Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

The classic thought experiments for Content Externalism have been motivated by consideration of intentional states with a mind-to-world direction of fit. In this paper, I argue that when these experiments are run on intentional states with a world-to-mind direction of fit, the thought experiments actually support Content Internalism. Because of this, I argue that the classic thought experiments alone cannot properly motivate Content Externalism. I do not show that Content Externalism is false in this paper, just that it cannot be motivated by the classic thought experiments alone. I discuss various externalist responses to the argument I raise and show that they all fail.

Content Externalism holds that the content of intentional states is not determined solely by the intrinsic or non-relational properties of the subjects who have those states. In short, intentional content fails to be completely determined by the ways a subject is independent of the environment in which he or she is embedded. Some philosophers are convinced of the truth of this doctrine because of the classic externalist thought experiments, such as Tyler Burge’s arthritis case and the Twin Earth thought experiment.


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