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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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Clark and Chalmers is a widely-discussed defense of active externalism. So by Leibniz’s law, mental states are distinct from brain states. Crane argues that in Burge’s example, there is no reason for thinking that Jane has different concepts in the two situations, as her dispositions remain exactly the same.

A different approach is to concede that beliefs with wide contents are not functional states.

McGinn and Burgeboth argue that externalism refutes the token-identity theory and hence type-identity theory as well. The Scope of Externalism 5. Externalism and Self-knowledge 7. Consciousness, Color, and ContentCambridge, Mass.: Mental ContentOxford: Similarly, one might argue that mental states with wide contents are causally relevant because it is possible to burhe off some internal component that causes behavior.

Crane thinks that in both situations, Jane lacks the concept of arthritis, but possesses the concept of tharthritis. However, Ludlow takes the slow switching cases a step further by suggesting that they are sometimes actual, not just hypothetical.

Individualism and the mental

Such an individual would be expressing his belief that water quenches thirst, a belief that is true if and only if H 2 O quenches thirst. The Classic Arguments for Externalism The most well-known arguments for externalism typically make use of thought-experiments in which physically individualisj individuals are embedded in different social or physical environments.

See the entry on imdividualism theories of mental content. Reason, Truth and HistoryCambridge: But if the database servers are actually owned by a commercial company, legal considerations might mitigate against the idea that individualiwm servers are part of our bodies or our minds.


Externalism and Cognitive Science 9. What is the boundary of the thinker? For example, believing that it is raining and hoping that it is raining are intentional mental states with the same content but of distinct psychological types.

The grounds for dissent are many and various.

Tyler Burge, Individualism and the mental – PhilPapers

indivdualism See the entry on narrow contentand further discussion below. Sawyer does not take this to imply that externalism combined with self-knowledge is an antidote to skepticism about the external world, though since Putnam there has been interest in the extent to which externalist considerations may be used in arguing against skepticism. Of course, this person did not know that water is H 2 O. Among intentional mental states, a distinction is sometimes drawn between those that are de dicto of the dictum or proposition and those that are de re of the thing.

Individualism and the mental by Tyler Burge

On this line of thought, this shows that Jane has two beliefs with distinct psychological contents that ordinary belief attributions fail to capture. Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive ExtensionOxford: Surely, there will soon be cross-cultural empirical data on externalist intuitions. Many of our mental states such as beliefs and desires are intentional mental states, or mental states with content.

Both argue that, while a subject might be a priori justified in believing that she has a certain thought, and also a priori justified in thinking that the having of that thought depends on the presence of certain substances or communal practice in the environment, this a priori justification does not transmit to belief in the existence of those external substances or practices.

The Scope of Externalism The evaluation of the classic arguments is still a matter of active debate. But according to McLaughlin metnal Tyethis is true only if one also knows that the concept of water is an atomic concept that succeeds in denoting a natural kind.

Instead, in both worlds, Jane has the belief that she has tharthritis in her thigh. It says that whether a creature has K or not depends in part on facts about how the creature is related tne its external environment.


A Reply to Goldberg. McGinnSoames is that the argument makes the assumption that semantic facts about meaning and content are reducible to non-semantic ones, an assumption which many philosophers reject. Dretske argues that the wide contents of my intention plays a causal role because it provides a structural explanation of undividualism the internal brain state comes to be recruited to cause the bodily movement.

Externalism About Mental Content

One way to resist this conclusion is to reject the implicit assumption that to know one’s own thoughts one must know the environmental conditions that make such thoughts possible.

Individualism and the Sciences of the MindCambridge: Shared Modes of Presentation. This is ironic, given that Descartes is often held up as a paradigmatic example of an internalist about mental content. Tyler Burge – – Philosophical Review 95 January: But her intentional mental states could have been different. Most philosophers agree with Davidson that beliefs and desires play an important role in the causal explanation of actions.

However, it might then be argued that in so doing we are in effect extending the physical boundary of that person beyond his brain. In typical formulations of functionalism, the inputs and outputs are usually taken to be objects or states that stop at the body boundary, and do not belong to the external environment.


An individualist theory of semantic knowledge will then be part of the theory of I-language, or some related system of a similar status.