Externalism and Knowledge of Content

Philosophical Review 105 (3):287 (1996)
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Abstract

If the contents of our thoughts are partly determined by facts outside our heads, can we still know those contents directly, without investigating our environment? What if we were surreptitiously switched to Twin-Earth? Would we know the contents of our thoughts under these unusual circumstances? By looking carefully at what determines the content of a second-order thought, a candidate for self-knowledge, the paper argues that we can know the contents of our thoughts directly, even after being switched. Learning about the switch, however, does raise some interesting difficulties.

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