Virtually all philosophers agree that for a belief to be epistemically justified, it must satisfy certain conditions. Perhaps it must be supported by evidence. Or perhaps it must be reliably formed. Or perhaps there are some other "good-making" features it must have. But does a belief's justification also require some sort of awareness of its good-making features? The answer to this question has been hotly contested in contemporary epistemology, creating a deep divide among its practitioners. Internalists, who tend to focus (...) on scientific or theoretical beliefs as the ideal, insist that such awareness is required for justification. Externalists, who think children's ordinary beliefs in obvious facts are paradigm cases of justified belief, say it isn't required. Michael Bergmann's book offers a decisive refutation of internalism and a sustained defense of externalism. (shrink)
This paper examines some of the interactions between holism, contextualism, and externalism, and will argue that an externalist metasemantics that grounds itself in certain plausible assumptions about self- knowledge will also be a contextualist metasemantics, and that such a contextualist metasemantics in turn resolves one of the best known problems externalist theories purportedly have with self-knowledge, namely the problem of how the possibility of various sorts of ‘switching’ cases can appear to undermine the ‘transparency’ of our thoughts (in particular, (...) our ability to tell, with respect to any two occurrent thoughts, whether they exercise the same or different concepts). (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the compatibility of externalism and privileged access and argue that the warrant transmission succeeds in cases of armchair knowledge, but that it does not have the anti-sceptical consequences that it is typically thought to have.
Content-externalism is the view that a subject’s relations to a context can play a role in individuating the content of her mental states. According to social content-externalists, relations to a socio-linguistic context can play a fundamental individuating role. Åsa Wikforss has suggested that ‘social externalism depends on the assumption that individuals have an incomplete grasp of their own concepts’ (Wikforss 2004, p. 287). In this paper, I show that this isn’t so. I develop and defend an argument for (...) social content-externalism which does not depend on this assumption. The argument is animated by strands of thought in the later work of Wittgenstein. In addition to demonstrating that social externalists are not necessarily committed to thinking that a subject can have thoughts involving concepts which she incompletely understands, this argument is important insofar as it: (1) supports a form of content-externalism with extended scope; (2) avoids the controversy surrounding the claim that subjects can think with concepts which they incompletely understand; and (3) situates Wittgenstein’s later work with respect to contemporary debates about content-externalism. (shrink)
Externalist theories hold that a comprehensive understanding of mental disorder cannot be achieved unless we attend to factors that lie outside of the head: neural explanations alone will not fully capture the complex dependencies that exist between an individual’s psychiatric condition and her social, cultural, and material environment. Here, we firstly offer a taxonomy of ways in which the externalist viewpoint can be understood, and unpack its commitments concerning the nature and physical realization of mental disorder. Secondly, we apply a (...) strongly externalist approach to the case of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and argue that this condition can be illuminated by appeal to the hypothesis of extended cognition. We conclude by briefly considering the significance this strongly externalist approach may have for psychiatric practice and pedagogy. (shrink)
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then (...) examine first the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
It is commonly held that our thoughts, beliefs, desires and feelings - the mental phenomena that we instantiate - are constituted by states and processes that occur inside our head. The view known as externalism, however, denies that mental phenomena are internal in this sense. The mind is not purely in the head. Mental phenomena are hybrid entities that straddle both internal state and processes and things occurring in the outside world. The development of externalist conceptions of the mind (...) is one of the most controversial, and arguably one of the most important, developments in the philosophy of mind in the second half of the twentieth century. Yet, despite its significance most recent work on externalism has been highly technical, clouding its basic ideas and principles. Moreover, very little work has been done to locate externalism within philosophical developments in both analytic and continental traditions. In this book, Mark Rowlands aims to remedy both these problems and present for the reader a clear and accessible introduction to the subject grounded in wider developments in the history of philosophy. Rowlands shows that externalism has significant and respectable historical roots that make it much more important than a specific eruption that occurred in late twentieth-century analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Unlike conceptual analysis, conceptual engineering does not aim to identify the content that our current concepts do have, but the content which these concepts should have. For this method to show the results that its practitioners typically aim for, being able to change meanings seems to be a crucial presupposition. However, certain branches of semantic externalism raise doubts about whether this presupposition can be met. To the extent that meanings are determined by external factors such as causal histories or (...) microphysical structures, it seems that they cannot be changed intentionally. This paper gives an extended discussion of this ‘externalist challenge’. Pace Herman Cappelen’s recent take on this issue, it argues that the viability of conceptual engineering crucially depends on our ability to bring about meaning change. Furthermore, it argues that, contrary to first appearance, causal theories of reference do allow for a sufficient degree of meaning control. To this purpose, it argues that there is a sense of what is called ‘collective long-range control’, and that popular versions of the causal theory of reference imply that people have this kind of control over meanings. (shrink)
Combining active externalism in the form of the extended and distributed cognition hypotheses with virtue reliabilism can provide the long sought after link between mainstream epistemology and philosophy of science. Specifically, by reading virtue reliabilism along the lines suggested by the hypothesis of extended cognition, we can account for scientific knowledge produced on the basis of both hardware and software scientific artifacts. Additionally, by bringing the distributed cognition hypothesis within the picture, we can introduce the notion of epistemic group (...) agents, in order to further account for collective knowledge produced on the basis of scientific research teams. (shrink)
This chapter first surveys general issues in the epistemic internalism / externalism debate: what is the distinction, what motivates it, and what arguments can be given on both sides. -/- The second part of the chapter will examine the internalism / externalism debate as regards to the specific case of the epistemology of memory belief.
Internalist approaches to epistemic justification are, though controversial, considered a live option in contemporary epistemology. Accordingly, if ‘active’ externalist approaches in the philosophy of mind—e.g. the extended cognition and extended mind theses—are _in principle_ incompatible with internalist approaches to justification in epistemology, then this will be an epistemological strike against, at least the _prima facie_ appeal of, active externalism. It is shown here however that, contrary to pretheoretical intuitions, neither the extended cognition _nor_ the extended mind theses are in (...) principle incompatible with two prominent versions of epistemic internalism—viz., accessibilism and mentalism. In fact, one possible diagnosis is that pretheoretical intuitions regarding the incompatibility of active externalism with epistemic internalism are symptomatic of a tacit yet incorrect identification of epistemic internalism with epistemic individualism. Thus, active externalism is not in principle incompatible with epistemic internalism per se and does not significantly restrict one’s options in epistemology. (shrink)
Juhani Yli-Vakkuri has argued that the Twin Earth thought experiments offered in favour of semantic externalism can be replaced by a straightforward deductive argument from premisses widely accepted by both internalists and externalists alike. The deductive argument depends, however, on premisses that, on standard formulations of internalism, cannot be satisfied by a single belief simultaneously. It does not therefore, constitute a proof of externalism. The aim of this article is to explain why.
According to a variety of recent ‘enactivist’ proposals, the material basis of conscious experience might extend beyond the boundaries of the brain and nervous system and into the environment. Clark (2009) surveys several such arguments and finds them wanting. Here I respond on behalf of the enactivist. Clarifying the commitments of enactivism at the personal and subpersonal levels and considering how those levels relate lets us see where Clark’s analysis of enactivism goes wrong. Clark understands the enactivists as attempting to (...) provide hypotheses about the subpersonal mechanisms underlying experience according to which those mechanisms contingently include portions of the environment. But understanding enactivism instead as involving a relational conception of experience at the personal level, with apparent implications for the location of the subpersonal mechanisms of experience, allows us to make better sense of the enactivist arguments, and make the case for conscious externalism. (shrink)
Externalism is the thesis that the contents of intentional states and speech acts are not determined by the way the subjects of those states or acts are internally. It is a widely accepted but not entirely uncontroversial thesis. Among such theses in philosophy, externalism is notable for owing the assent it commands almost entirely to thought experiments, especially to variants of Hilary Putnam's famous Twin Earth scenario. This paper presents a thought experiment-free argument for externalism. It shows (...) that externalism is a deductive consequence of a pair of widely accepted principles whose relevance to the issue has hitherto gone unnoticed. (shrink)
Is the nature of testimonial warrant epistemically internalist or externalist? I will argue that the question should be answered ‘yes!’ The disjunction is not exclusive. Rather, a testimonial belief may possess epistemically internalist warrant—justification—as well as epistemically externalist warrant—entitlement. I use the label ‘pluralism’ to denote the view that there are both internalist and externalist species of genuinely epistemic warrant and argue for pluralism in the epistemology of testimony.
This paper argues for externalism about justification on the basis of thought experiments. I present cases in which two individuals are intrinsically and introspectively indistinguishable and in which intuitively, one is justified in believing that p while the other is not. I also examine an argument for internalism based on the ideas that we have privileged access to whether or not our own beliefs are justified and that only internalism is compatible with this privilege. I isolate what I take (...) to be the most plausible form of privileged access to justification and show that it is compatible with externalism. (shrink)
Recent discussion of Vogel-style “bootstrapping” scenarios suggests that they provide counterexamples to a wide variety of epistemological theories. Yet it remains unclear why it’s bad for a theory to permit bootstrapping, or even exactly what counts as a bootstrapping case. Going back to Vogel's original bootstrapping example, I note that an agent who could gain justification through the method Vogel describes would have available a “no-lose investigation”: an investigation that can justify a proposition but has no possibility of undermining it. (...) The main suggestion of this article is that an epistemological theory should not permit no-lose investigations. I identify necessary and sufficient conditions for such investigations, then explore epistemological theories that rule them out. If we want to avoid both skepticism and no-lose investigations, we must eschew either Closure or epistemic externalism. (shrink)
Controversy continues to attach to the question whether an externalism about mental content is compatible with a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge. By an externalism about mental content, I mean the view that what concepts our thoughts involve may depend not only on facts that are internal to us, but on facts about our environment. It is worth emphasizing, if only because it is still occasionally misperceived, that this thesis is supposed to apply at the level of sense (...) and not merely at that of reference: what concepts we think in terms of -- and not just what they happen to pick out -- is said by the externalist to depend upon environmental facts. By a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge, I mean the view that we are able to know, without the benefit of empirical investigation, what our thoughts are in our own case. Suppose I entertain a thought that I would express with the sentence `Water is wet'. According to the traditional doctrine, I can know without empirical investigation (a) that I am entertaining a thought; (b) that it has a particular conceptual content, and (c) that its content is that water is wet. (shrink)
This paper focuses on a combination of the antiskeptical strategies offered by semantic externalism and the inference to the best explanation. I argue that the most difficult problems of the two strategies can be solved, if the strategies are combined: The strategy offered by semantic externalism is successful against standard skeptical brain-in-a-vat arguments. But the strategy is ineffective, if the skeptical argument is referring to the recent-envatment scenario. However, by focusing on the scenario of recent envatment the most (...) difficult problems of the antiskeptical strategy posed by the inference to the best explanation can be solved. The most difficult problems with this strategy are: Why is an explanation of our experience offered by the skeptical hypothesis more complex than our standard explanation? Why is the more complex explanation less likely to be true? By focussing on the recent envatment hypothesis both questions can be answered satisfactorily. Therefore, the combination of semantic externalism and the inference to the best explanation yields a powerful antiskeptical argument. (shrink)
The paper presents an extended argument for the claim that mental content impacts the computational individuation of a cognitive system (section 2). The argument starts with the observation that a cognitive system may simultaneously implement a variety of different syntactic structures, but that the computational identity of a cognitive system is given by only one of these implemented syntactic structures. It is then asked what are the features that determine which of implemented syntactic structures is the computational structure of the (...) system, and it is contended that these features are certain aspects of mental content. The argument helps (section 3) to reassess the thesis known as computational externalism, namely, the thesis that computational theories of cognition make essential reference to features in the individual's environment. It is suggested that the familiar arguments for computational externalism?which rest on thought experiments and on exegesis of Marr's theories of vision?are unconvincing, but that they can be improved. A reconstruction of the visex/audex thought experiment is offered in section 3.1. An outline of a novel interpretation of Marr's theories of vision is presented in section 3.2. The corrected arguments support the claim that computational theories of cognition are intentional. Computational externalism is still pending, however, upon the thesis that psychological content is extrinsic. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam (1981) proposed an interesting and much discussed attempt to refute a skeptical argument that is based on one form of the brain-in-a-vat scenario. In turn, Putnam’s attempted refutation is based on content externalism (also known as semantic externalism). On this view, the referents and meanings of various types of singular and general terms, as well as the propositions expressed by sentences containing such terms, are determined by aspects of the speaker’s external environment. In this entry, we (...) will consider the basic features of and problems with Putnam’s original argument, and we will also present and discuss several of the most important attempts to reconstruct or improve upon that argument. (shrink)
It’s not implausible to think that whenever I have a justified noninferential belief that p, it is caused by a seeming that p. It’s also tempting to think that something contributes to the justification of my belief only if I hold my belief because of that thing. Thus, given that many of our noninferential beliefs are justified and that we hold them because of seemings, one might be inclined to hold a view like Phenomenal Conservatism, according to which seemings play (...) a crucial role—perhaps the only crucial role—in the justification of our noninferential beliefs. But Phenomenal Conservatism seems to conflict, in a number of ways, with externalist accounts of justification. As a result, the attractiveness of the intuitions appealed to in support of views like Phenomenal Conservatism present something of a challenge to externalism. The purpose of this paper is to deal with that challenge by developing and defending an externalist-friendly account of the role of seemings in the formation and justification of our noninferential beliefs—an account that incorporates what is attractive in views like Phenomenal Conservatism. Because this externalist-friendly account is compatible with both externalist accounts of justification and the plausible elements of views like Phenomenal Conservatism, the challenge to externalism inspired by such views is thereby undermined. (shrink)
Psychological externalism is the thesis that the contents of many of a person's propositional mental states are determined in part by relations he bears to his natural and social environment. This thesis has recently been thrust into prominence in the philosophy of mind by a series of thought experiments due to Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge. Externalism is a metaphysical thesis, but in this work I investigate its implications for the epistemology of the mental. I am primarily concerned (...) with the question whether externalism undermines the idea that a person typically knows the contents of her own thoughts, beliefs, and other propositional attitudes directly and authoritatively. I criticize arguments that have been advanced on behalf of a positive answer to this question, and argue that they rest on a faulty conception of the nature of first person authority, one which likens our access to our own minds to perception. An account of the basis of first person authority is sketched that locates our epistemic right to our self-ascriptions of propositional attitude not in our ability to discriminate among the various thought contents we might be thinking, but rather in our ability to express our thoughts, and to think with them in accordance with the norms of rationality. I consider also the question whether first person authority and externalism jointly make possible a refutation of certain forms of global skepticism, as has been famously argued by Putnam. I argue that Putnam's attempted refutation fails, because the crucial externalist claims that drive it are not knowable a priori. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers have argued that the fact that depressed agents sometimes make moral judgments without being appropriately motivated supports Humean externalism – the view that moral motivation must be explained in terms of desires that are distinct from or “external” to an agent’s motivationally inert moral judgments. This essay argues that such motivational failures do not, in fact, provide evidence for this view. I argue that, if the externalist argument from depression is to undermine a philo-sophically important version (...) of internalism, it must make use of a general assumption about motivational states. However, at a reasonable level of abstraction, the needed assumption also implies that even desires could not be effective sources of motivation. For, just as depressed agents might sometimes lack motivation to act consistently with their moral judgments, they also sometimes lack motivation to pursue their desires. Moreover, the most plausible responses that Humeans can give to this general argument undermine the externalist case against internalism. Thus, there is a deep tension between the argument from depression for externalism and a fundamental Humean commitment. (shrink)
Philosophical exploration of individualism and externalism in the cognitive sciences most recently has been focused on general evaluations of these two views (Adams & Aizawa 2008, Rupert 2008, Wilson 2004, Clark 2008). Here we return to broaden an earlier phase of the debate between individualists and externalists about cognition, one that considered in detail particular theories, such as those in developmental psychology (Patterson 1991) and the computational theory of vision (Burge 1986, Segal 1989). Music cognition is an area in (...) the cognitive sciences that has received little attention from philosophers, though it has relatively recently been thrown into the externalist spotlight (Cochrane 2008, Kruger 2014, Kersten forthcoming). Given that individualism can be thought of as a kind of paradigm for research on cognition, we provide a brief overview of the field of music cognition and individualistic tendencies within the field (sections 2 and 3) before turning to consider externalist alternatives to individualistic paradigms (section 4-5) and then arguing for a qualified form of externalism about music cognition (section 6). (shrink)
Externalism about mental content is now widely accepted. It is therefore surprising that there is no established definition of externalism. I believe that this is a symptom of an unrecognized fact: that the labels 'mental content externalism' -- and its complement 'mental content internalism' -- are profoundly ambiguous. Under each of these labels falls a hodgepodge of sometimes conflicting claims about the organism's contribution to thought contents, the nature of the self, relations between the individual and her (...) community, and the epistemic availability of thoughts. This situation stems from the fact that contributors to debates about externalism differ in how they understand 'internal property'; these differences reveal (or, perhaps, generate) disparate conceptions of what is at issue in these debates. I argue that this situation is irremediable. There is no way to understand 'internal property' that will conform with prevailing beliefs about the nature of internalism and externalism, and with the usual taxonomy of leading positions. This ambiguity carries a heavy price: participants in these debates often argue at cross-purposes, disagreeing even on the nature of the evidence that could settle the question of externalism. Progress on the broad range of issues associated with these debates requires that we abandon the categories 'internalism' and 'externalism'. I close by suggesting a promising avenue for future research related to these issues. (shrink)
Psychiatry widely assumes an internalist biomedical model of mental illness. I argue that many of psychiatry’s diagnostic categories involve an implicit commitment to constitutive externalism about mental illness. Some of these categories are socially externalist in nature.
The analyses of the mind–world relation offered by transcendental idealists such as Husserl have often been dismissed with the argument that they remain committed to an outdated form of internalism. The first move in this paper will be to argue that there is a tight link between Husserl’s transcendental idealism and what has been called phenomenological externalism, and that Husserl’s endorsement of the former commits him to a version of the latter. Secondly, it will be shown that key elements (...) in Husserl’s transcendental idealism, including his rejection of representationalism and metaphysical realism, is shared with a number of prominent contemporary defenders of an externalist view on the mind. Ultimately, however, it will be suggested that the very alternative between internalism and externalism—an alternative based on the division between inner and outer—might be inapplicable when it comes to phenomenological conceptions of the mind–world relation. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that internalism about moral judgments and motivation faces a dilemma. On the one hand, a strong version of internalism is able to explain our conception of the connection between moral language and motivation, but fails to account for the notion that people who suffer from certain mental conditions need not be accordingly motivated. On the other hand, a weaker form of internalism avoids this difficulty, but fails to explain the mentioned conception concerning moral language and (...) motivation. Moreover, I argue that externalism in conjunction with a pragmatic claim which employs Grice’s concept of generalized conversational implicature is able to account for both these conceptions and that it consequently avoids the internalist dilemma. Thus, there is reason to think that this view is preferable to internalism. (shrink)
I criticize some armchair arguments against phenomenal externalism due to Block, Hawthorne, Kriegel, Levine, Shoemaker and others. I conclude by discussing an overlooked armchair argument: the argument from phenomenal localism.
It is argued that Husserl was an “externalist” in at least one sense. For it is argued that Husserl held that genuinely perceptual experiences—that is to say, experiences that are of some real object in the world—differ intrinsically, essentially and as a kind from any hallucinatory experiences. There is, therefore, no neutral “content” that such perceptual experiences share with hallucinations, differing from them only over whether some additional non-psychological condition holds or not. In short, it is argued that Husserl was (...) a “disjunctivist”. In addition, it is argued that Husserl held that the individual object of any experience, perceptual or hallucinatory, is essential to and partly constitutive of that experience. The argument focuses on three aspects of Husserl’s thought: his account of intentional objects, his notion of horizon, and his account of reality. (shrink)
One of the most provocative projects in recent analytic philosophy has been the development of the doctrine of externalism, or, as it is often called, anti-individualism. While there is no agreement as to whether externalism is true or not, a number of recent investigations have begun to explore the question of what follows if it is true. One of the most interesting of these investigations thus far has been the question of whether externalism has consequences for the (...) doctrine that we have authoritative, a priori self-knowledge of our mental states. The selected works presented in this volume, some previously published, some new, are representative of this debate and open up new questions and issues for philosophical investigation, including the connection between externalism, self-knowledge, epistemic warrant, and memory. (shrink)
We distinguish and discuss two different accounts of the subject matter of theories of reference, meta-externalism and meta-internalism. We argue that a form of the meta- internalist view, “moderate meta-internalism”, is the most plausible account of the subject matter of theories of reference. In the second part of the paper we explain how this account also helps to answer the questions of what kind of concept reference is, and what role intuitions have in the study of the reference relation.
Externalism is widely endorsed within contemporary philosophy of mind and language. Despite this, it is far from clear how the externalist thesis should be construed and, indeed, why we should accept it. In this entry I distinguish and examine three central types of externalism: what I call foundational externalism, externalist semantics, and psychological externalism. I suggest that the most plausible version of externalism is not in fact a very radical thesis and does not have any (...) terribly interesting implications for philosophy of mind, whereas the more radical and interesting versions of externalism are quite difficult to support. (shrink)
Semantic externalism is the view that the meanings of referring terms, and the contents of beliefs that are expressed by those terms, are not fully determined by factors internal to the speaker but are instead bound up with the environment. The debate about semantic externalism is one of the most important but difficult topics in philosophy of mind and language, and has consequences for our understanding of the role of social institutions and the physical environment in constituting language (...) and the mind. In this long-needed book, Jesper Kallestrup provides an invaluable map of the problem. Beginning with a thorough introduction to the theories of descriptivism and referentialism and the work of Frege and Kripke, Kallestrup moves on to analyse Putnam’s Twin Earth argument, Burge’s arthritis argument and Davidson’s Swampman argument. He also discusses how semantic externalism is at the heart of important topics such as indexical thoughts, epistemological skepticism, self-knowledge, and mental causation. Including chapter summaries, a glossary of terms, and an annotated guide to further reading, _Semantic Externalism_ an ideal guide for students studying philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The content of the externalist thesis about the mind depends crucially on how we define the distinction between the internal and the external. According to the usual understanding, the boundary between the internal and the external is the skull or the skin of the subject. In this paper I argue that the usual understanding is inadequate, and that only the new understanding of the external/internal distinction I suggest helps us to understand the issue of the compatibility of externalism and (...) privileged access. (shrink)
This paper reassesses the case against Evidential Externalism, the thesis that one's evidence fails to supervene on one's non-factive mental states, focusing on two objections to Externalism due by Nicholas Silins: the armchair access argument and the supervenience argument. It also examines Silins's attempt to undermine the force of one major source of motivation for Externalism, namely that the rival Internalist picture of evidence is implicated in some central arguments for scepticism. While Silins concludes that the case (...) against Evidential Externalism is surprisingly strong, reassessing the arguments supports the opposite conclusion; the objections to Externalism are weak, and for all Silins has shown it may well have unmatched advantages when it comes to resisting scepticism. (shrink)
When proponents of cognitive externalism (CE) turn to empirical studies in cognitive science to put the framework to use and to assess its explanatory success, they typically refer to perception, memory, or motor coordination. In contrast, not much has been said about reasoning. One promising avenue to explore in this respect is the theory of bounded rationality (BR). To clarify the relationship between CE and BR, we criticize Andy Clark's understanding of BR, as well as his claim that BR (...) does not fit his version of CE. We then propose and defend a version of CE—“scaffolded cognition”—that is not committed to constitutive claims about the mind, but still differs from mainstream internalism. Finally, we analyze BR from our own CE perspective, thereby clarifying its vague appeals to the environment, and argue that cognitive internalism cannot explain important aspects of the BR program. (shrink)
Some experimental studies have recently claimed to undermine semantic externalism about natural kind terms. However, it is unclear how philosophical accounts of reference can be experimentally tested. We present two externalistic adaptations of psychological placeholder essentialism, a strict externalist and a hybrid externalist view, which are experimentally testable. We examine Braisby, Franks, and Hampton's (1996) study which claims to undermine externalism, and argue that the study fails in its aims. We conducted two experiments, the results of which undermine (...) internalism and the hybrid theory, and support strict externalism. Our conclusion is that lay speakers' natural kind concepts involve a belief in an external category essence, which determines reference. (shrink)
[Michael Tye] Externalism about thought contents has received enormous attention in the philosophical literature over the past fifteen years or so, and it is now the established view. There has been very little discussion, however, of whether memory contents are themselves susceptible to an externalist treatment. In this paper, I argue that anyone who is sympathetic to Twin Earth thought experiments for externalism with respect to certain thoughts should endorse externalism with respect to certain memories. /// [Jane (...) Heal] Tye claims that an externalist should say that memory content invoking natural kind concepts floats free of the setting where the memory is laid down and is at later times determined by the context in which the memory is revived. His argument assumes the existence of 'slow switching' of the meaning of natural kind terms when a person is transported from Earth to Twin Earth. But proper understanding of natural kind terms suggests that slow switching (contrary to what is often presupposed) is likely never to be completed. Hence the situation of a person unknowingly transported to Twin Earth is not that his memories switch content but rather that he gets two natural kinds confused. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that the truth of content externalism can be grounded in purely epistemological considerations in which no appeal is made to Twin‐Earth style cases. Content externalism is required to provide an adequate account of perceptual warrant.
For non-analytic ethical naturalists, externalism about moral motivation is an attractive option: it allows naturalists to embrace a Humean theory of motivation while holding that moral properties are real, natural properties. However, Michael Smith has mounted an important objection to this view. Smith observes that virtuous agents must have non-derivative motivation to pursue specific ends that they believe to be morally right; he then argues that this externalist view ascribes to the virtuous agent only a direct de dicto desire (...) to do what is morally right, but not a direct motivation to be kind, help those in need, et. I first clarify this “fetishism objection”; I then show how the non-analytical naturalist can provide an understanding of virtuous motivation that is immune to this objection. (shrink)
Whereas a number of recent articles have focussed upon whether the thesis of content externalism is compatible with a certain sort of knowledge that is gained via first-person authority,1 far less attention has been given to the relationship that this thesis bears to the possession of knowledge in general and, in particular, its relation to internalist and externalist epistemologies. Nevertheless, although very few actual arguments have been presented to this end, there does seem to be a shared suspicion that (...) content externalism must be incompatible with epistemic internalism. In a recent and influential paper, however, James Chase has challenged this conventional wisdom by offering a subtle defence of the view that content externalism and epistemic internalism are, in fact, compatible after all.2 Our aim here is twofold. First, to show that Chase is only able to achieve this result because he focuses upon the internalist conception of justification, rather than knowledge. Second, to formulate one prima facie argument which shows that an internalist conception of knowledge is incompatible with an externalist conception of content, an argument which, moreover, is not touched by Chase. (shrink)
It is widely held that the meaning of certain types of terms, such as natural kind terms, is individuated externalistically, in terms of the individual's external environment. Recently a more radical thesis has emerged, a thesis we dub 'a posteriori semantics.' The suggestion is that not only does a term's meaning depend on the external environment, but so does its semantics. One motivation for this is the aim to account for cases where a putative natural kind term fails to pick (...) out a natural kind: The term may have a standard externalist semantics (if it picks out a natural kind) or a more descriptivist one (if it does not). Knowing which semantics applies will therefore require detailed empirical knowledge. This move has also been employed in cases where a singular term, such as a name, fails to have a reference. We argue that a posteriori semantics is inherently implausible, since the type of semantics common terms should be given ought not to be conditional on details of chemistry or physics. A number of difficulties for the position—'metaphysical,' epistemological, and methodological—are articulated. Finally, we suggest that a posteriori semantics misconstrues the way in which semantics is empirical. (shrink)