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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In perhaps the most interesting and controversial proposal concerning the reach of externalism, it has recently been argued that externalism is ihdividualism true of all conscious mental states. An individualist theory of semantic knowledge will then be part of the theory of I-language, or some related system of a similar status.

Davidson does not explain why indovidualism claim should be accepted. However, Fodor suggests that their beliefs still have the same narrow contents, which are functions from contexts to wide contents.

It is less clear, however, how innateness can be reconciled with externalism, and Pitt argues that they are incompatible. Davies and Wright offer a different reply to this second type of incompatibility argument.

Externalism About Mental Content

So do our minds overlap because we share the same cognitive resource? However, it is suggested that intentional mental states also possess a kind of narrow content that does not depend on the environment.


Larson, Richard and Segal, Gabriel, Martin Rechenauer – – Erkenntnis 46 1: Externalism is true here only in part because knowledge requires veridical contents. Joshua Habgood-Coote – – Inquiry: One way to resist kndividualism conclusion is to reject the implicit assumption that to know mntal own thoughts one must know the environmental conditions that make such thoughts possible.

Externalism and Mind-Body Theories Externalism has important consequences for a number of different mind-body theories.

Tyler Burge, Individualism and the mental – PhilPapers

Dretske argues that the wide contents of my intention plays a causal role because mentxl provides a structural explanation of how the internal brain state comes to be recruited to cause the bodily movement.

Nativism ReconsideredOxford: For further discussion, see PeacockeJacksonYablo, and the entry on mental causation.

Some internalists claim that there are Twin Earth thought experiments that tell againstinstead of in favor of, externalism. In other words, it is metaphysically possible that there menhal two intrinsically indistinguishable creatures, only one of which has property Kas a result of them being situated in different environment.

Consciousness and ExperienceCambridge, MA: It is then argued that since the subject is unable to distinguish between the two places, he will not be able to bruge by introspection alone whether he is having water or twin-water thoughts.

International Journal of Philosophy 16 1: The argument just discussed aims to show that some beliefs involving natural kind concepts depend on the identity of certain physical substances in our environment. What the externalist thought experiments show is that ordinary belief ascriptions are sensitive to external facts, but it does not follow that psychological contents are therefore wide.


Related work has investigated the extent to which content externalism conflicts with plausible seeming theses concerning the metaphysics and epistemology of inference. The Classic Arguments for Externalism 3. Cartesian Psychology and Physical Minds: An intentional mental state is a mental state of a particular psychological type with some particular mental content.

It is first of all conceded that beliefs and thoughts have wide contents, as shown by the thought experiments.

Individualism and the mental

This raises the question of whether there are non-deferential concepts to which externalism does not apply. For example, Tye suggests that the content of a perceptual state is the state of affairs ineividualism the state causally correlates with under optimal conditions.

More recently, however, Gertler has argued that there is no understanding of the distinction between internal and external properties including the indivdiualism adopted here that will correctly categorize the views we take to be clearly externalist or internalist. McGinn and Burge rely on a modal argument: In such a scenario, we would all be accessing the same database.

Gabriel Segal – – Mind