Self-Knowledge and Closure

In Peter Ludlow & Norah Martin (eds.), Externalism and Self-Knowledge. Center for the Study of Language and Inf. pp. 333-349 (1998)
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In this paper I argue in favor of the compatibility of semantic externalism with privileged self-knowledge by showing that an argument for incompatibilism from switching scenarios fails. Given the inclusion theory of self-knowledge, the hypothesis according to which I am having twater thoughts while thinking that I have water thoughts simply isn't a (entertainable) possibility. When I am on Earth thinking earthian concepts, I cannot believe that I am thinking that twater is wet for I don't have the concept of twater available; so this concept cannot figure in any of my mental states. Analogously, when I am on Twin Earth, I cannot mistakenly believe that I am entertaining water thoughts. No matter how often I am switched between Earth and Twin Earth, I will never erroneously think that I am having water thoughts while in fact I am having twater thoughts and vice versa. Privileged self-knowledge is therefore immune to skeptical arguments from switching and twinning scenarios.

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Sven Bernecker
University of Cologne


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