Where after all are the Meanings? A Defense of Internalism. Searle versus Putnam

Experience and Analysis. Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium 12:408-409 (2004)
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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”, “conditions of satisfaction”, and “self-referentiality”, to show that meanings can be said to be in the head. It seems to me that an internalist account as we find it in Husserl or Searle is closer to what is going on when we mean something.

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Christian Wenzel
National Taiwan University


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