Burge’s anti-individualism. Clarifying the thesis. Individualism is the view that all of an individual’s representational mental kinds are con- stitutively independent. Excerpts from Tyler Burge, ‘Individualism and the mental’, Midwest Studies in concern with the individual subject of mental states and events. Burge () Individualism and the Mental – Download as PDF File .pdf) or read online.

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On such a view, indivvidualism two intrinsically identical individuals are embedded in appropriately different environments, their perceptual states will correlate with different external conditions and so acquire distinct wide contents.

What is controversial is whether mentall extends to mental states belonging to psychological types which do not have such a requirement, e. For the internalist, the innate contents of these systems are prime candidates for narrow content, perhaps narrowly encoded in the genome through the process of evolution.

It also raises other interesting questions concerning such matters as the explanatory relevance of content and the possibility of a bkrge self-knowledge. In its most general formulation, externalism with regard to a property K is a thesis about how K is individuated. Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative.

Such knowledge appears to be a priorior at least privileged, in that it is acquired without relying on empirical evidence or observations. However, it is suggested that intentional mental states also possess a kind of narrow content that does not depend on the environment. It is then argued that since the subject is unable to distinguish between the two places, he will not be able to know by introspection alone whether he is having water or twin-water thoughts.

Token-identity says that each particular mental state token is identical to a physical brain state token. If such theories are correct, swampman might possess some thoughts despite its causal origin, and so some contents might be narrow after all.


However, a thd with this understanding of the distinction, pointed out by Farkasis that it appears to rule out the possibility of antiphysicalist internalists. But Clark argues that this requirement is too strong. If it is found that only Westerners, for example, tend to have externalist intuitions, that could form the basis of a new kind of empirical critique of externalism.

A Reply to Goldberg. So if we have privileged knowledge of our own thoughts, we can infer a priori that one’s individualidm environment contains some natural kind, or there exists apart from oneself a community of speakers.

International Journal of Philosophy 16 1: In such a scenario, we would all be accessing the same database.

However, such arguments for narrow content are mntal, resting on assumptions about causation or scientific methodology which are not widely accepted. Roughly, the argument is that our usage of any linguistic expression must be finite in that the term has only been applied to a finite range of cases. An individualist theory of semantic knowledge will then be part of the theory of I-language, or some related system of a similar status. The issue of the compatibility of externalism and self-knowledge is a central concern for philosophers of mind and the literature on abd topic is now vast.

Individualism and the mental

ConsciousnessCambridge, MA: Social Structure, Narrative and Explanation. Mental CausationOxford: Gabriel Segal – – Mind A similar position, though argued in much greater detail, is taken by Frances For example, it might be argued that some very basic logical notions are indeed non-deferential. Mind, Language, and RealityCambridge: So either externalism is false, ,ental we do not have privileged access to the contents of our thoughts.

The issue concerns the conditions under which representational objects or states are regarded as part of a cognitive system. Narrow contents and contexts are supposed to explain how identical individuals acquire wide contents, and they are supposed to play a central role in psychological explanation. Frances Egan – – Mind Contents of ThoughtUniversity of Arizona Press. For criticisms of this reply, see McLaughlin and Brown But the meaning of a teh prescribes its correct application in infinitely many other novel situations that we have not encountered before.


Externalism About Mental Content (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The mentla duplicates on Earth and Twin Earth can then be in different functional states corresponding to different belief contents. Mental ContentOxford: Among those who accept externalism, one important issue concerns the implicit philosophical assumptions that ground the intuitions behind the thought experiments. However, Fodor suggests that their beliefs still have the same narrow contents, which are functions from contexts to wide contents.

To use a non-mental example, we often say that a mosquito bite causes swelling, even though being a mosquito bite is a relational property.

Individualism and the mental by Tyler Burge

inividualism Tyler Burge – – Philosophical Review 95 January: The content of such an internal state, however, can depend on its relationship with the external environment. Enhancing our cognitive abilities with additional hardware might become commonplace with the development of computer technology and increasingly sophisticated brain-computer interfaces.

Another debate that arises out of externalism concerns the legitimacy of wide contents in causal explanations.

From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science: The Scope of Externalism The evaluation of the classic arguments is still a matter of active debate. Boghossian and Bonjour are important precursors to this discussion. In perhaps the most interesting and controversial proposal concerning the reach of externalism, it has recently been argued that externalism is also true of all conscious mental states.