'arthritis' case involves a patient who understands 'arthritis' incorrectly, but who nevertheless, according to Burge, possesses the concept arthritis. Critics of Burge have objected that there is an alternative concept that best matches the patient's understanding and that this, therefore, is the patient's concept. The paper first argues that Burge's response to this objection is unconvincing. A better response is then developed. It is argued that there is no alternative concept that matches the incorrect understanding, since the patient thinks he has a partial understanding. This, together with points about ordinary psychological explanation and modes of presentations of concepts, establish that it is impossible to undermine Burge's social externalism by appealing to the idea that an alternative concept matches the incorrect understanding
Keywords Explanation  Extension  Externalism  Metaphysics  Understanding
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DOI 10.1080/1386979032000186854
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References found in this work BETA

Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.Paul Horwich - 1982 - Philosophy of Science 51 (1):163-171.

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Moral Responsibility for Concepts.Rachel Fredericks - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1381-1397.

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