Psychological externalism is the thesis Chat 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)
(Book Epsilon): Macroscopic overview -- E 1 (English translation) -- The role of book epsilon in the Metaphysics -- Pure actuality and primacy in being -- Aristotelian sciences and their starting points (E 1.1025b3-1026a23) -- The universality of being qua being -- (Book Zeta): Microscopic investigation -- Z I (English translation) -- The meanings of ousia -- Essential being (to ti en einai) -- "Essential being" and singular thing -- "Essential being" and form -- Form and universal -- Form and (...) cause of being. (shrink)
My primary goal in this paper is to focus attention on a certain conception of internal access, on the Cartesian conception that a rational subject's capacity to determine sameness and difference in explicit propositional attitudes is independent of knowledge of the external world. This conception of introspection plays a crucial, if unacknowledged, role in numerous arguments and theoretical positions. In particular, it plays a large role in motivating psychological internalism. I argue in favor of rejecting this epistemology and the internalism (...) it supports. (shrink)
There is a growing acceptance of the idea that the explanatory states of folk psychology do not supervene on the physical. Even Fodor (1987) seems to grant as much. He argues, however, that this cannot be true of theoretical psychology. Since theoretical psychology offers causal explanations, its explanatory states must be taxonomized in such a way as to supervene on the physical. I use this concession to invert his argument and cast doubt on the received model of folk psychological explanation (...) as causal explanation by intentionally individuated states. This in turn undermines the central model of cognitive theory--causal explanation by representational states. (shrink)
FIVE 'WAYS' TO PROVE THAT GOD EXISTS ARE OFFERED IN AQUINAS' "SUMMA OF THEOLOGY," ALL TAKEN FROM HISTORICALLY TRACEABLE SOURCES IN WHICH THEY DID NOT REACH THE CONCLUSION ENVISAGED BY HIM. 'WAYS' UP TO ELEVEN IN NUMBER ARE IN FACT USED IN HIS WORKS. ALL FUNCTION IN A STRICTLY METAPHYSICAL--NOT COSMOLOGICAL OR TELEOLOGICAL--FRAMEWORK THAT WAS DEVELOPED EARLY IN HIS CAREER. THE ANSELMIAN AND OTHER ARGUMENTS THAT CANNOT FIT INTO THAT FRAMEWORK ARE REJECTED OR LEFT UNNOTICED, WHILE THOSE THAT DO FIT (...) IN ARE ACCEPTED IN LINE WITH THE CONVENIENCE OF THE MOMENT. ACCORDINGLY THE NUMBER AND ORDER OF THE 'FIVE WAYS' MEAN NO MORE THAN A MOMENTARY CONVENIENCE OF THIS TYPE. (shrink)
Chapter One THE PROBLEM OF BEING IN THE METAPHYSICS TO determine whether the notion of Being in Alexander of Hales is Aristotelian or Platonic, a recent historian seeks his criterion in "the gradual separation of the Aristotelian ...
With its probative force drawn solely from premises accessible to the human mind's own inherent powers, Christian philosophy probes the divinely re- vealed truths under their naturally knowable aspects. From the apologetic or defensive angle, this type of philosophy is needed to meet rational queries- one's own or those of others-arising from religious doctrines, for instance from the tenets of creation, divine providence, immortality of the spiritual soul, or human destiny. On the positive side, Christian philosophy deepens the attraction of (...) revealed doctrines in a way comparable to the enhancement given them by architecture, music, art and poetry in actual Christian life. (shrink)
The externalist examples of Burge, Putnam etc. were offered as examples of how it is physically identical twins can differ in mental states such as belief, and little attention was paid to the interpretations the twins impose on their respective acoustic inputs. The received story today is that this form of interpretation—the semantic reading one assigns the sounds one hears—is the product of inference. The problem for this inferential model is simple to state: though the twins are physical doppelgangers and (...) don't differ in their acoustic inputs, they differ in the interpretations they impose on their respective inputs. I argue that the inferential model does not allow for how it is the twins arrive at these different interpretations. And, since the externalist examples are compelling, this tells against the inferential model. (shrink)