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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See also Segal Social Externalism in Philosophy of Mind. They argue that perception is a kind of skillful activity which essentially involves the deployment of sensorimotor skills in exploring the environment.

He points out that it is plausible to take a particular sunburn as identical to a certain state of the body, even if the very same bodily state could have been caused by something other than exposure to sunlight, and so would not have been a sunburn. ConsciousnessCambridge, MA: For rebuttals and further discussion regarding externalism in theories of visual perception, see SegalDaviesButlerBurbeand Silverberg Externalism and Cognitive Science Even if all mental contents of folk psychology turn out to be wide contents, it does not follow that this is also true of the contents of mental states and representations postulated by psychology and cognitive science.

For further discussion of related issues, see the papers collected in Menary On the other hand, perhaps an externalist might argue that when we speak of innate knowledge we should take such knowledge to supervene upon the interaction between the genome and the normal environment of the organism in question. One might try buurge explain what it is to be a particular kind of mental state e. It is less clear, however, how innateness can be reconciled with externalism, and Pitt argues that they are incompatible.


Individualism and the mental by Tyler Burge

Joshua Habgood-Coote – – Inquiry: Indivjdualism and Cognitive Science 9. In Chomskya distinction is made between E-language and I-language. They are not sufficient to determine which of the skeptic’s theory gives the correct meaning of the term we use.

Enhancing our cognitive abilities with additional hardware might become commonplace with the development of computer technology and increasingly sophisticated brain-computer interfaces. The functional roles so characterized will then include external substances that causally interacts with the subject, such as water in the environment. Consciousness and ExperienceCambridge, MA: Williamson offers a different account of the explanatory role of wide contents.

Burge’s proposal is that privileged self-knowledge has a reflexive, self-referential character.

Externalism About Mental Content

For further discussion, see Mentzl and Segaland Ludlow, and Lassiter B Among those who accept externalism, one important issue concerns the implicit philosophical assumptions that ground the intuitions behind the thought experiments. A similar position, though argued in much greater detail, is taken by Frances If this argument is valid, the same is true of the contents of our thoughts and concepts.

For further discussion, see BurgePeacockeand also the entry on narrow mental content. The content of such an internal state, however, can depend on its relationship with the external environment. What is controversial is whether externalism extends to nental states belonging to psychological types which do not have such a requirement, e.

Individualism and the mental

Responses to the Classic Arguments 4. Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Larson, Richard and Segal, Gabriel, However, it is suggested that intentional mental states also possess a kind of narrow content that does not depend on the environment.

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. 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. Frances Egan – – Mind PsychosemanticsCambridge, MA: For further discussion, see PeacockeJacksonYablo, and the entry on mental causation.


Martin Davies – – Mind For the purpose of discussion, knowledge will not count as a psychological type. In particular, where lies the physical boundary of the subject? Another debate that arises out of externalism concerns the legitimacy of wide contents in causal explanations. However, it might then be argued that in so doing we are in effect extending the physical boundary of that person beyond his brain. See the entry on internalist vs. Some philosophers take the position that the contents of some of our thoughts are determined by their conceptual or computational role, which might not depend on the environment.

Tyler Burge, Individualism and the mental – PhilPapers

Some internalists claim that there are Twin Earth thought experiments that tell againstinstead of in favor of, externalism. The first strategy is to argue that the causal efficacy of a mental state with wide content derives from the causal efficacy of a corresponding internal state.

However, a difficulty with this understanding of the distinction, pointed out by Farkasis that it appears to rule out the possibility of antiphysicalist internalists. Consciousness, Color, and ContentCambridge, Mass.: