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  1. Truth and Objectivity in Conceptual Engineering.Sarah Sawyer - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (9-10):1001-1022.
    Conceptual engineering is to be explained by appeal to the externalist distinction between concepts and conceptions. If concepts are determined by non-conceptual relations to objective properties rather than by associated conceptions (whether individual or communal), then topic preservation through semantic change will be possible. The requisite level of objectivity is guaranteed by the possibility of collective error and does not depend on a stronger level of objectivity, such as mind-independence or independence from linguistic or social practice more generally. This means (...)
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  2. Identity Without Supervenience.John Gibbons - 1993 - Philosophical Studies 70 (1):59-79.
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  3. Is There a Deductive Argument for Semantic Externalism? Reply to Yli-Vakkuri.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):675-681.
    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.
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  4. Boundaries of the Mind: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences - Cognition.Robert A. Wilson - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    Where does the mind begin and end? Most philosophers and cognitive scientists take the view that the mind is bounded by the skull or skin of the individual. Robert Wilson, in this provocative and challenging 2004 book, provides the foundations for the view that the mind extends beyond the boundary of the individual. The approach adopted offers a unique blend of traditional philosophical analysis, cognitive science, and the history of psychology and the human sciences. A forthcoming companion volume Genes and (...)
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  5. Character (Alone) Doesn't Count: Phenomenal Character and Narrow Intentional Content.Preston J. Werner - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (3):261-272.
    Proponents of phenomenal intentionality share a commitment that, for at least some paradigmatically intentional states, phenomenal character constitutively determines narrow intentional content. If this is correct, then any two states with the same phenomenal character will have the same narrow intentional content. Using a twin-earth style case, I argue that two different people can be in intrinsically identical phenomenological states without sharing narrow intentional contents. After describing and defending the case, I conclude by considering a few objections that help to (...)
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  6. Phywa Pa's Argumentative Analogy Between Factive Assessment (Yid Dpyod) and Conceptual Thought (Rtog Pa).Jonathan Stoltz - 2009 - Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 32:369-386.
    This paper delves into one particular topic within this Buddhist theory of cognition. I examine a single argument by Phywa pa Chos kyi seṅ ge (1109–1169) contained within his famous epistemology text, the Tshad ma yid kyi mun sel, drawing out the philosophical implications that this argument has on his theory of cognition and his account of ontological dependence. I make the case that Phywa pa’s argument fails to explain adequately the nature of the relation between certain cognitive episodes and (...)
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  7. Causal Theories of Intentionality.Robert D. Rupert - forthcoming - In Hal Pashler (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications.
    This entry surveys a range of proposed solutions to the problem of intentionality, that is, the problem of explaining how human thoughts can be about, or be directed toward, objects. The family of solutions described here takes the content of a mental representation—what that concept represents or is about—to be a function of causal relations between mental representations and their typically external objects. This emphasis on causal relations should be understood broadly, however, so as to cover theories couched in terms (...)
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  8. Intuition, Externalism, and Direct Reference in Ockham.Susan Brower-Toland - 2007 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 24 (4):317-336.
    In this paper I challenge recent externalist interpretations of Ockham’s theory of intuitive cognition. I begin by distinguishing two distinct theses that defenders of the externalist interpretation typically attribute to Ockham: a ‘direct reference thesis’, according to which intuitive cognitions are states that lack all internal, descriptive content; and a ‘causal thesis’, according to which intuitive states are wholly determined by causal connections they bear to singular objects. I then argue that neither can be plausibly credited to Ockham. In particular, (...)
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  9. Twin-Earth Externalism and Concept Possession.Derek Ball - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):457-472.
    It is widely believed that Twin-Earth-style thought experiments show that the contents of a person's thoughts fail to supervene on her intrinsic properties. Several recent philosophers have made the further claim that Twin-Earth-style thought experiments produce metaphysically necessary conditions for the possession of certain concepts. I argue that the latter view is false, and produce counterexamples to several proposed conditions. My thesis is of particular interest because it undermines some attempts to show that externalism is incompatible with privileged access.
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  10. Individualism, Externalism and Idiolectical Meaning.Robert Eamon Briscoe - 2006 - Synthese 152 (1):95-128.
    Semantic externalism in contemporary philosophy of language typically – and often tacitly – combines two supervenience claims about idiolectical meaning (i.e., meaning in the language system of an individual speaker). The first claim is that the meaning of a word in a speaker’s idiolect may vary without any variation in her intrinsic, physical properties. The second is that the meaning of a word in a speaker’s idiolect may vary without any variation in her understanding of its use. I here show (...)
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  11. Externalism, Physicalism, Statues, and Hunks.Bryan Frances - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (2):199-232.
    Content externalism is the dominant view in the philosophy of mind. Content essentialism, the thesis that thought tokens have their contents essentially, is also popular. And many externalists are supporters of such essentialism. However, endorsing the conjunction of those views either (i) commits one to a counterintuitive view of the underlying physical nature of thought tokens or (ii) commits one to a slightly different but still counterintuitive view of the relation of thought tokens to physical tokens as well as a (...)
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  12. A False Dilemma for Anti-Individualism.Mikkel Gerken - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (4):329-42.
    It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an (...)
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  13. Intuitions and Semantic Theory.Henry Jackman - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (3):363-380.
    While engaged in the analysis of topics such as the nature of knowledge, meaning, or justice, analytic philosophers have traditionally relied extensively on their own intuitions about when the relevant terms can, and can't, be correctly applied. Consequently, if intuitions about possible cases turned out not to be a reliable tool for the proper analysis of philosophically central concepts, then a radical reworking of philosophy's (or at least analytic philosophy's) methodology would seem to be in order. It is thus not (...)
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  14. Temporal Externalism and Epistemic Theories of Vagueness.Henry Jackman - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2):79-94.
    'Epistemic' theories of vagueness notoriously claim that (despite the appearances to the contrary) all of our vague terms have sharp boundaries, it's just that we can't know what they are. Epistemic theories are typically criticized for failing to explain (1) the source of the ignorance postulated, and (2) how our terms could come to have such precise boundaries. Both of these objections will, however, be shown to rest on certain 'presentist' assumptions about the relation between use and meaning, and if (...)
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  15. What Externalists Should Say About Dry Earth.Daniel Z. Korman - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (10):503-520.
    Dry earth seems to its inhabitants (our intrinsic duplicates) just as earth seems to us, that is, it seems to them as though there are rivers and lakes and a clear, odorless liquid flowing from their faucets. But, in fact, this is an illusion; there is no such liquid anywhere on the planet. I address two objections to externalism concerning the nature of the concept that is expressed by the word 'water' in the mouths of the inhabitants of dry earth. (...)
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  16. The Irrelevance of Supervenience.Consuelo Preti - 1998 - ProtoSociology 11:160-172.
    Externalistic theses about the nature of content appear to have untoward consequences for the role of content in folk pscyhological causal explanation. Given the predominance of Twin Earth formulations of externalism, however, the explanatory role problem is often construed as the problem of content's failure to supervene on intrinsic states of the head. In this paper I argue that this is misleading. The most general formulation of externalsim is shown to be independent of any supervenience claims. The result is that (...)
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  17. Mental Representations and Millikan’s Theory of Intentional Content: Does Biology Chase Causality?Robert D. Rupert - 1999 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):113-140.
    In her landmark book, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories (Millikan1984),1 Ruth Garrett Millikan utilizes the idea of a biological function to solve philosophical problems associated with the phenomena of language, thought, and meaning. Language and thought are activities of biological organisms, according to Millikan, and we should treat them as such when trying to answer related philosophical questions. Of special interest is Millikan’s treatment of intentionality. Here Millikan employs the notion of a biological function to explain what it is (...)
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  18. Toward 'Perfect Collections of Properties': Locke on the Constitution of Substantial Sorts.Lionel Shapiro - 1999 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):551-593.
    Locke's claims about the "inadequacy" of substance-ideas can only be understood once it is recognized that the "sort" represented by such an idea is not wholly determined by the idea's descriptive content. The key to his compromise between classificatory conventionalism and essentialism is his injunction to "perfect" the abstract ideas that serve as "nominal essences." This injunction promotes the pursuit of collections of perceptible qualities that approach ever closer to singling out things that possess some shared explanatory-level constitution. It is (...)
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  19. Individualism.Robert A. Wilson - 2002 - In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 256--287.
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Externalism and Mental Causation
  1. Why Broad Content Can’T Influence Behaviour.Cressida Gaukroger - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):3005–3020.
    This article examines one argument in favour of the position that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers over behaviour. This argument states that we establish that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers by considering cases where intrinsic properties remain the same but relational properties vary to see whether, under such circumstances, behaviour would ever vary. The individualist argues that behaviour will not vary with relational properties alone, which means that they (...)
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  2. Brains in a Vat, Subjectivity, and the Causal Theory of Reference.Kirk Ludwig - 1992 - Journal of Philosophical Research 17:313-345.
    This paper evaluates Putnam’s argument in the first chapter of Reason, Truth and History, for the claim that we can know that we are not brains in a vat (of a certain sort). A widespread response to Putnam’s argument has been that if it were successful not only the world but the meanings of our words (and consequently our thoughts) would be beyond the pale of knowledge, because a causal theory of reference is not compatible with our having knowledge of (...)
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  3. Semantic Externalism and the Mechanics of Thought.Carrie Figdor - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):1-24.
    I review a widely accepted argument to the conclusion that the contents of our beliefs, desires and other mental states cannot be causally efficacious in a classical computational model of the mind. I reply that this argument rests essentially on an assumption about the nature of neural structure that we have no good scientific reason to accept. I conclude that computationalism is compatible with wide semantic causal efficacy, and suggest how the computational model might be modified to accommodate this possibility.
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  4. Causal Relevance and Thought Content.Kirk A. Ludwig - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (176):334-353.
    It is natural to think that our ordinary practices in giving explanations for our actions, for what we do, commit us to claiming that content properties are causally relevant to physical events such as the movements of our limbs and bodies, and events which these in turn cause. If you want to know why my body arnbulates across the street, or why my arm went up before I set out, we suppose I have given you an answer when I say (...)
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  5. Against A Priori Arguments for Individualism.Robert A. Wilson - 1993 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1):60-79.
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  6. Individualism, Causal Powers, and Explanation.Robert A. Wilson - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (2):103-39.
    This paper examines a recent, influential argument for individualism in psychology defended by Jerry Fodor and others, what I call the argument from causal powers. I argue that this argument equivocates on the crucial notion of "causal powers", and that this equivocation constitutes a deep problem for arguments of this type. Relational and individualistic taxonomies are incompatible, and it does not seem in general to be possible to factor the former into the latter. The distinction between powers and properties plays (...)
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  7. Superproportionality and Mind-Body Relations.Stephen Yablo - 2001 - Theoria 16 (40):65-75.
    Mental causes are threatened from two directions: from below, since they would appear to be screened off by lower-order, e.g., neural states; and from within, since they would also appear to be screened off by intrinsic, e.g., syntactical states. A principle needed to parry the first threat -causes should be proportional to their effects- appears to leave us open to the second; for why should unneeded extrinsic detail be any less offensive to proportionality than excess microstructure? I say that the (...)
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Narrow Content
  1. Review of Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne's Narrow Content. [REVIEW]Ethan Jerzak - forthcoming - Philosophical Review 130 (3).
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  2. Another Look at Mode Intentionalism.Jonathan Mitchell - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-28.
    A central claim in contemporary philosophy of mind is that the phenomenal character of experience is entirely determined by its content. In this paper, I consider an alternative I call Mode Intentionalism. According to this view, phenomenal character outruns content. It does so because the intentional mode contributes to the phenomenal character of the experience. Here I assess phenomenal contrast arguments in support of this view. I argue that the phenomenal contrast cases appealed to allow for interpretations which do not (...)
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  3. Language and Scientific Explanation: Where Does Semantics Fit In?Eran Asoulin - 2020 - Berlin, Germany: Language Science Press.
    This book discusses the two main construals of the explanatory goals of semantic theories. The first, externalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of a hermeneutic and interpretive explanatory project. The second, internalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of the psychological mechanisms in virtue of which meanings are generated. It is argued that a fruitful scientific explanation is one that aims to uncover the underlying mechanisms in virtue of which the observable phenomena are made possible, and that a scientific (...)
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  4. The Nature of Content: A Critique of Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne.Sarah Sawyer - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In their book, Narrow Content, Juhani Yli-Vakkuri and John Hawthorne attempt to argue against the claim that there is a kind of thought content which is both narrow and theoretically significant. However, their failure to distinguish indexical from non-indexical thought renders their arguments ineffective; a large class of the arguments they present are in fact irrelevant to the question of whether thought content is narrow. The unified treatment of thought content they advocate fails to capture the distinctively mental aspects of (...)
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  5. Consciousness and Meaning: Selected Essays by Brian Loar.Katalin Balog & Stephanie Beardman - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    One of the most important problems of twentieth century analytic philosophy concern the place of the mind – and in particular, of consciousness and intentionality – in a physical universe. Brian Loar’s essays in the philosophy of mind in this volume include his major contributions in this area. His central concern was how to understand consciousness and intentionality from the subjective perspective, and especially, how to understand subjectivity in a physical universe. He was committed to the reality and reliability of (...)
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  6. Semantic Externalism. [REVIEW]Ricardo Miguel & Diogo Santos - 2016 - Disputatio 8 (42):131-137.
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  7. Immediate and Reflective Senses.Angela Mendelovici - 2019 - In Dena Shottenkirk, Manuel Curado & Steven Gouveia (eds.), Perception, Cognition, and Aesthetics. New York: Routledge. pp. 187-209.
    This paper argues that there are two distinct kinds of senses, immediate senses and reflective senses. Immediate senses are what we are immediately aware of when we are in an intentional mental state, while reflective senses are what we understand of an intentional mental state's (putative) referent upon reflection. I suggest an account of immediate and reflective senses that is based on the phenomenal intentionality theory, a theory of intentionality in terms of phenomenal consciousness. My focus is on the immediate (...)
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  8. The Rational Role of Experience.David Bourget - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (5-6):467-493.
    If there is content that we reason on, cognitive content, it is in the head and accessible to reasoning mechanisms. This paper discusses the phenomenal theory of cognitive content, according to which cognitive contents are the contents of phenomenal consciousness. I begin by distinguishing cognitive content from the closely associated notion of narrow content. I then argue, drawing on prior work, that the phenomenal theory can plausibly account for the cognitive contents of many relatively simple mental states. My main focus (...)
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  9. Where After All Are the Meanings? A Defense of Internalism. Searle Versus Putnam.Christian Helmut Wenzel - 2004 - Experience and Analysis. Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium 12:408-409.
    There has been recent dispute between Putnam and Searle over whether meanings are “in the head”. Putnam makes use of Twin-Earth thought experiments to show that our mental states alone cannot determine what we refer to (and thus “mean”) and that we rely also on external factors, which are not “in the head”. This suggests to me that we in some way mean more than we actually know. Searle on the other hand makes use of what he calls “Intentional contents”, (...)
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  10. De Re Thought, Object Identity, and Knowing-Wh*.Ludovic Soutif - 2012 - Analytica (Rio) 16 (1-2):133-164.
    In this paper, I discuss a view of de re thoughts that can be naturally endorsed in the wake of Russell's account. This is the view that a thought is about the very thing (res) rather than a mere characterization of it if and only if it is constitutively tied, if not to the existence, at least to the identity of its object and the thinker knows which/who the object of his/her thought is. Faced with the challenge of accommodating far (...)
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  11. Has Fodor Really Changed His Mind on Narrow Content?Murat Aydede - 1997 - Mind and Language 12 (3-4):422-458.
    In his latest book, The Elm and the Expert (1994), Fodor notoriously rejects the notion of narrow content as superfluous. He envisions a scientific intentional psychology that adverts only to broad content properties in its explanations. I argue that Fodor's change in view is only apparent and that his previous position (1985-1991) is extensionally equivalent to his "new" position (1994). I show that, despite what he says narrow content is for in his (1994), Fodor himself has previously never appealed to (...)
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  12. The Dual Concepts Objection to Content Externalism.Bryan Frances - 2016 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2):123-138.
    Many philosophers have used premises about concepts and rationality to argue that the protagonists in the various Twin Earth thought experiments do not have the concepts that content externalists say they have. This essay argues that this popular internalist argument is flawed in many different ways, and more importantly it cannot be repaired in order to cast doubt on externalism.
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  13. Solving Frege's Puzzle.Richard Heck - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (1-2):132-174.
    So-called 'Frege cases' pose a challenge for anyone who would hope to treat the contents of beliefs (and similar mental states) as Russellian propositions: It is then impossible to explain people's behavior in Frege cases without invoking non-intentional features of their mental states, and doing that seems to undermine the intentionality of psychological explanation. In the present paper, I develop this sort of objection in what seems to me to be its strongest form, but then offer a response to it. (...)
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  14. What is the Narrow Content of Fence (and Other Definitionally and Interpretationally Primitive Concepts)?Eric Mandelbaum - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):138-138.
    It's unclear what narrow content is interpersonally shared for concepts that don't originate from core cognition yet are still definitionally and interpretationally primitive. A primary concern is that for these concepts, one cannot draw a principled distinction between inferences that are content determining and those that aren't. The lack of a principled distinction imperils an account of interpersonally shared concepts.
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  15. Centered Communication.Clas Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):205-223.
    According to an attractive account of belief, our beliefs have centered content. According to an attractive account of communication, we utter sentences to express our beliefs and share them with each other. However, the two accounts are in conflict. In this paper I explore the consequences of holding on to the claim that beliefs have centered content. If we do in fact express the centered content of our beliefs, the content of the belief the hearer acquires cannot in general be (...)
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  16. In Defence of Object-Dependent Thoughts.Sean Crawford - 1998 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (2):201-210.
    The existence of object-dependent thoughts has been doubted on the grounds that reference to such thoughts is unnecessary or 'redundant' in the psychological explanation of intentional action. This paper argues to the contrary that reference to object-dependent thoughts is necessary to the proper psychological explanation of intentional action upon objects. Section I sets out the argument for the alleged explanatory redundancy of object-dependent thoughts; an argument which turns on the coherence of an alternative 'dual-component' model of explanation. Section II rebuts (...)
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  17. Relational Properties, Causal Powers and Psychological Laws.Sean Crawford - 2003 - Acta Analytica 18 (30-31):193-216.
    This paper argues that Twin Earth twins belong to the same psychological natural kind, but that the reason for this is not that the causal powers of mental states supervene on local neural structure. Fodor’s argument for this latter thesis is criticized and found to rest on a confusion between it and the claim that Putnamian and Burgean type relational psychological properties do not affect the causal powers of the mental states that have them. While it is true that Putnamian (...)
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  18. A Philosophically Inexpensive Introduction to Twin-Earth.Bryan Frances - manuscript
    I say that it’s philosophically inexpensive because I think it is more convincing than any other Twin-Earth thought experiment in that it sidesteps many of the standard objections to the usual thought experiments. I also discuss narrow contents and give an analysis of Putnam’s original argument.
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  19. On the Explanatory Deficiencies of Linguistic Content.Bryan Frances - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 93 (1):45-75.
    The Burge-Putnam thought experiments have generated the thesis that beliefs are not fixed by the constitution of the body. However, many philosophers have thought that if this is true then there must be another content-like property. Even if the contents of our attitudes such as the one in ‘believes that aluminum is a light metal’, do not supervene on our physical makeups, nevertheless people who are physical duplicates must be the same when it comes to evaluating their rationality and explaining (...)
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  20. Singular Thought and the Cartesian Theory of Mind.Kirk A. Ludwig - 1996 - Noûs 30 (4):434-460.
    (1) Content properties are nonrelational, that is, having a content property does not entail the existence of any contingent object not identical with the thinker or a part of the thinker.2 (2) We have noninferential knowledge of our conscious thoughts, that is, for any of our..
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  21. Deferential Concepts: A Response to Woodfield.Francois Recanati - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (4):452–464.
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  22. How Narrow is Narrow Content?François Recanati - 1994 - Dialectica 48 (3-4):209-29.
    SummaryIn this paper I discuss two influential views in the philosophy of mind: the two‐component picture draws a distinction between ‘narrow content’ and ‘broad content’, while radical externalism denies that there is such a thing as narrow content. I argue that ‘narrow content’ is ambiguous, and that the two views can be reconciled. Instead of considering that there is only one question and three possible answers corresponding to Cartesian internalism, the two‐component picture, and radical externalism respectively, I show that there (...)
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  23. Intentionality and Phenomenology.Robert A. Wilson - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):413-431.
    This paper is a critique of some ideas about narrow content owing to Horgan and Tienson and Brian Loar.
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Content Internalism and Externalism, Miscellaneous
  1. Triangulating on Thought and Norms.Kirk Ludwig - 2020 - Dialogue 59 (2):175-206.
    This article raises two questions about Robert Myers and Claudine Verheggen's terrific book, Donald Davidson's Triangulation Argument: A Philosophical Inquiry. The first question, concerning the first part of the book, is whether, starting from the assumption that a solitary individual cannot have thought contents, we can show that adding another individual to the picture cannot resolve the problem. The second question, concerning the second part, is whether a more sophisticated, decision-theoretic, Humean about the pro-attitudes can respond to the objections to (...)
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1 — 50 / 74