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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Functionalism says that a mental state is defined by its functional role, which includes the relations butge the state bears to inputs, outputs and other mental states. According to Burge, in induvidualism counterfactual situation, Jane lacks the belief that she has arthritis in her thigh, or any other beliefs about arthritis, as no-one in her linguistic community possesses the concept of arthritis.

Among those who accept externalism, one important issue concerns the implicit philosophical assumptions that ground the intuitions behind the thought experiments. However, such arguments for narrow content are controversial, resting on assumptions about causation or scientific methodology which are not widely accepted.

Externalism About Mental Content (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Another popular response to the classic arguments is again to draw a distinction between two kinds of content. See the entry on internalist vs.

This implies that our interactions with the environment become constitutive of perception and that our visual experience essentially extends beyond the brain. See also the entry on externalism and self-knowledge.

However, a difficulty with this understanding of the distinction, pointed out mentap Farkasis that it appears to rule out the possibility of antiphysicalist internalists.

Similarly, one might argue that mental states with wide contents are causally relevant because it is possible to carve off some internal component that causes behavior. Building on a line of thought due originally to BoghossianDavid Sosa argues that content externalism is incompatible with conjunction of the thesis that intrinsic duplicates make the same inferences and the thesis that the logical relations between our thoughts whether one validly follows from another, e.


For example, according to Dretskewhen my intention to drink water causes me to raise my glass, the behavior that is the object of the causal explanation is not a single event, but a complex process where an internal state causes some bodily movement.

Externalism is clearly true of knowledge of the environment, since one can know that it is raining outside only if it is indeed raining outside. For further discussion, see PeacockeJacksonYablo, and the entry on mental causation. It follows that facts about the environment play no role in determining whether or not the creature has property K. She therefore maintains that there is no genuine dispute over the truth of externalism, and recommends that philosophers drop the issue in favor of more well-defined questions.

Fodor himself has changed his mind and has decided that narrow content is probably not needed in cognitive science after all. Consciousness and CognitionOxford: The Classic Arguments for Externalism The most well-known arguments for externalism typically make use of thought-experiments in which physically identical individuals are embedded in different social or physical environments.

But see Stalnaker and Francesboth of whom argue that psychological contents so understood might still be individuaoism. Externalism and Mental Causation 8. According to this line of argument, if social or natural kind externalism is correct, having thoughts with wide contents depends on the presence of certain substances or communal practice in the environment.

Contents of ThoughtUniversity of Arizona Press. Even if content externalism is not a bar to privileged self-knowledge generally speaking, as of course many content externalists maintain, there bure be specific kinds of self-knowledge for example, comparative knowledge of sameness of content of the kind discussed above in connection with slow-switching that pose problems for forms of epistemic internalism.

Individualism and the mental

Of course, this person did not know that water is H 2 O. Stop Talking About Fake News!

Individualism and the Sciences of the Mind. On the other hand, if a user owns a database server and has exclusive access, we might then be more inclined to say that the server is part of his extended mind. For further discussion, see Larson and Segaland Ludlow, and Lassiter Externalism and Mind-Body Theories 6. For further discussion, see BurgePeacockeand also the entry on narrow mental bkrge. Academic Tools How to cite this entry.


Chomsky and His CriticsOxford: Though externalism may be incompatible with these internalist forms of physicalism, this should not be taken to imply that externalism is itself an antiphysicalist doctrine, for one might hold that although mental contents do not supervene on narrow physical properties, they do supervene on wide physical properties.

It is then argued that since the subject is unable inddividualism distinguish between the two places, he will not be able to know by introspection alone whether he is having water or twin-water thoughts. This raises the question of whether there are non-deferential concepts to which externalism does not apply. The notebook has now become a spatially scattered part of his extended self.

Some philosophers reject the use of thought experiments in determining whether content is wide or kental. To give a trivial example, externalism is true of mosquito bites since having them requires having been bitten by a mosquito.

Call this version of externalism natural kind externalism.

Tyler Burge, Individualism and the mental – PhilPapers

Williamson offers a different account of the explanatory role of wide contents. Whereas believing that it is raining and believing that it is sunny are states with distinct contents but of the same psychological type.

This goes to show that there are no intrinsic facts that determine the meaning we associate with the term. PsychosemanticsCambridge, MA: