1 INTENTIONALITY AND SELF KNOWLEDGE By CASEY WOODLING A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Casey Woodling
3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Professor John Biro for shepherding this project to completion. Without his philosophical guidance and support, this project would likely not have been completed. I also tha nk the members of my diss ertation committee, Professors Robert Charles Gattone and Gene Witmer, for their helpful comm ents and insightful suggestions on the content of this work I thank my former fellow graduate students and my professors at the University of Florida for creating a stimulating and challenging intellectual environment in the de partment. I would be remiss not to thank Virginia Dampier, Program Assistant in the Philosophy Department, for the crucial and kind assistance she pro vided at key points in this project. I would also like to thank my entire family for all their support during my time in graduate school. Last, I must thank m y wife, Emily who was a constant so urce of inspiration and joy to me during this project.
4 TABL E OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 3 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 9 A Sketch of the Problem ................................ ................................ ........................... 9 Aspects of the Cartesian Theory of Mind Worth Preserving ................................ ... 10 Why the Debate has seemed Intractable ................................ ................................ 14 The Basic Progr am of the Essay ................................ ................................ ............ 20 2 SELF KNOWLEDGE OF INTENTIONAL CONTENT ................................ .............. 26 Notions of Self Knowledge ................................ ................................ ...................... 27 The Transparency of Intentional Content ................................ ......................... 27 The Asymmetry of Access ................................ ................................ ................ 29 The Transparency Condition ................................ ................................ ............ 31 First Person Access to Intentional Content ................................ ...................... 38 First Person Authority ................................ ................................ ....................... 42 How these Notions are Related ................................ ................................ ........ 46 Clarifying the Picture ................................ ................................ ............................... 47 A Transcendental Argument about Justification ................................ ............... 51 Engagement and rationality ................................ ................................ ....... 54 Why rational agents must be viewed as having justified second order beliefs about first order intentional states ................................ ............... 58 Why speakers must be viewed as rational agents by interpreters if there is successful communication. ................................ ................................ 60 A Transcendental Argument about First Person Access ................................ .. 62 Explaining Se lf Knowledge ................................ ................................ ..................... 65 3 EXTERNALISMS ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 68 Thinking about Twin Earth ................................ ................................ ...................... 68 Thinking about Arthritis ................................ ................................ ........................... 69 Understanding why the Arguments have been so Popular ................................ ..... 72 Natural Kind Externalism ................................ ................................ .................. 73 Social Externalism ................................ ................................ ............................ 82 How many Externalisms? ................................ ................................ ....................... 85 Singular Thought Externalism ................................ ................................ .......... 85 Transcendental Externalism ................................ ................................ ............. 87
5 4 QUESTIONS OF COMPATIBILITY ................................ ................................ ........ 91 The Incompatibility of Soci al Externalism and First Person Access to Intentional Content ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 91 The Incompatibility of all forms of Content Externalism and First Person Access to Intentional Content ................................ ................................ .......................... 97 An Argument for the Compatibility of Transcendental Externalism and First Person Access to Intentional Content ................................ ................................ 101 Addressing the Larger Debate ................................ ................................ .............. 102 Boghossian's Incompatibilist Argument ................................ .......................... 102 ................................ ..................... 104 ................ 107 Other Incompatibilist Arguments ................................ ................................ ........... 113 Phenomenal Properties and Privileged, First Person Access to Intentional Content ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 113 Content Externalism and A Priori Access to the External World ..................... 114 Internalism and Externalism about Justification ................................ .............. 115 5 RETHINKING CONTENT EXTERNALISM ................................ ........................... 119 Rethinking Social Externalism ................................ ................................ .............. 119 The Limits of the Disqu otation Principle ................................ ......................... 120 Rethinking Natural Kind Externalism ................................ ................................ .... 127 ................................ ................................ ....................... 128 ................................ ................................ .......................... 130 Taking stock ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 134 Rethinking Singular Thought Externalism ................................ ............................. 136 Arguments for Singular Thoughts being Individuated Externalistically ........... 137 From de re concepts to content externalism ................................ ............ 138 From neo Ru ssellian singular thoughts to content externalism ................ 142 De re and de dicto ascriptions ................................ ................................ .. 147 Are there Singular Thoughts? ................................ ................................ ......... 149 Diagnosing the Arguments ................................ ................................ .................... 150 Content Externalism, Semantic Externalism ................................ ......................... 152 6 LIVING WITH CONTENT INTERNALISM ................................ ............................. 155 Objections to Content Internalism ................................ ................................ ......... 156 The Need for a Private Language to Describe Thoughts ............................... 156 Paving the Route to Skepticism about the External World? ........................... 161 Content internalism and skepticism about the external world .................. 162 Content externalism and our knowledge of the external world ................. 165 What about Physicalism? ................................ ................................ ...................... 167 Approaches to Internaliastic (Narrow) Content ................................ ..................... 171 Phenome nal Intentionality ................................ ................................ .............. 171 Why might intentional contents depend on phenomenal properties? ....... 174
6 How should we understand unconscious intentional states and phenomenal consciousness? ................................ ................................ 178 Are there any sound arguments for the connection principle? ................. 180 Intentionality and Aspectual Shape ................................ ................................ 184 Aspectual shape tha t does not depend on phenomenal properties ......... 186 Concluding Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................. 189 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 193 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 200
7 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy I N T ENTIONALITY AND SELF KNOWLEDGE By Casey Woodling December 2011 Chair: John Biro Major: Philosophy This e ssay concerns an important intersection of the philosophy of mind and epistemology: the connection between intentionality and self In thi s essay, we will be concerned with the ability of minds to represent the world. The concept of self knowledge is more familiar than the concept of intentionality; before any philosophy, we are all acquainted with the idea that we know our own m inds in a wa y that others cannot. I do not have to hear what I say, read my words observe my behavior, and make inferences based on that evidence to know what I think, although I must do these things to know what you think. Each of us knows what we think in a way tha t others do not. This essay is concerned with finding a theory of intentionality that is compatible with self knowledge. The theories of intentionality we will consider concern the degree to which the content of our intentional states depends on environmen tal factors. One theory, content externalism, says that the content of our intentional states depends on the environment in an important way. The other theory, content internalism, says that
8 the content of our intentional states does not depend on the envi ronment in an important way. In this essay I show that we have good reason to believe that content externalism is incompatible with a key aspect of self knowledge: our ability to access our intentional contents in a first person way. I also show that the arguments taken to support content externalism are no t as strong as some have thought Thus, we should adopt content internalism, because it is the only view of intentional content consistent with self knowledge and becaus e there are no good arguments that properly support of content externalism. What may have appeared to be a genuine philosophical puzzle understanding how content externalism and self knowledge are compatible dis solves when we see that there are no good reason s to adopt content externalism.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION A Sketch of the P roblem The debate over the compat ibility of content externalism and self k nowledge has been around for at least 20 yea rs. Content externalism began to gain acceptance with two papers that Tyler Burge published in the late seventies and early eighties 982). Not long afte r papers began surfacing addressing the compatibility of content e xternalism and self knowledge 1 The debate has been live ly ever since The general worry has been that content externalism is incompatible with self knowledge. It is not hard to see how these theses co uld seem to be incompatible. If, as the content externalist says, the content of our thoughts is shaped in a significant way by the environment, then there ma y be instances in whic h we must investigate aspects of the external environment to know what we think. Investigating the external environment in order to know our own min ds seems contrary to the common sense idea of self knowledge: the idea that eac h of us knows our own mind be st and in a way that no one else can. If I have to investigate the external environ ment to know what I think, I do not seem to know my mind in a way that you cannot; our ways of access ing my mind appear to be the same As e quitable as this may be, it is in clear conflict with our common sense idea of self knowledge. So, t here seems to be a problem. The popular view of content externalism, which is supported by seemingly powerful philosophical arguments (such as those using Earth thought experiment and the work of Tyler Burge), s eems to be incompatible with a 1 For examples see: (Davidson 1987), (Burge 1988) and (Boghossian 1989).
10 concept that plays a significant role in how we think of ourselves and our place in the world. So far we have seen nothing strong enough to show us that we h ave a true philosophic al puzzle; p utative incompatibilities have turned out to be illusory. Many have found the arguments for content externalism convincing, and are not inclined to reject the view merely because it appears to be incompatible with se lf knowledge. Maybe we simpl y need to revise of our common sense understanding of self knowledge Or better yet it may be possible to show that our common sense concept of self knowledge and content externalism are actually compat ible, thus requiring no revision in our common sense concept of self knowledge Either such maneuver is a form of c ompatibilism. Incompatibi lism, then, is the view that the doctrines are in compatible. Someone may argue that content externalism forces us to reject the common se nse idea of self knowledge, just as someone may argue that we must reject content externalism because it conflicts with self knowledge Either sort of incompatibi lism can seem to give som ething up. Either we reject a common sense concept that plays a found ational role in how we think of ourselves in relation to others and the external world or reject a doctrine that is supported by powerful philosophical arguments. Aspects of the Cartesian Theory of Mind Worth Preserving Sometimes i ncompatibi lists who acce pt content externalism argue that living without our common sense conception of self knowledge requires releasing ourselves from the grip of a false picture of the mind, a picture that has been with us since at least Descartes. This view of the mind famous ly came under attack in Gilbert The Concept of Mind and since then has been seen by many to be a barrier to philosophical
11 progress knowledge that is part of fficial theory of the mind as Ryle sees it. What sort of knowledge can be secured of the workin gs of a mind? On the one side, on has direct knowledge of the best imaginable kind of the workings of his own mind. M ental states and processes are (or are normally) conscious states and processes, and the consciousness which irradiates them can engender no illusions and leaves the door present thinkings, feelings and willings, his perceiving s, r ememberings and imaginings nd their nature are inevitably betrayed to their owner. The inner life is a stream of consciousness of such a s ort that it would be absurd to suggest that the mind whose life i s t hat stream might be unaware of what is passing down it 2 In cont rast to this, Ryle notes that according to the official Cartesian doctrine our access to the minds of others is quite the opposite of the direct and unmediated access described above in su ch glowing terms. On the other side, one person has no direct access of any s ort to the events of the inner life of another. He cannot do better than make problemati c inferences from the observed states of m ind w hich, by analogy from his own conduct, he supposes to be signalised by that behavior. Direct access to the workings of a mind is the privilege of that mind itself; in default of such privileged access, the workings of one mind are inevitably occult to ever yone else. 3 Descartes view, according to Ryle, seems to be that the perfect self knowledge we have of our own minds is not to be had when it comes to our knowledge of the minds of others. Worse, it seems that on the Cartesian picture we not only lack perf ect knowledge of other minds, but their intentional content s seem to be in principle opaque to us. 2 (Ryle 1984), pages 13 14. 3 (Ryle 1984), page 14.
12 Ryle is surely right to critique such a view of self knowledge and other knowledge. As for self knowledge, there are no doubt instances in which someone is mistaken about the intentional content of his own thoughts Also, we should not limit the domain of the mental to merely what is occurrently conscious to a subject. I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida even when I am not consciously entertaining the belief ; i ntentional states such as beliefs are conscious. As for other knowledge, our access to the minds of others may not be direct, but it is certainly another step to say that the intentional c ontents of the minds of others are occult to everyone but their owners. There is no mystery in how we gain knowledge of the mind s of others We mark their words, listen to their speech, and observe their behavior. With enough information and some communi ca tion, we very frequently come to know t he intentional contents of the se minds Such knowledge seems to be a necessary condition on communication. We should follow Ryle when it comes to correcting for Cartesian excesses. However, there is some truth in the official Cartesian doctrine that is worth preserving. W e should adopt the idea of t he directness of self knowledge The key point here about directness is that we do not know the contents of our minds on the basis of any inference or evidence. In addition to self knowledge, this essay concerns intentionality, so we shall focus on the intentional contents of minds, the contents of intentional states and events such as beliefs, desires, wishes, hope s, fears and the like. With regard to intentionality, a nothe r piece of the Cartesian picture worth preserving is Desca content internalism. Descartes's view of the in depe ndence of intentional content from the external envir onment comes across clearly in hi s Meditations Descartes asks the
13 reader to imagine a scenario in which the nature of the world external to the thinker is radically different from what the thinker takes it to be. The scenario is one in which an individual is being d eceived by an evil demon who is fabricating the thoughts of the thinker so a s to give the appearance of mind independent reality being as the thinker has always t aken it to be, while in fact mind independent reality is much different. Clearly, su ch a scenario requires th states can remain the same even if the external envir onment undergoes radical change I f content externalism is true, th en the situation is incoherent, because according to content externalism, the environment would have to be a certain way for the thoughts to be the way they a re. Content externalism forecloses the possibility of having certain thoughts if the environment is not a certain way. To believe that water is vital for human life, for example, the content externalist hold s that there must actually be water in the believ er's environment. An evil demon could not fabricate the thought that water is vital to human life if the thinker was not actually related to water. In sum, c ontent i nternalism and direct self knowledge are featu res of the Cartesian picture we must preserv e in order to avoid revising our conception of self knowledge or so I shall argue in this essay I should add substance d ualism factors into my overall project and it definitely does not need to be adopted for any of the forthcoming conclusions to go through; nor do we need to make any other metaphysical assu mptions about what sorts of entities minds are I intend for the major conclusions of this essay to be amenable to both physicalists and non physicalists because of th eir lack of atten dant metaphysical commitments 4 4 Regarding arguing against content externalism from a Cartesian framework, Katalin Farkas takes a similar, though much more developed, line in her recent book,
14 Why the Debate has seemed I ntractable It sh ould surprise no one experienced in philosophy that the debate about the compatibility of content externalism and self knowledge was not settled shortly after it began. There has been no shortage of papers on the question of the compatibility of self knowledge and content externalism. The anthologies on the subject give a good indication of the perceived importance of this question. Externalism and Self K nowledge (1998) and Knowing our own Minds (1998) were followed by New Essays on Semantic Externalism and Self Knowledge (2003). More recently, there has been The Externalist Challenge (2004) and Internalism and Externalism in Semantics and Epistemology (2007), in addition to many monographs and articles on the subject N o philosophical consensus about the compatibility of these two theses emerges from this material The debate has seemed to be intractable because of differing ideas of what is at stake about what is incompatible with what The use of a priori knowledge as a proxy for self knowledge by some philosophers and not others provides a particularly clear example of the differing ideas at stake in this debate. Michael McKinsey is one philosopher who has appeal ed to a priori knowledge in his characterization of what he calls "privileged access to content." Here is his definition of privileged access to intentional content. Privileged access to content (PAC) Necessarily, for any person x if x is thinking that p then x can in principle know a priori that he himself or she herself is thinking that p 5 View wherein she defends a Cartesian picture of the mind and uses it to argue against content externalism. 5 (McKinsey 2003), page 97.
15 McKinsey thinking without perceptual observation or empirical investigation and without having to make any empirical assumptions 6 McKinsey is of course not the only philoso pher to have defined self knowledge in terms of a priori knowledge (see the Boghoss ian quote at the top of Page 17 of this essay ) I t hink we sh ould be wary of such definition s, for they attempt to reduce (or equate) a type of knowledge we already have a good intuitive grasp on (self knowledge) to a type of knowledge on which we have less of a grasp ( a priori knowledge) Farkas (2008 b ) has argued, following Nucce telli (1999), that we do not know our own minds by way of a priori knowledge She writes, A priori knowledge (that is, the kind of knowledge we have of logic, maths, and conceptual truths) is traditionally regarded as knowledge attained by the use of reason alone, and this description does not seem to apply to knowl edge of our mental states (cf. Nuccetelli 1999) When I register that I feel a slight pain in my knee the faculty I am using is different from the one used in establishing the co rrectness of modus ponens One difference between introspection and a priori knowledge is precisely that introspection provides special access to its subject matter, while a priori does not. 7 I agree with Farkas on this point. The asymmetry of access is the key distinction between self knowledge and other knowledge ; o ne seems to have self knowledge of those intentio nal contents to which one has a type of access that is lacked by all other individuals Introducing a priori knowledge into the mix merely obscures what is most important In addition to differing opinions on whether self knowledge is a form of a priori knowledge, differing epistemic phenomena have been set out as putatively incompat ible with content externalism. "F irst 6 (McKinsey 2003), page 97. 7 (Farkas 2008b), page 25.
16 knowledge have all been said to be incompatible with content externalism. We cannot make progress on this debate until we first get a clear understanding of what p henomena these names pick out, and second get a clear idea of how these phenomena are related. It is only after we see how the epistemic notions of self knowledge are connected that we will be in a position to assess whether self knowledge is compatible or incompatible with content externalism. Testing the compatibility of content externalism against just one of the above notions in isolation from th e others is not enough. 8 Because it will hopefully be helpful to get a rough idea of what I mean by "self knowledge" and its attendant notions, I shall now sketch the picture of self knowledge I lay out in more detail in Chapter 2 In the picture I defe nd, the connection between self knowledge and rationality factors prominently. In my view, it is not possible to fully understand self knowledge until one sees it s connection to rationality. In this essay, I argue that rational agents like us must have dir ect access to the intentional contents of their minds, access that cannot be mediated by internal or external factors. Another way to put the point of immediate access to intentional content is to draw on the notion of intentional content being transparent to a thinker. Paul Boghossian uses the idea of points out that the transparency of mental content is presupposed by our conception of rationality. In this paper, he articu lates the thesis of the transparency of mental content as follows. 8 Donald Davidson, for example, makes this mistake of testing the compatibility of content externalism with just one of the notions of self knowledge, first person authority (see (Davidson 1987)).
17 The thesis of the epistemic transparency of content may be usefully broken content, then the thinker must be able to know a priori that they do; and (b) thinker must be able to know a priori that they do. Call the first the thesis of the transparency of sameness and the second the thesis of the t ransparency of difference 9 Having just pointed out that it is best not to cast self knowledge as a priori knowledge, the point obviously need s refashioning transparent to a thinker just in case knowledge of that content does not require factors 10 We can understand transparency without understanding it in terms of a priori know ledge of intentional contents; w e should un derstand it as direct access to content that is not mediated by other factors. Having granted the transparency o f intentional content or direct and unmediated access to intentional content that each of us has to our own intentional content, the next ste p is to note that the way others access our intentional content is quite different. There is a difference in how an agent accesses his intentional content and how others access that content. The distinction can be stated as a distinction between first pers on access and third person access. First mediated by knowledge of some other external or internal factor; the access is direct and unmediated. Third mediat ed by some other factor and thereby not direct. I cannot access your thoughts 9 (Boghossian 2008), page 162. 10 (Boghossian 2008), page 15 9.
18 without observational data or contextual information. I use this information to make inferences to the nature of your intentional content. Related to the epistemic notions of t he transparency of intentional content and first person access is another notion that is central to an understanding of self knowledge: first person authority. We will see that understanding first person authority requires first understanding not only the asymmetry of access to content seen in the difference in first person and third person access, but also understanding how this asymmetry plays out in the context of communicatio n. It is important to see that the concept of first person authority only has a pplication in the context of communication. Understanding the connection between first person a ccess to intentional content and first person authority, and how these notions are related to rationality will help us to see how the various notions of self kn owledge are related. In short, w e would not be rational if our intentional contents were not transparent to us. Furthermore, it is hard to see how our reports of our intentional contents could have authority over others reports of those contents if we did not bear some epistemic advantage over others when it comes to our own intentional contents; in other words, first person access to intentional content helps explain why our reports of our own intentional states have the first person authority they do. Ac cess and authority are distinct but closely related notions. W ithout such authority and transparency, it is impossible to conceptualize ourselves as rational agents. A lack of clarity about self knowledge is not the only source of the debate's difficulty. Just as p hilosophers have understood self knowledge differently so have understandings of content externalism Externalism and Brie Gertler goes so far as to argue that there is in fact so
19 much ambiguity in the use of the terms "internalism" and "externalism" that, for clarity's sake, these labels should be abandoned all together While this seems to o rash to me, it is not hard to see how one could be driven to such a view; there are many different articulations of externalism. (Indeed, as we wi ll see, there are genuinely different types of externalism.) It does not help matters that the debate has been put variously as one between notions of wide content and narrow content, between individualism and anti individualism, and between content externalism and content internalism. At points, one finds philosophers talking as if the real issue is whether or not th oughts are literally in the hea d, no doubt an offshoot of As we wi ll see, the debate is not properly understood as being about the spatial location of thoughts, but about the logical dependence of though ts on the environmen t. I shall understa nd internalism and externalism about intentional content as these s about whether or not thoughts supervene on ways an individual is independent of his external environment. 11 I articulate the theses using the notions o f intrinsic and extrinsic properties. T h e properties of an individual that are what they are independent intrinsic properties. example is an intrinsic t depends on the environment one is in. My mass is the same on Earth and the Moon, though my respective weights in these two environments differ. Weight, therefore, is an extr insic property of an individual: it is a way an individual is that is not independent of the 11 Supervenience is a logical notion having to do with a set of properties depending on another. If Xs depend on Ys, then Xs supervene on Ys. Here is a simple example: facts about who wins a soccer match supervene on facts about the number of goals score d by each side. Sometimes talk of supervenience is accompanied by talk of reduction (as in debates about the metaphysics of mind). Content externalism and internalism, however, are not theses that involve talk of reducing one type of entity or fact to anot her type of entity or fact.
2 0 external environment. So in terms of whether or not intentional content depends on the external environment, t he content internalist says that thoughts are like ma ss, whereas the con tent externalist says they are like weight. In sum, part of the reason that t he debate has seemed to be intractable is because of the many theses in circulation Once we are clear about what is at stake, we can see that content external ism is incom patible with the first person access each of us has to only our own intentional content. Once we see this incompatibility, we can see that content externalism is incompatible with the phenomena that depend on such first person access: first per son authority and rationality. The Basic Program of the E ssay In this essay I defend i ncompatibi li sm. In Chapter 2, I offer a picture of self knowledge and its attendant epistemic notions, showing their interrelations and showing that we must have first p erson access to our intentional contents if we are rational Having just sketched t his picture I will move on to the other chapters. In Chapter 3, I outline variou s forms of externalism about mental phenomena. There are many things one can be externalist about: intentional content ( content e xternalism ), the background conditions necessary for thought ( t ranscendental e xternalism ), phenomenal properties ( phenomenal e xternalism), and linguistic meaning ( semantic e xternalism). In Chapter 3, I sketch arguments for content externalism and transcendental externalism as these fo rms of externalism are most important to our inquiry. Arguments for content e xternalism have been motivated, respectively, by reflecting on Twin Earth, by looking at the semantic propertie s of the ascriptions of
21 intentional content attributions, 12 and by reflecting on the nature of si ngular thoughts ( thoughts which are uniquely about an object ) Many philosophers have come to accept content e xternalism on the basis of some or all of these ar guments. I do my best to articulate why these arguments have become so widely accepted. In Chapter 4, I give my argument for i ncompatibi lism I argue that content e xternalism the view that the contents of intentional states are not merely a function of the intrinsic properties of their owners, is incompatible with first person a ccess to intentional c ontent Because first person access to intentional content is required for ra tionality content e xternalism is not the right view of the intentional content of ra tional agents such as ourselves. We need not reject all types of externalism, though. For example, f irst person access to i ntention al c ontent is compatible with transcendental e xternalism. Because transcendental externalism is compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent, w e do not need to follow Descartes in thinking that an isolated thinker with intentionality is a true possibility. 13 Indeed, if tra nscendental e xternalism is true, a n isolated thinker like the individual in Descartes's evil demon scenario is not possible given the background conditions necessary for thought. I also note that first person access to intentional content is compatible wit h semantic externalism, the view 12 Throughout this essay, I follow Burge in understanding an ascription to be the linguistic device that attributes intentional content to a thinker. The attribution is the act of attributing the content. He introduces this usef attributing an attitude, content, or notion and of ascribing a that clause or other piece of 13 Of course, even in the scenario with the evil demon fabricating the individual's thoughts, the individual is not isolated due to the evil demon's presence.
22 Even though some forms of e xt ernalism are compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent, some may still feel compelled to be externalists about intentional content based on the perceived strength of the arguments for t his view. I have no doubt that s omeone of a thorough going externalist bent may be uneasy about giving up content e xternalism after reading Chapter 4 The goal of Chapter 5 th en, is to ease such a conce rn, by showing that the arguments for content e xternalism are not as strong as some have thought. In Chapter 6 I discuss common objections to content i nternalism. These objections spring from three main ty pes of concerns: linguistic, epistemic and metaphysical One general linguistic concern is that adopting content i nternalism requires adopting semantic i nternalism the view that linguistic meaning is a function of Speaker meaning the meaning that a speaker intends to convey by his use of a linguistic expression may indeed be a function of an in d assuming that intentions supervene on intrinsic properties ) ; l inguistic meaning, however, i s what linguistic expre ssions mean independent of any We have good reason to reject semantic i nternalism, for it is a thesis that reduces linguistic meaning to speaker meaning. Some have thought that a content internalist must adopt seman tic internalism because the description of narrow intentional states re quires a special language, one whose Su ch a private language is hard if not impossible to conceptualize We do not nee d to worry however, about developing or trying to conceptualize a special language for describing narrow intentional states. Content i nternalism is perfectly compatible with semantic
23 e xternalism. There are tho se, though, who have taken content externalism and semantic externalism to be synonymous and thus do not think of content externalism and semantic externalism as distinct doctrines. 14 We shoul d be wary of such a conflation, because these views concern dif ferent subject matter s Content i nternalism is a thesis about intentionality, and semantic e xternalism is a thesis about linguistic meaning. 15 Whatever view one takes of the relationship between intentionality and linguistic meaning, it is surely undeniable that the y are different phenomena. Even though there is much to be said of their relationship that is of great p hilosophical importance we should not lose sight of the fact that these theses concern different subject matters. Commonplace examples make this point. We are all familiar with times when we self ascribe an intentional state to ourselves and misspeak in doing so. Suppose that I enter a discussion on the relative personality characte ristics of a family. And suppose that I find such interpersonal compariso ns distasteful. If i n the course of trying to show my disapproval of such interpersonal comparisons, I ay that can nevertheless reveal the content of my though t that comparisons are odious even if th at content is mischaracterized by the lingu i stic (or semantic) content of the expression ("comparisons are odorous") initially 14 i Such a definition leaves no room to distinguish between semantic externalism and content externalism 15 More specifically, content internalism is a thesis about the degree to which intentional content depends on the external environment.
24 used to make the thought public. Such instances should be ke p t in mind, for they show that there is a need for a distinction between intentional content and semantic content. It is a simple point, but one that is sometimes easily forgotten. In addition to these linguistic worries, I address some epistemic worries abo ut content i nternalism One epistemic worry is that the content internalist cannot respond properly to skepticism about the external world. I discuss this worry and note that the content internalist has plenty of resources available to answer the skeptic. Furthermore, content externalism seems faced with its own set of epistemic worri es One such worry is t he main focus of the essay: its incompatibility with first person access to intentional content and hence rationality. The other is that content e xterna lism seems to license the conclusion that we have a priori access to the external world. 16 I conclude that the epistemic worries about content i nternalism should not concern us when seen in light of the seriou s epistemic concerns raised by content e xternalism. In Chapter 6 I also address metaphysical concerns about adopting content internalism. Given the widespread interest in the metaphysics of mind, I rather briefly address how physicalism relates to content i nternalism and content e xternalism I note that there appear to be some forms of physicalism that are incompatible with content e xternalism, though there are others that appear compatible. Content i nternalism hold s that a thin are responsible for his intentional content s In Chapter 6, I survey some candidate intrinsic properties on wh ich intentional content might depend I t seems to me that much more work ne eds to done here by philosophers to help us understand how intentional content could depend 16 See (Boghossian 1998) and (McKinsey 1991).
25 on intrinsic pr operties There has been renewed interest in the connection between phenomenology and intentionality If phenomenal properties are intrinsic, they may be a candidate property on which intentional content supervenes. I discuss this possible superveni ence re lation as well as the possibility that intentional content supervenes on intrinsic properties of brains. Though I do not ultimately endorse any of the candidate properties, I offer some reasons to be skeptical of the idea that all intentional content super venes of phenomenal properties.
26 CHAPTER 2 SELF KNOWLEDGE OF INTENTI ONAL CONTENT In this chapter and the rest of the essay, the focus shall be on knowledge of and access to the content s of intentional states, or as they are sometimes called, the con tent s of propositional attitudes B elieving, desiring, wishing, hoping, intending and remembering are all examples of intentional states (or propositional attitudes) that have content. That Tallahassee is the capital of Florida is the content of my belief that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. I will often refer to these contents s I do not discuss our knowledge of other mental phenomena, such as sensations. We may indeed have spe cial access to our own sensations or know them in a wa y that others cannot, but t hat is a topic for another time. The overall goal of this chapter is twofold. The first goal is to sketch the logical relations between various notions of self knowledge of i ntentional content : the transparency of intentional content, the asymmetry of access to intentional content, first person access to intentional content and first person authority with regard to intentional content I take the most fundamental notion the t ransparency of intentional content, and explain the other notions in relation to it. From the transparency of intentio nal content and the fact that a subject's access to his intentional content is different from the access of all others first person acces s to intentional content follows. The asymmetry of epistemic access expressed by the thesis of first person access to intentional content is mirrored by an asymmetry in authority regarding intentional contents in the context of communication At the end of the chapter I suggest that seeing how all of these notions are related forms part of an explanation of self knowledge. I do not pretend that all the
27 features of the picture of self knowledge on offer are very novel. In fact, not all should be; we should a ll have some vague idea about self knowledge and related concepts before any philosophy Notions of Self Knowledge The Transparency of Intentional Content I briefly discussed the idea of intentional content being transparent to its owner in Chapter 1, and suggested that this talk of intentional content being transparent captures the fact that one accesses one's thoughts directly, unmediated by evidence or in ference. Because of its various ordinary language connotations, t he use of the term "transparency" is supposed to make vivid this direct and u nmediated access We talk of objects being transparent and opaque in order to capture whether or not the object ca n be seen through Many prefer transparent ocea n water to the opaque version, for s uch water allows objects in it to be seen clearly. We talk of someone being transparent in his dealings, and in doing so convey the idea that he is not withholding important informat ion or trying to dissemble but rather being open and honest. These related se nses of "transparency" both convey the idea of direct access. When wading in transparent ocean water, we appear to directly perceive the objects underneath the water's su rfa ce. In our dealings with someone who is being transparent, we do not have to spend time puzzling over what he is really up to, wonder ing about h is true motivation, or worry ing how to interpret what he says in light of some suspect motivations he may har bor; rather, we take his words at face value, and more directly access the content of the information he intends to convey. These ordinary language sense s of "transparency" do not fully captu re what we are after when we talk about the transparency of con tent to a thinker. After all, it is not
28 as if we see our thoughts, even in some metaphorical sense of seeing them with our mind' s e ye And it is not the case that our thoughts are transparent to us because they are not withholding information from us, as i n the case of someone who is be ing transparent, for this suggest s that our thoughts have a life of their ow n, as it were, and that they can deal with us in a transparent or opaque fashion. To get closer to a philosophical understanding of transparency, l et us revisit Boghossian's articulation of the notion of the transparency of intentional content. The thesis of the epistemic transparency of content may be usefully broken content, then the thinker must be able to know a priori that they do; and (b) thinker must be able to know a priori that they do. Call the first the thesis of the transparency of sameness and the second the thesis of the transparency of difference 1 We noted that there are good reasons to not use the notion of a priori knowledge as a proxy for notions of self knowledge, so we need to translate Boghossian's articulation into different terms. I suggested in the introduction that we understand transparency in terms of access that is not dependent on knowledge of external factors. With this idea, t he thesis of the transparency of intentional content can be thusly understood The thesis of the t ra nsparency of intentional c ontent : Each think er access es the content of his intentional states directly and without the benefit of evidence. From this basic thesis we can extrapolate the theses of the transparency of sameness and the transparency of difference that Boghossian mentions. We can understand the transparency of sameness as follows. If two token thoughts of a thinker have the same co ntent, then the thinker must know so immediately and without the benefit of external factors. And we can understand the transparency of difference as follows. If two token 1 (Boghossian 2008), page 162.
29 thoughts of a thinker have different content, then the thinker must know so immediat ely and without the benefit of external factors. I should note that my own articulation i s different from Boghossian's in an important way: it builds immediacy into the definition of transparency. I do not think that Boghossian would object to this, base d on concerns he expresses in o ther places about know ing our thoughts on the basis of some type of internal evidence. 2 In Boghossian's articulation above, there is room for understanding self knowledge in a way that employs a robust notion of introspection wherein each of us knows the content of our thoughts based on evidence internal to the min d There should be no worry about building immediacy into our definition. We shall hear more about this in the section called "Th e Transparency Condition," but I sh all try to make an intuitive case for it at present. While we have surely all experience moments of introspection where we try to decide what we believe or how we are to act in a particular situation, we arrive at decisions to questions about what to belie ve and how to act on the basis of immediate access to the contents of other intentional states. It is not as if we grasp the content of intentional states based on some type of mental evidence that is internal to our minds. As evocative as talk of the mind 's eye perceive its objects is, there is certainly nothing based on the phenomenology of accessing intentional content that lends support to the idea that this content is accessed by way of some type of internal evidence. The Asymmetry of Access We do not have direct access to the minds of others. The contents of the minds of others are accessible by us, of course, but they are not transparent to us. We need to 2 See (Boghossian 2008), pages 143 145.
30 use evidence and make inferences to know the minds of others. We do not need to do this in our o wn case. Based on these facts, we can infer that there is an asymmetry of access to intentional content, which the following thesis is intended to capture. The thesis of a symmetry o f access to intentional c ontent : One has a type of So far this says nothing about whether or not this access is privileged and should not be controversial. Even so, n ot everyone agrees that the access is asymm etrica l. Gilbert Ryle, for one, argues that access to intentional content is symmetrical. If Ryle is right, I know my own mind in the way I know the minds of others: by considering behavior al evidence and knowledge of other relevant contextual factors. It is easy to see how this w it could be true. If we grant the truth of the thesis of asymmetry of access to intentional content, then we can ask what is different about these two sorts of access. It need not follow that one is privileged and the other not. Byrne acknowledges this when he draws a distinction between privileged and peculiar access. Two features of self knowledge make it of particular inte rest. The first is that, by states one has privileged access use to come to know about the mental states of others one has peculiar access sen se that neither entails the other. But they are connected: the kind of peculiar access that we enjoy presumably explains why we have privileged access. A satisfying theory of self knowledge w ill illuminate this connection. 3 3 (Byrne 2011), page 202.
31 It seems to me that the reason t hat first person access to intentional content is peculiar is that each individual has a unique relationship to his own mental states. The uniqueness of the relationship is grounded in the fact that a ccessing them does not require any evidence. Each person is presented with the content of his intentional states in a direct and immediate way ; each person's contents are transparent to him However, third person access always requires evidence an d is thereby indirect and not im mediate. Lack of evidence, then, may be what makes pec uliar access privileged access. because it does no t require evidence and inference. Ordinarily, the person with more evidence is in the privileged epistemi c position. This is not the case, however, for self knowledge, and there is no paradox here if we reject the assumption that all domains of knowledge are domains that require evidence. We have very good reason to reject this assumption in the case of self knowledge. To know the intentional contents of your mind, I must first use evidence and then make an inference using that evidence. To know the contents of my own mind, I typically do not need to do any of these things. Is this difference in the need for e vidence what makes one's access to one's intentional contents privileged? Before we answer this question, we should discuss what has been called the transparency condition; the discussion will help us see why self knowledge is not a domain that requires ev idence. Also, understanding this condition helps us to see why peculiar access is privileged access. The Transparency Condition In discussin g the transparency condition in Authority and Estrangement Richard Moran quotes Roy Edgley.
32 M y own present thinkin g, in contrast to the thinking of o thers, is transparent in the sense that I cannot distinguish the questi a question in which there is no essential reference to myself or my belief, namely of course mean that the correct answers to these two questions must be the same; only I c annot distinguish them, for in that P the case t 4 Moran also quotes a famous passage from Gareth Evans. I n making a self ascription of belief, one's eyes ar e, so to speak, or occasionally literally, directed outward upon the world. If someone asks me "Do you think there is going to be a third world war?," I must attend, in answering him, to precisely the same outward phenomena as I would attend to if I were answering the question "Will there be a third world war?" 5 Moran thinks that these writers are tracking a notion of transparency that "con cerns a claim about how a set of questions is to be answered, what sorts of reasons are to be t aken as relevant 6 The relevant claim, for Moran, is "that a first person present tense question about one's beliefs is answered by reference to (or considerati on of) the same reasons that would justify an answer to the corresponding question about the wor ld." 7 Questions about our beliefs are transparent to the reasons or evidence that we turn to in order to justify our beliefs about the external world and no t ev idence that we introspect. One way to understand this talk of transparency is in terms of questions a subject can ask himself about the content of his intentional st ates. When someone asks himself "Do I believe p?" it is equivalent to asking himself "Is p true?" in the sense that the once the subject has determined whether p is true, he has answered the qu estion of whether 4 (Edgley 1969), page 90. 5 (Evans 1982), page 225. 6 (Moran 2001), page 62. 7 (Moran 2001), page 62.
33 he believes p This should really be no surprise since to believe p is to hold p true. Deciding whether one believes p and whether p is true is making a decision about the same thing. What seems interesting about the transparency condition as understood by Moran, is not the claim that the question about whether one believes p is equivalent to the question of whether one holds p true, for we already know that the questions about what one believes and what one holds true are synonymous due t o the very meaning of transparency condition must be understood in terms of the evidence that a subject uses to answer questions about his belief that p and about whether p i s true. This is what Moran presumably has in mind when he notes, "that a first person present tense question about one's beliefs is answered by reference to (or consideration of) the same reasons that would justify an answer to the corresponding question a bout the world When one is asked whether one believes that there will be a third world war, one does not turn inward to some internal evidence. Rather, one turns to the evidence that one would use to answer the question of whether there will be a third w orld war. To a subject, the question "Do you believe that there will be a third world war?" is transparent to the question "Will there be a third world war?" in the sense that all the relevant evidence for answering the latter is all the evidence one has f or answering the former. This alone should show us that theories of introspection that have a subject relying on internal data to know his thoughts are mistaken. Moran's view is set against views that construe introspection as a perception like faculty whe reby the mind's eye examines its contents in a fashion similar to the way the body's eyes perceive the external world. The
34 transparency condition states that no such internal data is needed to know one's intentional contents. Whether one believes p is answ ered by the evidence and reasons for p itself and not some other evidence that only the thinker has access to. So, Moran sugge stion is that we understand the transparency condition as one about evidence (or reasons) given for different questions. Moran th inks that the same his seems true for certain propositions, for example, propo sitions that concern the external world, such as the proposition that there will be a third world war. Howev er, is the transparency condition, as Moran understands it, true of second order intentional states, intentional states about other intentional states? As Moran has articulated it, the transparency condition appears not to be true of second order intent ional states and the first order intentional states they are of ( even if it appears true of first order intentional states and the facts about the world the first order states are of ) The reason for this was given in the section on asymmetry of access: we do not use evidence to come to know the contents of our intentional states. If it were true that the evidence and reasons I use to arrive at my first order belief that there will be a third world war are the same as the evidence and reasons I use to arriv e at my second order belief that I believe that I believe that there wil l be a third world war, then my second order beliefs would depend on evidence. 8 However, when we imagine the order beliefs, the re asons that support the first order belief are not the likely reasons. Indeed, there do not appear to 8 This point can be made about previously held beliefs in addition to beliefs one arrives at. The evidence or reasons used to arri ve at a belief become the evidence and reasons a subject typically uses to support that belief.
35 be any reasons we can cite to support our first order beliefs. Consider the following dialogue to better see the point A: Do you believe that there will be a third world war ? B: Yes, I do. A: Why do you believe that? B: Well, it seems that many countries in the Middle East and North Africa are experiencing transitions of power from autocratic regimes to undetermined forms of government. There is a good chance for great instability in the region. With a lack of such stability, it seems that there is a good chance for a third world war. A: believe tha t you believe that there will be a third world war? B: I guess so. I know that I believe that there will be a third world war. A: Yes, but do you believe that you believe there will be a third world war? B: A: Why do you believe that you believe there will be a third world war? B: Not sure what to tell you, other than what I have already said about why I believe there will be a third world war. Even though artificial, the dialogue shows that we are not in a position to give evidence or reasons for our second order beliefs. The reason for this is that there is no such evidence. 9 The best one can do, in a conversational context, when asked for evidence 9 Burge makes a nice point that the warrant for our second order beliefs differs from justification as it is typically understood. Of our second order beliefs a bout first order intentional states, he writes, An individual's epistemic warrant may consist in justification that the individual has a belief or other epistemic act or state. But it may also be an entitlement that consists in a status of operating in an appropriate way in accord with norms of reason, even when these norms cannot be articulated by the individual who has that status. We have an entitlement to certain perceptual beliefs or to certain logical inferences even though we may lack reasons or justifications for them. The entitlement could in principle presumably though often only with extreme philosophical difficulty be articulated by
36 econd order beliefs is to cite the evidence and reasons for the first order belief that is the object of the second order belief. It is important to see that order beliefs, though. Citing the support for the first order beliefs is m erely the best one can provide pragmatically order belief, but we should be clear that this justification does not support the second order beliefs. If we unde a question about one's beliefs is answered by reference to (or consideration of) the same reasons that would justify an answer to the corresponding question about the world then the tra nspar ency condition does not hold between second order intentional states and the first order intentional states they are about. There are of course other possible articulations of the transparency condition. Even if the evidence and rea sons for the first level belief cannot be thought to count as evidence and reasons for the second level belief, there is still something interesting about the relationship between the questions that can be asked about the first order and second order inten tional states. I think we can extend the transparency condition, properly understood, to first order and second order questions. Baron Reed offers an articulation that can serve this purpose. Let us say that one question, A is transparent to another, B when the answer to B determines the answer to A In a derivative way, the judgment that constitutes the answer to A is transparent to th e judgment that constitutes the answer to B In the case of self knowledge, then, the someone. But this articulation need not be part of the repertoire of the individual that has the entitlem ent. (Burge 1996), pages 241 242. This quote clearly endorses the idea that the warrant for self knowledge need not be something to which the subject has access.
37 transparency condition is met wh en the answer to the question whether to believe that p is determined by the answer to the question whether p 10 This articulation does not require that the evidence or reasons given by the subject to support his first order intentional states also support his second order states It therefore gives us a way to understand an important feature of questions intentional states that is not limited in the way that Moran's articulation of the transparency condition is. Second you believe that you order questions (e.g., first order question determines the answer to the s econd order question. The first order and second order questions do not violate the transparency condition so understood because there is no additional evidence that one uses to move from belief that p to belief that one believes that p. One does not make a conscious inference here. In this sense of transparency, then, we can say that first order and second order questions, corresponding to first order and second order intentional states, are transparent in the sense that the answer to the first order quest ion determines the answer to the second order question. The transparency condition, then, is something that can hold between both questions about second order intentional states and first order intentional states and questions about first order intentional states and corresponding facts about the world. The condition holds in so far as questions of a given level about the content of the states or the facts themselves are answered by questions of another level. This transparency of questions (at least of first order and second order questions) is related to another type of transparency that we mentioned earlier, the 10 (Reed 2010), page 169.
38 transparent to one in the sense that they do not depend on any evidence. The reason that there is a transparency between questions, for example, the reason that the answer to first order questions determines the answer to second order questions, is that there is no independent evidence required to answer the second o rder question. The intentional addition to whether p need ed to determine whether one believes p, and there is no evidence in addition to whether one believes p to deter mine whether one believes that one believes p. First Person Access to Intentional Content In "Transparency, Belief, Intention," Alex Byrne offers an account of self knowledge, which he peculiar and privileged access. Seeing why his account fails will help us understand the proper role the transparency condition play s in understanding privileged access. Using the work of Andre Gallois, Byr ne explains that following the doxastic schema is a reliab le guide to self knowledge. The doxastic schema has the following form. p _____________ I believe that p believe that p "the transparency inference." The idea is that one does not need to inspect anything internal to know what one believes. Rather, in the fashion capture d by comes to know what one believes. Byrne rehearses some worries about the strength of this inference, and ultimately concludes that the inference is strongly self verifying. That it is strongly self
39 verifying explains privileged access. Byrne is surely right that n o one other than the will be a third world war. From this he can infer, using the doxastic schema, that he believes that there will be a third world war. It is clear that I cannot perform similar inference about his beliefs. I cannot note the fact that there will be a third world war and then infer that because there will be a third world war, Byrne believes ther e will be a third world war. No one else but the subject can make the inference; hence the subject is in a privileged position. Pecul iar access is explained because the method expressed by the doxastic 11 Byrne notes that the transparency inference is an inference from world to mind. It should strike us as odd that we must first know something about the world to know something about our minds. Surely there are question s such as the question of whether or not there will be a third world war that we do not alr eady have an answer to, but require decision on our part However, for man y beliefs, it seems odd to say that our knowledge of them rests on an inference from a fact about the external world. Consider my belief that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. It certainly seems false to say that I infer my having this belief from the fact that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. It seems that my knowledge of this belief does not rest on any inference at all. about transparency is best expressed by f ocusing on questions being transparent to each other in the sense described earlier. It is not that I infer that I believe that p from p; 11 (Byrne 2011), page 207.
40 in reflecting on the question of whether or not I believe p, there is nothing other than the truth of p that I need to decide. If I have already made up my mind, then reflecting on the truth or falsity of p is all I need to reflect on. Reflecting on it, either deciding what I believe or recalling my belief, is not to infer it from a fact about the world. This problem with Instead of thinking of the subject as making an inference from P to I believe P, he can think of the subject as taking a different sort of step, from believing P to refle ctively judging (i.e. consciously thinking to himself): I believe P. The step, in other words, will not be an inferential transition between contents, but a coming to explicit acknowledgement of a condition of which one is already tacitly aware. 12 idea is in line with the understanding of the transparency condition for which I have been advocating. Reflecting on the questions about first order and second order intentional states shows us that answering questions about first order states is answering questions about second order states. The point of transparency is that there is nothing epistemic mediating a subject's knowledge of his first order states. If one can co nclude that once a subject reflects on p, where p is a proposition about the world, this reflection is all that is needed to know that the subject both believes p and believes that he believes p. All these ascending states are had for free, as it were, bec ause the questi ons that can be asked about the states related to p meet the transparency condition. Contrary to Byrne, then, our access to the contents of our own minds is privileged not because we are in a p osition to make an inference no one else can make, 12 (Boyle 2011), page 227.
41 but because we do not need to ma ke an inference that everyone else must make Each person is in a position to access non inferentially and without the benefit of evidence what others can only access on the ba sis of inference and evidence. What the transparency condition shows us is that reflecting on whether p gives a subject immediate access to whether he believes p, just as reflecting on whether he believes that p gives him immediate access to the question of whether he believes that he believes t hat p. Consider questions we can ask about whether I believe that there will be a third world war. (a) Will there be a third world war? (b) Do I believe that there will be a third world war? (c) Does Casey believe that there will be a third world war? When I want to know the answer to (b) all I need to do is answer (a). When someone else wants to know the answer to (c), he must do more than answer (a). His questions about the content of my intentional states are not transparent to questions such as (a). To answer ( c) he must use evidence and make inferences. Reflecting on the transparency condition puts us in a position to state the thesis of first person access to intentional content The thesis of f irst p erson a ccess to i ntentional c ontent : Each subject has first person access to his own thoughts because each subject accesses his contents non inferentially and without the benefit of evi dence, whereas others access those contents by way of inference The motivatio n for this thesis begins with recognition of th e truth of the thesis of the transparency of intentional content and the truth of the thesis of asymmetry of access to i ntent ional c ontent t can seem that our intentional contents are known on the basis of inference due to the fact that reflecting on p is all that is needed
42 to determine that one believes p. However, it is a mistake to think that we infer the contents of our beliefs from facts about the world. We ty pically go about our affairs in a first order mode When we have caus e for reflection, as we do now, we see that there is nothing more that we need to decide other than p to know whether or not we believe p, whether p is filled in by a fact about the world or a fact about our minds. Once we see this, we can see that we ha ve first person access to our intentional contents, for we access them non inferentially and without evidence, whereas others cannot likewise access them First Person Authority The idea of first person access is closely tied to idea of f irst person autho rity, so much so that t hese respective terms are sometimes used interchangeably. One can see why this is so. If our access to our own intentional content were of a privileged first person sort, then it would seem to follow that we are in a position of aut hority with regard to this content. But what does this notion of first person authority really come to? What does i t add to the foregoing theses of self knowledge ? To proper ly situate the concept of first person a uthority alongside the se notions we must examine how the idea of authority functions in an epistemic context We will see that the concept of first person authority has application only in the context of communication. We are all quite familiar with the idea of someone be ing an expert or authori ty on a given domain. Jeffrey Sachs, for example, is an authority on international development. He has contributed to the scholarly debate and possesses a great deal of theoretical and practical knowledge about many aspects of international development. Im agine that he were on a panel with lay people concerning intern ational development When asked to explain the fundamental struggles that developing nations face, we
43 would look to Professor Sachs for the authoritative answer. Someone on the panel might have read his books and be quite familiar with his work, but his knowledge of the international development car ry a certain authority. When he states that governance is poor in Africa because Africa is materially poor, then the assertion carries something with it, as opposed to when that same assertion is made by someone who is not an expert on the subject matter. What is this something? What does an assertion of an expert have that a non to say that an assertions ha ve a sense of authority that a non Additionally, the lay panelists would naturally defer to Pr ofessor Sachs's on questions concerning the subject matter of international development. It is not that he could not be wrong, but when the subject matter is international development he is assumed to know the answer given his mastery of the subject matter This authority of utterances and assumption of authority appear to be two features seen in our authority over our own minds. In our everyday practices we often assume that others are authorities about what they think, about the intentional contents of their minds. Because of this assumption, we defer to them when the subject matter is what they think. In addition to this assumption of authority it also seems that one's assertions about what one thinks carry a sense of authority that the related asserti ons of others lack I think that both of these ideas are relevant to our conception of first person authority. Each person is assumed to be an authority on his own mind, and assertions that each person makes
44 about his own mind are taken as authoritative. T hese idea s of first person authority have thoughts and feelings, then I do think that there are many cases in which we logically are obliged to give him the last word. Even if we allow it to be possible for others to become aware of his thoughts and feelings in the way he does, their knowledge of them will be subordinate to his. The accuracy of their reports will be checked by his, and where there is disagreement his sense that there is any single way in which, of necessity, they are detectable by oneself alone, they may st ill be private in yet another sense. One may be the final authority concerning their existence and their character. 13 According to my terminology, Ayer says that even if we w ere to give up on first p erson access to intentional c ontent, we need not reject first person authority. Ayer actually calls the thesis above a version of privileged access, though he appears to be talking about first person authority and not privileged access. Ayer suggests that we are logically obliged to take the question we might ask here in trying to get a clearer idea of this thesis is: What does the logic of statements th at make up such first these statements that a person makes about himself is such that if others were to contradict him we should not be entitled to say that they were right so long as he honestly main tained his st 14 Ayer is saying not that it would be a logical contradiction to side with the interpreter in this matter, but that it would be a conceptual confusion to do so. We naturally d efer to the first person, of course, but the 13 (Ayer 1963), p age 68. 14 (Ayer 1963), page 73).
45 point is deeper: i t would be a conceptual error to take the third person as authoritative I n The Significance of Consciousness Charles Siewert offers what he calls the of about first person authority assertible using a first person singular pronoun to attribu te some experience (or attitude) to oneself that differs from the t ype of warrant had (ordinarily, at least) for any beliefs or claims, whose assertion would constitute the attribution of some experience or attitude only to so meone other than the speaker. 15 One way to understand talk of warrant for some belief or other is as authority over or about that belief. It is clear from the quote that, i the first person has a special sort of warrant for beliefs or claims about his own experiences or attitudes. person is in a position of authority with rega rd to his own mind. He writes, I n psychoanalytic practice, recovery of authority over an attitude is often considered the only solid evidence that the attitude was there before bein g noninferentially appreciated b y its holder 16 as a check in deciding on the nature of his or her attitudes. The notion of first person authority that emerges more centrally in Davidso nature of interpretation. 15 (Siewert 1998), page 6. 16 (Davidson 2001), page 7.
46 There is a presumption an unavoidable presumption built into the nature of interpretation that the sp eaker usually knows what he means. So, there is a presum ption that if he knows that he holds a sentence tru e, he knows what he believes 17 All three of these thinkers are tracking similar ideas. Ayer and Davidson are focused on how someone else must see the speaker's authority over his intentional contents, while Siewert focuses on the type of authority that one's own reports of one's intentional states carry. If these thinkers are right, we must not only assume that subject's know what they think, but we mu st also grant that their first person reports of their intentional contents have a special authority. Let the following two theses capture these various aspects of first person aut hority. The thesis of the presumption of first person authority : O ne is assumed to be an authority about the co contents The thesis of the authoritativeness of first person reports : O reports about one's intentional contents are authoritative. Having laid out the various notions of s elf knowledge, w e are now in a position to see how these notions of self knowledge are related. How these Notions are Related Here are the five theses that capture the epistemic notions related to self knowledg e: The thesis of the transparency of i ntent ional c ontent : Each thinker accesses the content of his intentional states directly and without the benefit of evidence. The thesis of the a symmetry of access to intentional content : One has a type of access to the t is not had by others. 17 (Davidson 2001), page 14.
47 The thesis of f irst person access to intentional content : Each subject has first person access to his own thoughts because each subject accesses his contents non inferentially and without the be nefit of evidence, whereas others ac cess tho se contents by way of inference. The thesis of the p resumption of first person authority : One is assumed to be an authority about The thesis of the a uthoritativeness of first person reports : about one's own i ntentional contents are authoritative. Although their connection wil l be discussed again l ater in this chapter, it is worth briefly sketching how these notions are related. The thesis of the transparency of intentional c ontent is the most basic notion. From that and the fact that there is an asymmetry of access to intentional content, we can infer the thesis of first person access to intentional content. Seeing this package of notions in the context of communication allow s us to more easily see the truth of the presumption of first person authority and authoritativeness of first person reports. Clarifying the Picture While we have made some progress in understanding the differen t notions of self knowledge, more needs to be said. After all, I have not even given a simple example of self knowledge based on the tripartite conception of knowledge. We shall see that when we think of self knowle dge as true, justified belief some puzzling aspects emerge. The main puzzle may alread y be evident: if self knowledge does not require evidence, then one wonder s what justifie s self knowledge If knowledge is true, justified belief, then it seems that to have knowledge of my intentional content that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida fo r example, the following necessary and sufficient conditions must be meet. (a) I believe that I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida (b) It is true that I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida
48 (c) I am justified in believi ng that I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida Can all these conditions been met? Bas ed on what was said in the previous section it appears that there is no straightforward answer to the question of why I am justified in believing that I b elieve p. After all, we saw that I typically do not appeal to any evidence. What sort of story would I tell about why I believe that I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida ? As we noted in discussion of the transparency condition, if asked for the reasons we hold our se cond order intentional states, we are at a loss to provide justification for them and can pragmatically do no better than to cite reasons that support the first order intentional states the second order states are of. On the face of it, we appear to be at a loss to say wherein the justification for our second order intentional states lies. Are our second order beliefs ever justified? Are we forced to say that we know our first order states by having true beliefs about them? Paul Boghossian discusses this on the basis of inference and thereby must know them on the basis of nothing empirical. Bo ghossian goes on to poin t out that if this is true, ther e are three possible types of justification for direct non empirical knowledge of contingent propositions. The warrant for such judgments derives from other sources: from the meanings of the concepts involved, or from the satisfaction of general conditi ons, or from the judgment dependent character of the phenomenon being judged. Whatever the source no observation, or inference based on observational premises, is required or relevant These judgments, when known, constitute knowledge that is based on not hing empirical. In my terms, they are not cognitive achievements and are subject, therefore, to an insubstantial epist emology. 18 18 (Boghossian 2008), page 153.
49 From which of these sources does our justification for self knowledge come? One of the types of warrant mentioned by Boghos sian clearly will not work: the method based on the meaning of concepts. We are perhaps justified in believing that all bachelors are unmarried men not because of empirical investigation, but because of the con tent of the concepts involved in the propositi on believed. One test for whether justification derives from such analyticity is whether the sentence that expresses the self knowledge? The sentence that expresses the proposition believed is : I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida this sentence expresses a truth come by analyzing the content of the concepts be no tautology on the horizon. Therefo re, it appears that if we do no t know our thoughts on the basis of empirical evidence, then our justification for our beliefs about our first order intentional states does not lie in a priori reasoning about the conceptual constituents of the propositions we believe when have beliefs about our first order warrant for self from the judgment dependent judgment dependent character of the problem with this picture, though.
50 We do not need to form second order beliefs for each particular first order intentional office, we do not have much cause to reflect on whether we believe that we have such and such first order intentional states. I may, no doubt, question why I believe that Mad a gascar wonder about the basic source of my fear of riding i n elevators; and ask myself why I hope that Obama will be reelected. All of this involves taking a reflective position with regard to my first order intentional states; however, the very process of this refle ction assumes that the first order states are wh at I take them to be. Furthermore, I would still have these first order states even whe n I do not make judg ments about them. I believe that Madagascar dgment that Madagascar knowledge (at least his view Surely our view of self knowledge will cover both occurrent and standing intentional states. The only option, then, appears to be that if our beliefs about our intentional states are justified, then they are justified by way of the satisfaction of general conditions. If this were true, it would explain why there is no justificatory story that is typically forthcoming from the first nothing on which he is basing his belief that he believes what he believes. What justifies us in believing what we believe will come by way of the satisfa ction of general conditions. The questions we must ask, then, take on a Kantian spirit.
51 What are the general conditions that need to be satisfied such that the satisfaction of those conditions guarantees that subjects have justified beliefs about their fir st order intentional states? What is it about the satisfaction of these general conditions that makes beliefs order intentional states justified beliefs? A Transcendental Argument about Justification What is it about the s atisfaction of these general conditions that makes beliefs that order intentional states justified beliefs? Of this sort of not by evidence, but by the satisfaction of certain very general conditions on experience. The thinker counts as knowing something thanks not to the possession of any evidence on his part, but simply courtesy of those general facts 19 Boghossian calls this type of knowled ge insubstantial. that the world contains substances is cognitively insubstantial A thinker could not fail to be justified in believing that the world contains substances; t he world having substances is a n ecessary condition on the very existence of agents with experiences and beliefs. From the fact that an agent experiences and believes anything, it is secured that there are substances. He is justified, th en, not for reasons of his own, but because he canno t fail to be justified. Might the justification of self knowledge be like this? Because self knowledge does not depend on evidence or inference, we have good reason to suspect that the justification of self knowledge m ust be of a transcendental sort When we think about the relationship between rationality, communication and self knowledge, we see that certain conditions are required for certain phenomena. Here is a sketch of the argument that shall concern us. The first premise is that if we are to be 19 (Boghossian 2008), page 152.
52 viewed as rational agents, we must be viewed as having justified second order beliefs. The second premise is that we must be viewed as rational agents if there is successful communication. The third premise is merely the claim that there is successful communication. From the second and third premise, we can conclude that we must be viewed as rational agents. From this conclusion, and the nature of how others must view u s if we are to count as rational, it follows that our second order beliefs are justified in virtue of how others mus t view us in a community of rational agents. This argument appeals to the notion of the necessity of a rational agent being viewed in a certain way. A na tural question to ask here is: v iewed by whom? The above sketch does not state who must view the ratio nal agent in this way. It could be others in that agent 's community or it could be us philosophers thinking about the structure of justification in a community of rational agents. There are two viewpoints from which we can ask questions about how we must v iew agents, about what assumptions must be made about them in the context of communication. In the previous sketch it is unclear which of these viewpoints I have in mind. I think that seeing things from both viewpoints is important, but it is the viewpoint of the theorist, the sort of viewpoint we take up now, that the argument must be run. I shall try to say why that is. If we ignore the viewpoint of the theorist and focus just on the viewpoint of those in a rational community, we run into o ne main probl knowledge depends on being viewed by others as having those very features, then it appears that when one is not communicating with others, one may lose one's rationality and self knowledge. Of course, these features o f a subject should not at all depend on whether someone is actually interpreting that subject or not. It is obvious that a subject
53 can be rational and have self knowledge even when he is not communicating with others. Though we cannot run the argument f rom the viewpoint of the interpreter, taking up that viewpoint shows us that these are ways he must view the speaker if communication is to go off. He must view the speaker both as having justified second order beliefs and as rational. Taking up this viewp oint of the interpreter is the easiest way for us to see how justification for self knowledge arises from facts about communication. The next step is to take up the viewpoint of the the orist and see that as theorists we must also see subjects as having the se attributes (being rational and having justified second order beliefs) when we see subjects as agents among fellow rational agents in a community where there is communication. With that said, h ere is a summary of the argument (P1) If we are to be view ed as rational agents, then we must be viewed as having justified second order beliefs about our beliefs, which I shall call self reflexive second order justified beliefs ." 20 (P2) Speakers must be viewed as rational agents by interpreters if there is successful communication. (P3) There is successful communication. (C1) Therefore, we must be viewed as rational agents. (C2) And so we must be viewed as having self reflexive seco nd order justified beliefs in virtue of being viewed as rational agents. In answer to the first question ( What are the general conditions that need to be satisfied such that the satisfaction of those conditions guarantees that subjects have justified beli efs about their first order intentional states? ), t hen, it appears that the general 20 In formulations of arguments such as the one above, "P" shall stand for "premise" and "C" shall stand for "conclusion." Thus, "P1" means premise 1 and "C1" means conclusion 1 and so on.
54 conditions that must be satisfied are conditions regarding communication in a community of rational agents. I think that the story here is somewhat complex. I will do my be st to make it clear. Many thinkers have pointed out that there is a connection between self knowledge and rationality. Our present argument focuses on rationality as it relates to how interpreters must view speakers in terms of their rationality and in te rms of whether or not their self reflexive second order beliefs are justified. If this argument is sound, then it secures some connection between self knowledge and rationality, namely that the justification for self knowledge is had automatically in virtu e of the nature of communication. Before I discuss the support for (P1) and (P2), I want to discuss an idea that is shared by a number of philosophers working on self knowledge and rationality, as it will be not only relevant to the argument at hand, but a lso relevant to another key argument, the argument for the conclusion that first person access to intentional content is required for rationality. Engagement and rationality There are two ideas in the literature that I want to discuss before we get to the key arguments in this chapter. This stage setting will be helpful in brin g ing out a key point about how a subject must be related to his first order intentional states, a notion that I shall call "engagement." The two notions I want to discuss are Richard Moran's idea of deliberative and theoretical stances that can be taken toward the content of intentional states and Sydney Shoemaker's notion of self blindness. Let us discuss Moran's idea first. In his book Authority and Estrangement Morgan discusses tw o types of stances a thinker can take toward his intentional states: a deliberative and theoretical stance. The
55 deliberative stance is the stance of practical reasoning when we ask ourselves what we should do, what we are to believe and so on. The theoreti cal stance i s a stance we can take toward those same first order states we use in practical reason ing We take a theoretical stance to our first order states when we ask ourselves what we are going to do and what we believe. In the deliberative stance we a re directly engaged with our first order intentional st ates. In the theoretical stance we examine data and make inferences based on such data. We clearly must take a theoretical stance with regard to the intentional states of others. While we do in fact ta ke both stances toward ourselves, we are generally operating in the deliberative mode. The distinction between these two stances is important for what Moran says about the connection between rationality and self knowledge. In short, he thinks that the ide a of a rational agent who takes only a theoretical stance to himself is an incoherent one. And this incoherence is supposed to show us something important about the re lationship between an agent, his intentional states and his rational agency. Here is a le ngth y quote from Moran. The problem with the idea of generalizing the theoretical stance toward mental phenomena is that a person cannot treat his mental goings on as just so much data or evidence about his state of mind all the way down, and still be credited with a mental life (including beliefs, judgments, etc.) to treat as data in the first place. For any given mental presentation of mind, just as for any utterance, it may be true that I can tr eat it as data, something which gives me a more or less good indication of my genuin e belief. But for there to be judgments or deliberation in the first place, I cannot adopt this point of view of my own mental life quite generally. At some point, I must cease attempting to infer from some occurrence to my belief; and instead stake myself and relate to my mental life not as something of symptomatic value, but as my current commitment to how things are out there. And so, for this reason the abrogation of first person authority is not made up for by improved theoretical access to myself. 21 21 (Moran 2001), page 150.
56 This quote captures Moran's idea that a rational agent must be by and large engaged with the conten t of his intentional states. A deliberative stance toward his intentional contents must be taken up by a rational agent, even if he is able to take a theoret ical stance to his intentional contents as well. For what it is worth, Moran notes that this point about the need to adopt the deliberative stance is anti Cartesian in certain respects. He notes that the Cartesian idea of a private theatre of ideas has th e same flaws as a view of self knowledge according to which an agent bears a theoretical stance to his intentional states. In both sorts of pictures, the agent is not properly engaged with his intentional contents For Moran, this is a problem. He writes, An idea as such [as something which an agent passively observes] is something I may be passive with respect to. It may be implanted in me by God or the external world or by an Evil Demon. But for that very reason it cannot be identical with my belief abou t some matter, for my judgments are my affair, something I am responsible for, through the exercise of my infi nite liberty to affirm or deny. 22 Moran thinks that an agent with a purely theoretical stance toward his own intentional st ates is incoherent. 23 Our conception of a rational agent is of a subject who is engaged with his first order states in a way articulated by Moran's notion of the deliberative stance. The idea of an agent who bears a purely theoretical stance to his intentional contents, who has a purely third person view of his own intentionality as we might say, is not a coherent idea. This idea also comes out in Sydney Shoemaker's discussion of self blindness. This is an idea that Shoemaker uses to defend certain aspects of the Cartesian Theory 22 (Moran 2001), page 149. 23 (Moran 2001), page 149.
57 of Mind, namely that each person has a sort of access to the contents of his intention al states that no one else has the the sis of first person access to intentional content. Self blindness is a cond ition where a subjec t, to interpolate Moran's ter minology, bears a theoretical stance to the content of his intentional states. The basic idea comes out of nse theory of self knowledge argument is, in short, that if the inner sense theory of self knowledg e ( the idea that we introspect our thoughts in much the same ma nner that we perceive the world) were true, then our thoughts would enjoy a certain independence from our awareness of them just as the external world enjoys an independence from our perception of it Given the independence of the thoughts from the self conclusion, then, is that if the view lea ves this possibility open, it mu st be false, for Shoemaker holds that such an individual is not conceptually possible. A being of this sort is not one we would describe as a rational human being. Here is Shoemaker himself on self blindness. What I wish to maintain is the impossibility o f something I shall call "self blindness." A self blind creature would be one which has the conception of the various mental states, and can entertain the thought that it has this or that belief, desire, intention, etc., but which is unable to become aware of the truth of such a thought except in a third person way. In other words, a self blind creature could frame and understand ascriptions to itself of various mental states, but would be incapable of knowing by self acquaintance whether such self ascripti ons were true. Only if self blindness were a conceptual possibility would it be appropriate to think of the capacity for self acquaintance as a quasi perceptual capacity which is something over and above the capacity to have and conceive of the mental states in question. And it is the appropriateness of so thinking of it that I am anxious to deny 24 24 (Shoemaker 1996), pages 30 31.
58 It is helpful to see that Moran and Shoemaker both cri tique views of self knowledge on which knowledge of intentional contents is had by way of a method of introspecting thoughts modeled on our perception of external objects. This is what Shoemaker intends to track when he talks of views that understand self acquaintance as a quasi perceptual capacity and what Moran has in mind when he critiques those views of self knowledge modeled on the Cartesian theatre of ideas, wherein the mind's eye inspects its thought contents in a way similar to the way our eyes perceive external objects. The problem with such models, for Moran and Shoemaker, is the introduction of data and distance, we might say, between an agent and his first order states. On such models, access becomes of a third person sort: data is collected and inferences are made. Both Moran and Shoemaker think that it is incoherent to see an agent as having merely this sort of third person access to his own states, of having, in Moran's words, a purely theoretical stance to his own intentional contents. The overall lesson from Moran and Shoemaker is that an agent must be properly engaged with his fir st order intentional states if he is to count as rational. To be properly engaged with his first order intentional states, a n agent must have first person and not third person access to them. This general idea is one I will exploit in both of the following arguments. Let us turn back to the transcendental argument about justification. Why rational agents must be viewed as having justified second order beliefs about first order intentional states In our present inquiry we focus on the viewpoint of the inte rpreter in a rational community though we must also keep in mind that the argument must be made from the point of view of the theorist To talk about our current practice of rationality is to talk
59 about a community of rational agents. In delving into the necessary conditions of such a community, one might think that it is enough that all the members of this community be sufficiently rational: to be able to perform simple acts of reasoning based on a shared environment, to be able to engage in dialogical r easoning with one another, to measure t it also be the case that those who are rational in such a community be seen as having justified self ref lexive second order beliefs? A rather simple o bservation here is that without justification for his second order beliefs, a subject would lack knowledge of his intentional contents. Must an interpreter view a subject as having knowledge of his intentional contents if that subject is to count as ration al? In "First Person Authority" Davidson argues that it must be assumed that speakers know what they mean if they are to be interpretable. That argument, though, concerns knowledge of meaning and the present inquiry concerns knowledge of intentional conten ts. Without justification for self reflexive second order beliefs the agent would lack knowledge of a crucial class of beliefs: beliefs about the intentional contents of his own mind. It would certainly be odd to view someone as lacking knowledge of thei r intentional contents, but we need a reason for thinking that viewing them as lacking such knowledge is viewing them as somehow less than rational. Th e reason that we must view rational agents as having such knowledge is that to view them as lacking it is to view them as continuously bearing a theoretical stance t o their own intentional states, because the lack of justification becomes possible only when we assume that there is some data on which they come to know the content of their intentional states. W hen one
60 is seen as bearing a deliberative stance to one's intentional states, the possibility of lack of justification is foreclosed: there is no data or evidence being used such that there can be a failure to use it in the proper way. As Moran and Shoemak er have argued viewing an agent as merely bearing a theoretical stance to his own intentional states is an incoherent idea. A subject must have owner ship of his intentional states; he m ust, as Moran puts it, stake himself to hi s intentional states. To view a subject as lacking this is not to view a subject as lacking in tentional states, but to view him as having an aberrant relationship to his intentional states when view ed in the light of rational agency. His intentionality is not fully his. In short, he is passive with regard to it, and n ot its agent. Why speakers must be viewed as rational agents by interpreters if there is successful communication. The previous section leaves us with the question of why we must assume that subjects are rational. The above argument only works provided that those in a community of agents must assume that their fellow agents are rational. Davidson gives a compelling argument that such an assumption must be made by inter preters In s: The process of separating meaning and opinion invokes two key principles which must be applicable if a speaker is interpretable: the Principle of Coherence and the Principle of Correspondence. The Principle of Coherence prompts the interpreter to disco ver a degree of logical consistency in the thought of the speaker; the Principle of Correspondence prompts the interpreter to take the speaker to be responding to the same feature so the world that he (the interpreter) would be responding to under similar circumstances. Both principles can be (and have been) called principles of charity: one principle endows the speaker with a modicum of logic, the other endows him with a degree of what the interpreter takes to be true belief about the world. Successful int erpretation necessarily invests the person interpreted with basic rationality. It follows from the nature of correct interpretation that an interpersonal standard of consistency and
61 interpreter, to their utterances and to their beliefs. 25 If this argument is sound, it appears that we have good reason to believe that speakers must be viewed as rational agents by interpreters if there is successful communication. Why believe, though that we must apply these principles in interpretation? Davidson, like Quine before him, employs a thought experiment with a speaker and an interpreter who do n ot share the same language, and wherein the interpreter has no age. Stripping away knowledge of a shared language is supposed to reveal the fundamental features of interpretation. To make sense of the speech of the foreign speaker, the interpreter must assume that the speaker is rational and that his beliefs are large ly abo ut the portion of the world they are sharing. Without the latter assumption, the interpreter would be at a loss to assign content to the about the objects, p roperties and relations in the environment they share As for the former assumption, c iting Quine, Davidson talks of the necessity of interpreters reading their own logic into the minds of speakers 26 It is hard to imagine how we would go about interpreting someone if we did not assume they were rational to some degree. Points at which we fail to be capable of interpreting one another are either points at which it is clear that both parties are not talking about a shared environment (as when someone is delus ional) or at points when the interpreter cannot attribute rational thought to the speaker (as when someone is schizophrenic). The thought experiment the n requires us to imagine things from the standpoint of the interpreter ; this view point, it 25 (Davidson 2001), page 211. 26 (Davidson 2001), page 149.
62 seem to me, reveal s at least one conceptual truth: without assuming that the speaker is rational, there is no way for successful interpretation to proceed. It is hard to see how we would begin to interpret the words of another without assuming that their method of rea soning about the world is not sufficiently similar to ours. So, in sum, if an ag ent is viewed as rational, he must be viewed as having self reflexive justified second order beliefs. Further, if an agent is interpretable, he must be assumed to be rational. Thus, if there is true communication and agents are interpretable, then they are rational and in virtue of the assumption of rationality, they must be viewed as having self reflexive justified second order beliefs, for to assume that they could lack such justification is to assume that they continuously bear a theoretical stance to themselves. A Transcendental Argument about First Person Access In this section, I shall offer another argument related to the idea o f engagement and rationality. This argumen t concerns the type of access that a subject must have to his intentional states to count as rational. Sydney Shoemaker has offered various arguments for the conclusion that a subject must have first person access to his intentional content if he is to count as rational. Charles Siewert discusses four of these arguments in "Self Knowledge and Rationality: Shoemaker on Self Blindness." We shall focus on one that concerns the need for a rational agent to revise his beliefs, and also focus on Siewert's commentary on the argument. In "Self Intimation and Second Order Beliefs" Shoemaker offer s a succinct summary of the need for a rational agent to revise his beliefs for coherency I t is a condition of bein regularly be revised with the aim of achieving and preserving consistency
63 and internal coherence, and that such revision requires awareness on the part of the subject of what the conten ts of the system are 27 It is important to bring o ut the role that self reflexive beliefs play in this account. They are what provide awareness to the subject about what his first order contents are. It is these self reflexive beliefs that must be accessed in a distinctly fir st person way, a way that does not depend on evidence or inference. If these self reflexive beliefs were accessed by inference and evidence, then they would not be sufficient for revising the intentiona l contents of a rational agent To this, Siewert adds that it may also be required of a rational agent to not only be able to revise his beliefs for coherence, but also to be able to justify such revisions. This demand seems reasonable: it would be odd if a rational agent revised certain beliefs and was unabl e to justify the revision for reasons other than inability to remember. That point of course should be relatively uncontroversial. The significant claim is that one must have first person access to one's intentional contents in order to perform the ration al acts of revision and justification with regard to one's intentional contents. In a sense, both the demand that a rational agent be capable of revising intentional states for coherency and the demand that he be able to justify such revisions is a demand for the same ability: the ability to access first order and second order intentio nal states in a first person way a way that does not depend on evidence or inference. Here is a quote from Charles Siewert that helps to bring out why this is so. If the practice of justifying, as we engage in it, requires the ability to cite accurately what beliefs, desires, and experiences we have, and if there is often no available third person source for these citations, one must be able 27 (Shoemaker 2009) page 39.
64 s and experiences to oneself accurately by a distinctively first person means. 28 There are many instances when no third person sources for citations are available. When I engage in practical reasoning, I do not wait to hear myself speak, for instance, befo re I access the intentional content that my speech makes public. Let us say I am trying to decide whether to vote for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. I draw on the contents of many intentional states in trying to come to a conclusion. For i nstance, my belief that Barack Obama is a pragmatist and not an ideologue factors into my reasoning. It is not as if I must assert "Barack Obama is a pragmatist and not an ideologue" to know the content of my thought. I access the content of the belief dir ectly. The point is not merely one about how I in fact access the intentional content, though. The point to bring out is that if I did have to access my intentional content by waiting to hear what I said I would not be properly engaged with my intentiona l content. The possibility of self blindness would be open, for my intentional contents would be logically independent of my self reflexive states that track them. I would, as Moran would say, seem to lose my stake in them if it turned out that I had to ac cess them in a third person way. They woul d not in a very important s ense be mine. If we lacked first person access t o our intentional content, we would lack the proper engagement with those contents and we would have to give up on the picture sketched bet ween the tight connection between self reflexive states and the intentional states they track, a connection that does not depend on any evidence. If we give up such a picture, then we give up on rational agency as we know it. Let us end with a summary of t he argument just given. 28 (Siewert 2003) page 136.
65 (P1) In order to be rational, one must revise one's beliefs in light of inconsistence and be capable of just ifying those revisions (P2) Revising one's intentional contents in light of inconsistency and justifying such revision requires first person access to one's intentional contents. (C1 ) If we are rational, we must have first person access to our intentional contents. Explaining Se lf Knowledge As we saw, t he most basic notion of this overall picture is the transparency of intentional content. Because it concerns the direct and unmediated access each person has to his own intentional states, we can understand this by thinking of indi viduals in isolation. Unlike the notion of the transparency of intentional content, we cannot screen off the relationship between the individual and others to understand the rest of the notions of self knowledge. Once we accept it is just the subject who c an access his intentional states in a direct way, we can clearly see the truth of the thesis of asymmetry of access to intentional content We have seen that this notion helps explain first perso n access to intentional content and the notions of f irst pers on authority; the transparency of intentional content is also central to an understanding of the connection between self knowledge and rationality. Before I said that f irst person access to intentional content helps explains first person authorit y of self reports and it helps explain the assumption of first person authority that is embedded in our communicative practices. Without first person access to intentional content, it would be puzzling why we assume that others are authorities about thei r inten tional contents and why we grant their self reports of those contents authority. Understanding the story about access helps us to see why these two notions first person authority arise in the context of communication. Merely s eeing the connection between notions of access and authority does not fully explain self knowledge. We also had to see how our second order beliefs could be
66 justified in the absence of evidence. Locating the source of his justification required looki ng deeper into the necessary featur es of the structure of the justificatory and communicative practices in a community of rational agents We saw that one's justification for one's self knowledge lies in facts about how others must view a rational agent if he is to be interpretable We also saw that we must have first person access to our intentional content if we are to count as rational agents. If we lacked such access, we would be in the position of Shoemaker's self blind individual, who is related to his own intentional contents in a way insufficient for rationality. Though it was not discussed in the two main transcendental arguments, we can also say that if a subject lacked first person authority, meaning that he was such that interpreters did not assume that he was an authority about his thoughts, then it would be hard to see how such a subject could be rational. Like first person access to intentional content, the two notions of first person authorit y seem crucial for rationality. I cannot give a lengthy defense at this point, but let me offer some remarks that can make an intuitive case for the notions of first person authority being crucial for rationality. To see that the two notions of first person authority are crucial for rationality, one can attempt to imagine an agent who has f irst person access to his intentional contents, but is not presumed by his neighbors to be an authority over what he thinks and makes self reports on his thoughts that do not have any more authority than his neighbors Assuming that the communicat ive environment is normal, t here does not seem to be a possible situation in which a rational agent lacks the two aspects of first person authority under discussion. Our rationality depends first and foremost on first person access to intentional content
67 although the two aspects of first person authority appear to be important to rationality as well To end the chapter, I should note that it is a consequence of this view of self knowledge that there is a sense that we are infallible about what we think. At first glance, this may seem damning. Surely there are some times when we are mistaken about our thoughts. My view allows for mistakes, but only mistakes of a certain sort. We must admit that there is sense in which we cannot be mistaken about the conten t of our intentional states. If we access these without evidence or inferences, there it is hard to see how we could be mistaken about our intentional contents. However, we can make mistakes about what we think when we improperly describe our thoughts. Eve ryone is familiar with this. If someone tries to disparage comparisons by saying, "Com parisons are odorous," we could jocularly ask him wh y he thinks that comparisons give off a bad smell. Realizing that he misspoke, he will likely go about correcting him self and soon enough get to a proper articulation of the thought. All the while, though, he is not mistaken about the content of the thought: that comparisons are odious. What he gets wrong is not the content but the prop er linguistic expression of the con tent. It turns out that w e cannot be mistaken about the content of our intentional stat es, though we are sometimes mistaken about what counts as an adequate expression of them.
68 CHAPTER 3 EXTERNALISMS I said earlier that one does not need to be steeped in philosophy to see that we kn ow our minds in a special way The same cannot be said of the truth of content e xternalism Perhaps this is because self knowledge plays a more fundamental role in communication, a role that helps us to more readily s ee that it is true The idea that our thoughts have content, that they carry information about the world, is not foreign to most. However, questions about what this content depends on are less a ccessible to someone unfamiliar with the literature on content externalism and internalism Self knowledge is surely a more familiar concept than the concept of content externalism, the idea that intentional content depends on features of the environment I hope to make content e xternalism clear by the end of the cha pter, to articulate the arguments that support it, and to distinguish it and another form of externalism. Thinking about Twin Earth philosophers to consider Twin Earth, a world which is like ours in every d etail, except that instead of having lakes, rivers, oceans and rain composed of H 2 O t he lakes, rivers, oceans and rain on Twin Earth are made up of another chemical element with a long and complicated chemical formula that for ease we can abbreviate as XY Z. This familiar scenario has bee n used to advance a version of c onte nt e xternalism. Putnam asks us to imagine two individuals who are the same on the inside, who share the same phenomenological properties (the world seems the same to each of them) and oth er intrinsic properties (their brain states are the same, for example). One individual is on Earth, and the other is on Twin Earth. The relevant question for content externalism is this. When these individuals assert,
69 y share the same belief or not? Here is a short argument that says they do not. Due to the difference in their external environments, one believes that XYZ is vital to human life, and the other believes that H 2 O is vital to human life. Remember that Twin E arth has also taught us that water is necessarily H 2 O (more on this later) Thus, we can conclude that the individual on Earth believes that water is vital to human life and the individual on Twin Earth believes that a water like substance (sometimes called "watery stuff) is vital to human life. Remember that the individuals are the same on the inside ; they have the same intrinsic properties. I f we are fine with each step so far, then we must conclude th at what determines the content of the belief is not solely a matter of what is inside of a subject. It is part ly a matter of a 1 Thinking about Arthritis Another influential ar gument for the same conclusion is found in the work of Ty ler previous one in that he asks us to focus not on the chemical properties of substances in the environment (being H 2 O and being XYZ, for example), but on the linguisti c meaning of words. In his famous example, l we have two individuals with the same intrinsic pr operties in different environments. One individual is in the actual world; the other is in a counterfactual world. Both individuals belie ve that they have arthritis in their thighs. We know this because it is stipulated that both would things in each community. I n the actual world a rheumatoid ailment 1 There is more to say about the Twin Earth argument. I give a brief characterization here, so as to argument.
70 exclusively of the joints. In the counterfactual world ailment not merely a rheumatoid ailment of the joints. In each community the ach individual at least partly grasps the intersubjective concept expressed by the word. The individual who lives in the actual world has a less than full grasp on the intersubjective concept because he thinks that arthritis is any rheumatoid ailment and n ot an ailment excl usively of the joints. Since it is proper to describe each of these beliefs using the term "arthritis," and because the ling that the intentional content of the beliefs d iffer. The subject in the actual world bel ieves that he has arthri tis (that is a rheumatoid aliment exclusively of the joint s) in his thigh. The subject in the counterfactual world beli eves a rheumatoid ailmen t of the j oints or the muscles) in his thigh. The beliefs have different contents. Yet, the individuals are the same on the inside. Therefore, what determines the content of a belief is not simply a matter of what is inside of a subject b ut partially determined by what is outside. It seems that the following thesis is general enough to capture what is important to both conclusions. The thesis of c ontent e xternalism : The contents of intentional states are not merely a function of the intrinsic properties of their owners. I n order to properly understand thi s thesis, let us review some important terminology. Let us discuss intrinsic properties first. A wedding band, for example, has intrinsic and extrinsic properties. Som e of the features of my own wedding band depend on the environment independent of my ring being a certain way For example, being an indicator of my marital status is an extrinsic property of the ban d, because it requires the
71 institution of marriage, not something that is a function of my intrinsic properties. Weighing one ounce is also among its extrinsic properties, because it weight depends on the gravitational field of the environment. My ring's m ass, however, is a feature of my ring that is not dependent on the nature of the environment independent of the ring. My ring has the same mass wherever it is. This is not true of its weight and its ability to serve as an indicato r of my marital status. On Mars my ring would have a different weight. In a possible world with no institution of marriage, my ring would no t indicate anything about my marital status. We can see that there is a test for whether or not something is an intrinsic property. If the env ironment independent of the individual who has the property cannot possibly be changed in a way such that it changes the property in question, then the property is intrinsic. We can use a modified version of evil demon thought exp e riment to pro vide a r eady example of a situation in which the content of intentional states depend s on just the intrins ic properties of an individual. Let us say that my thoughts are as they are now, and that the external world is by and large as I take it to be. The people I see are really there, as are the other middle sized objects, and so on. As I sleep tonight, suppose that an evil demon obliterates everything in the world except my mind (and himself). Suppose that h e is able to manipulate my mind in such a way th at I am not aware that anything has changed. My thoughts about the world appear to me as they did before the evil demon's destructive work. Such a situation is coherent only if intentional content depends on intrinsic properties alone: in focusing on the p roperties of mine on which the content depends, the content of my intentional states must surely depend on my intrinsic properties alone for the situation to
72 be capable of coherence because if my intentional states depended on my extrinsic properties, the y would be radically altered with the alteration of my extrinsic properties. I should add, in case there is a question, that the notion of dependence in question is a logical one. For example, to say that free will is required for moral responsibility is to express a logical requirement or logical dependence Free will is a necessary condition of moral responsibility. To say, as the content externalist does, that the content of intentional states depend s on the environment independent of a subject being a certain way is to express a similar logical requirement a similar necessary condition Without the environment being such and such a way, one would no t have such and such thought. We can put this talk of logical dependence in terms of something being a f unction of something else. So, t o say that x is not merely a function up: many other factors are involved in whether or not someone can cook well. To be a content externalist is are not merely a function something more than mer as well. Understanding why the Arguments have been so Popular We have seen two quick arguments for content e xternalism. We need to have a more careful look at them now, and also discuss why they have become so popular. To do this, I will discuss each argum ent and surrounding issues separately. Let me begin
73 Natural Kind Externalism The externalism that is supported by reflection on Twin Earth has been called xternalism by Jessica Brown 2 I shall adopt her terminology in this essay. The Twin Earth thought experiment was introduced by Hilary Putnam in his well known paper, "The Meaning of 'Meaning'." It is worth noting that the question of whether intentional content depends on a thinker's e xtrinsic properties is not even asked in "The Meaning of 'Meaning'." Because of this and because I think it is important to sort out the various philosophical theses supported by Putnam's famous paper, I shall begin my discussion here not by discussing Tw in Earth and content e xternalism but by focusing on h is primary aim of the paper: to show that the traditional theory of meaning is 3 The assumptions are : Assumption I: That knowing the meaning of a term is just a matter of being in a certain psychological state. Assumption II: extension (in the sense that sameness of intension entai ls sameness of extension). 4 The Twin Earth thought experiment was originally designed to sho w two things: that one of the traditional assumptions must be rejected in order to maintain a coherent theory of meaning and tha t psychological states alone do no t determine the extension of terms. Let us see how thinking about Twin Earth supports these goals Let us begin by review ing We are asked to imagine a world Twin Earth, that is nearly identical to our own, except for one 2 See (Brown 2004). 3 (Pessin and Goldberg 1996), page 6. 4 (Pessin and Goldberg 1996), page 6.
74 important difference: i n this world, there is no H 2 O. There is a substance that appears to be water; it looks like water and it do es what water does. However, it s chemical structure is different. It is describ ed by a long and complicated chemical formula that we can abbreviate as XYZ. On Twin Earth XYZ is called ce plays the same role in the lives of Twin Earthian s as it plays in the lives of Earthians Now, take an Earthian and a Twin Earthian. Suppose they each have the same type identical psychological states. And let us stipulate that b oth are ignorant of the chemical structure extension of the term t each world. On Earth 2 O, and on Twin Earth it refers to XYZ. This may seem harmless enough. If we grant that psychol ogical state alone does no t determine extension for the two individuals are in the same type identical psychological state and the extension of Of course, there is nothing special about the term that s omething more is relevant when it comes to determining extension. If we are with Putnam so far, we can see how the Twin Eart h thought experiment shows that no theory of m eaning can be grounded by both Assumption I and Assumption II We cannot accept both that the extension of the term at each world and that the two assumptions are true If the extension of different, then our speakers can no t be said to have knowledge of the meaning of
75 different per Assumption II Putnam says that we must reject one of the assumptio ns 5 He favors rejecting Assumption I This conclusion has perhaps been overshadowed by the idea that Twin Earth shows us something important about a posteriori necessities. A posteriori necessities are necessary truths that cannot be known a priori 6 The discovery of such truths by Putnam, and also Saul Kripke, was seen as a groundbreaking philosophical insight, because it was traditionally thought that all necessary truths were knowable only a priori Let us review the argument for these truths, draw ing on both the work of Putnam and Kripke. Perhaps the best place to start is with an important notion employed by the argument, the notion of a rigid designator. 7 A rigid designator is a term that refers to the same object in all possible worlds. Here i s Kripke. Let's call something a rigid designator if in every possible world it designates the same object; a nonrigid or accidental designator if that is not the case. 8 5 Although Putnam does not explore the option that th 2 O or XYZ or whatever plays the water role. Eddy Zemach (1976) makes a strong case for just this, basing his argument on our actual practice o f referring to substances. 6 By knowing something a priori I mean knowing something without the benefit of empirical information. 7 Putnam seems happy to talk of rigid terms and rigid designation. Kripke calls a designator "rigid" (in a given sentenc e) if (in that sentence) it refers to the same individual in every possible world in which the designator designates. If we extend the notion of rigidity to substance names, then we may express Kripke's theory and mine by saying that the term "water" is rigid. (Putnam 1975), page 16. 8 (Kripke 1980), page 48.
76 For Putnam and Kripke, a re rigid designator s that h ave their actual world referents in every possible world, or if an actual world referent of a rigid designator does not exist in a given possible world, then that rigid designator does not refer. "Gold," for example, refers to Au in all possible worlds and no other substance, no matter how superficially similar that substance may be to gold. And if there is no Au in a world, "gold" has no referent in that world. Based on this view of reference fixing, Putnam and Kripke think that it is logically impossibl e for water to be anything other H 2 O Once w based on the story of rigid designation it i s an a posteriori necessity that nothing that is not H 2 O counts as water. Nothing I have so far recounted directly supports content e xternalism 9 In the original paper, as I noted, Putnam does not say anything about content e xternalism, although he did offer some commentary later. Consider the following quote from his s after the original Of course, denying that meanings are in the head must have cons equences for the philosophy of mind, but at the time I wrote those words I was unsure as to just what those consequences were. After all, such accomplishments as knowing the meaning of word s and using words meaningfully are Meaning of shou k of the meanings of words as lying in the mind at all, or 9 it does not support content externalism, but a rather uninteresting form of externalism about what is required for knowledge. Nearly everyone would agree that a prop osition is known only if it is true. The truth of a proposition is in most cases an extrinsic property of that proposition. One may be able to argue that if a proposition is true in virtue of its meaning alone, then its truth is an intrinsic property of th at proposition. There are a great many propositions, of course, whose truth is an external matter. Even so, the truth of a proposition does not depend on just the intrinsic properties of one who believes that proposition. Therefore, an individual's knowled ge is not dependent on an individual's intrinsic properties.
77 whether (like John Dewe y and William James) we should stop thinking of nk of it rather as a system of environment involving capacities and interactions. I n the end, I eq uivocated between these views. d, on the other hand, that the notion of the mind is ambiguous, in this suppo entirely in our heads, and in another sense (I called mental states in this supposed second sense are individuated by our relations to our environment and to other s pea kers and not simply by what goes on in our brains. Subsequently, under the influence of Tyler B urge and more recently of John McDowell as well, I have come to think that this conceded too much to the idea that the mind can be thought of as a private theate r (situated inside the head). 10 This quote makes it very clear that Putnam made no direct argument for content e xternalism in the original paper At this point, there are some important questions we need to ask: Wh at exactly is the argument for content e xternalism inspired by Twin Earth? What connection does this argument bear, if any, to the morals that Putnam originally draws from Twin Earth? Why did the argument for content e xternalism inspired by Twin Earth become so popular among philosophers? Let u s begin with the first question. Of Twin Earth, it is common to read designed to establish semantic externalism, it can be extended to mental cont ents as 11 Of co urse, it is not so clear that the argument is being extended, as much as Twin Earth is being deployed as a backdrop or as a handy thought experiment for a different argument. Colin McGinn was perhaps the first to use Twin Earth to argue for content e xterna lism 12 H is proposal is as follows. When an individual on Earth assents 10 (Pessin and Goldberg 1996), page xvii. 11 (Lau and Deutsch 2008). 12 See (McGinn 1977).
78 if H 2 O is vital to human life. Contrarily, when an individual on Twin Earth assents to the is vital to human life. As we know, the individuals are the same in terms o f their intrinsic properties. The beliefs are different, and the difference must lie in the respective environments. S o, their intentional content is not merely a function of their intrinsic properties. Therefore, content externalism is true. Here is the argument generalized. (P1) Beliefs and other intentional states are to be individuated by their truth conditions. (P2) It is possible for individuals to have the same intrinsic properties and yet assent to a sentence that h as diff erent truth conditions in different world s (C1) Therefore, it is possible to have two individuals who share all the same intrinsic properties and have different beliefs. (C2) intrinsic propertie s. (P 1) seems to be a premise that nearly everyone would accept. The truth of ( P 2) is supposed to be seen by reflecting on Twin Earth. ( C1 ) follows from ( P 1) and ( P2), and (C2) is merely a different articulation of (C1) Setting things up like this helps us to see that the question turns on the truth conditions of the sentences assented to. Those who think that water is necessarily H 2 O will think that w hen one assents to the sentence to life on Twin Earth one does no t believe that water is vital to life, because the previous sentence is true on Twin Earth if and only if XYZ is vital to life, and nothing is water if it is not H 2 O. It is important to see that adopting the story of a posteriori necessities answers the question of what the proper truth conditions are. But we might pause to ask
79 ourselves whether this is the only story on can adopt. Some may think that water is not necessarily H 2 2 O or XYZ or whatever plays the wa ter role is vital to life. 13 I will give a more in depth argument for how we should think of the truth conditions for intentional states in Chapter 5. For now, let me note that there is an important difference with regard to the truth conditions of sentence s full stop and truth conditions of sentences in an intentional context. By "intentional context," I mean a context having to do with the content of intentional states. When discussing the truth conditions of a sentence assented to by a subject, for exampl e, we are discussing truth conditions in an intentional context. Consider our sentence "Water is vital to human life." If a philosopher thinks that water is necessarily H 2 O, he will judge that the sentence is true if and only H 2 O is vital to human life. Ev en if someone believes that one may still think that the truth conditions of the sentence in an intentional context may differ. For example, let us suppose that I know nothing of water's chemistry. I say, "Water is vital to human life." In the context of determining intentional content, we may have good reason for thinking that the truth conditions of this sentence change when seen in an intentional context. After all, I may know nothing about H 2 O, in which case we should ask ourselves whether it make sens e to attribute to me beliefs about H 2 O. Some may think that relative to a subject's intentional state come s down to how we think about 13 experiment shows is mistaken. One could accept (P1) and still reject (P2). One could, that is, hold (P1) and defend content internalism by arguing that the truth conditions of the beliefs about water are the same (see (Crane 1991) for such a move).
80 one's personal concept of water. For the natural kind externalist, our concepts are shaped, in a rather strong way, by the nature of the environment. The following example brings this out. Take an individual who has been raised on Earth. One night he is taken from his b ed while asleep and transported unawares to Twin Earth. When he wakes the ne xt day, the world around him appears normal to him He has no idea of what happened. He proceeds to go about his daily affairs. Remember that there would be nothing to trip him up: the world seems the same to him. 14 O ne question we might ask here is this: Are his thoughts different in virtue of his new environment? Most externalist say no. They think that initially when he thinks about water, he thinks about H 2 O. After a certain peri od of time, though his thoughts about water would switch from being thoughts about H 2 O to being thoughts about XYZ in virtue of the new environment shaping his concepts. Remem ber that nothing has changed for the subject. According to the content e xternali st, one day he will have been on Twin Earth long enough and his thoughts will thereby change their contents without him realizing it. From his point of view, there will have been no change to his concept of water. He will have lea rned no new information ab out water (or watery stuff if you like) ; he will ce rtainly not have learned that the watery stuff is XYZ. Yet, his concept of water, the concept that is part of the structure of his thoughts about water will have changed. His belief that water is vital to human life is true if and only if XYZ is vital to human life. One gets the sense that many are move d by this thought experiment to think that the concept would change without the subject's awareness. We do not need to decide what to say about this now. I am merely trying to sketch the details of the content 14 Let us suppose that we have kidnapped and successfully hidden his doppelganger on Twin Earth.
81 externalist argument and to lay out some points that will be important later Two points bear repeating. First, the conclusion that the truth conditions of the respective Earthian and Twin Earthian bel iefs differ can be supported by the content externalist who adopts the story of a posteriori necessities. Second, it looks like even if one adopts the story of a posteriori necessities, one can still resist the conclusion that the truth conditions differ by noting that the truth conditions may be the same when viewed in an intentional context. When looking a t the subject's concept of water, we may find that the truth conditi ons of the intentional states of the Earthian and Twin Earthian are actu ally the same. These points will be discussed in more depth in Chapter 5. This Tw in Earth inspired argument as I see it, is not supported by ar gument against psychologism o r semantic i nternalism but by the conclusions he draws about the essence of substances. 15 Someone might think that Putn argument against semantic i nternalism the view that meaning is a function of an ind might be the drivi ng force b ehind the argument for content e xternalism However, it turns out that his essentialist conclusions of natural kinds, for which Kripke is typically given equal credit, are what are most import ant to Twin Earth argument for content e xternalism. Why did the arg ument for content e xternalism inspired by Twin Earth become so popular among philosophers? Earth thought experiment has lent some credibility and authority to the Twin Earth inspired arg ument for content e xternalism. There should also be no doubt that a general distrust of the Cartesian Theory of M ind, one aspect of which is the idea that the mind is 15 In Chapter 5, I urge that we make a distinction between semantic externalism and content externlism.
82 independent of the environm ent, has made the argument for content e xternalism more appealing It seems natural that these factors would work together to incline some to see natural k ind e xternalism as part of a package that represents philosophical progress. It is not hard to see why one would th ink that semantic e xternalism n atural kin d e xternalism anti Cartesianism about the mind, and conclusions about a posteriori necessities are an attractive collective of views for a contemporary ph ilosopher to hold We will see that it is not necessary to adopt this package wholesale. We have good reason for rejecting some of these theses while accepting others. Social Externalism Let us content e xternalism which is sometimes called xternalism due to Burge's focus on the role that sentence meaning play s in s haping our thoughts. To review, h ere i s s argument. Burge asks us to imagine two different situations, one actual and one counterfactual. He asks us first to imagine an individual in the actual world who has many true beliefs about arthritis and the false belief that he has arthritis in his thigh. He cannot, of course, have arthritis in his thigh, by the very definition of the term. Such a situation seems coherent. Next we are asked to imagine a counte rfactual situation in which the same individual lives the same life as he did in the first situation, at least from his perspective. Burge writes, He has the same physiological history, the same diseases, the same internal phy sical occurrences. He goes th rough the sam e motions, engages in the same behavior, has the same sensory intake (physiologically described). His dispositions to respond to sti muli are explained in physical theory as the effects of the same proximate causes. All of this ex tends to his i nteractions with linguistic expressions. He says and hears the same words (w ord forms) at the same time he actually does. He develops the have arthritis
83 e physical ly described proximate causes. 16 being about arthritis, they would use cont ent clauses (that clauses for beliefs, for something different in the counterfac tual situation. Therefore, the respective beliefs would differ while the intrinsi c properties of the individuals would remain the same. Here i s another way to ma ke the point. In both scenarios about their respective thigh pain would be c haracterized by those around them in the subject believes that he has a rheumatoid ailment exclusively of the joints in his thigh. In the second scenario, because of the linguistic meaning o the subject believes that he has a are about arthritis, and in the counterfactual case they are not about arthritis. W hat makes the beliefs differ i s not anything intrinsic. It i intrinsic properties are the same. The properties of linguistic meaning are what have changed. These are extrinsic properties. argument for social e xternalism has received more ske pticism than the arguments for natural kind e xternalism A number of authors have noted that we do not attribute beliefs in such a rigid manner, by alw ays taking a speaker's at his word as it 16 (Burge 1979), page 130.
84 were Many have pointed out tha t our actual practice of thought attribution is much more resourceful and c omplex. Donald Davidson puts this point nicely: First, it seems to me false that our intuitions speak strongly in fav or of understanding and ghts in terms of what others would mean by the same words. For one thing, there is the problem of deciding what group is to determine the norms. But more important, we understand a speaker best when interpret him as he intended to be interpreted; this will explain his actions far better than if we suppose he mean s and thinks what someone else might mean and think who us ed 17 Not a few philosophers have po inted out that in using Burge's method we sometimes end up attributing contrad ictory beliefs to rat ional beings, a point that we will focus on later example nicely example illustrates this. In the first scenario, we shoul d attribute to him the belief that he has a rheumatoid ailment exclusively of the joints in his thigh, the belief that he has an ailment in his thigh that cannot occur in his thigh. Surely, the subject also believes that he cannot have a d isease in his thi gh that cannot by definition occur in this thigh. The objection is that the form of belief attribution that Burge endorses conflicts with a principle of interpretation that says we should not attribute contradictory beliefs to a rational agent. The detail s of these objections can w ait. For now, I want to note wh argument has been i nfluential. I think that the major reason is that the conclusion can appear to be an inev itable consequence of adopting semantic e xternalism In this es say, as I noted, I wi ll understand this as the thesis that meaning is not a function of h a view along with the view means of a 17 (Davidson 2001), pages 198 199.
85 public language, then will not content e xternalism follow? Though I think that the answer to this is no, p art of the force of Burge's work lies in how content externalism seems to be an inevitable conseq uence of adopting semantic ext ernalism along with the view t hat intentional contents are expressible only via a public language. Were such a consequence truly inevitable we would have very good reasons to adopt content externalism because it is very hard to see how linguistic meaning could be a function of any on e in dividual's psychological states and because nothing other than a public language appears capable of express intentional content. How many Externalisms? In this section, I want to discuss two quite distinct views about intentional content that sometimes fall under but do not always get as much press as natural kind externalism and social externalism. The first thesis has been called singular a nti individualism and is supported by ref lection on the nature of singular thoughts, thoughts that are of a particular individu al. I shall call this view singular thought externalism. The second has been called transcendental e xternalism and is supported by some key theses in the work of Don ald Davidson. Singular Thought Externalism In Anti Individualism and Self Knowledge Jessica Brown gives the following definiti on of singular thought externalism contents are individuated partly by the particular objects that a re i n her environment (see e.g., Perry 1979; Kripke 1980; Evans 1982; Peacocke 1983; McDowell 1986; Salmon 1986; Soames 1987; Kaplan 1989) 18 This thesis counts as a version of 18 (Brown 2004), page 13.
86 content e xternalism by our previous definition. It differs from natural kind externalism and social externalism, though, because it concerns tho ughts about particulars, particulars which some have argued we do not think of by description, but by some other method. In the previously discussed situations, about water an d arthritis respectively, the thinker in question could think of the re levant substances and phenomena in his environment by way of a description, for instance, the watery stuff in my environment. singular thought externalism is concerned with showing that there are objects that we cannot think of merely by description and exploring the consequences of these types of thought s. A good deal has been written about singular thoughts and singular propositions. My aim here is rather narrow: to understand how singular though ts figure into an argument for content e xternalism. Here is the argument that Brown outlines. She asks us to imagine a thinker who has what she calls a perceptually demonstrative thought about an apple. For the subject, the apple is identified by demonstration. Imagine a counterfactual situation in which, familiarly, everything is the s ame from the inside, though there is a difference in the external environment : the apple is numerically different. The intui tion is supposed to be that the thoughts are different in virtue of being about different apples. The thoughts, then, would be externalistic, since the intrinsic properties of the subjects are the same and the intuition is that the thoughts are different. 19 The thoughts are object dependent in that they are essentially identified by the objects they are about. 19 way to express their dependence on extrinsic properties of their thinkers. I shall likewise refer to dependence on only the intrinsic properties of their thinkers.
87 Transcendental Externalism The other sort of externalism I w ant to discuss has been called transcendental e xternalism by Jaso n Bridges 20 The thesis describes a type of externalism that Bridges identifies in the work of Donald Davidson. This form of externalism falls out of most famous philosophical these s, the thesis of triangulation, which is a thesis about the necessary conditions for thought and language and about how thoughts can have the content they do. For Davidson, triangulation is necessary for the objectivity of thought because, in short, triangulation is necessary for creatures to have the concept of err or to have the idea required for a creature to have the concept of belief. The concept of belief is required for thought; therefore, without th e concept of error, a creature would not be capable of thought. It i s important to note that for Davidson it is no t enough for thought that there be various intra personal perspectives (different ways of seeing things from the same w) or that there be two nonlinguistic beings sharing an environment. There must be two linguisti c beings (beings with a language) for individuals to have the concept of an objective world outside of their own individual perspectives on it. 21 If this is true then from the fact that there is thought at all we can know certain external facts about the world. This transcendental e xternalism It counts as a form of externalism because it concerns being certain ways. 20 See (Bridges 2006). 21 These individuals do not need to share the same language.
88 transcendental e xternalism that I have sketched above is a fascinating and interesting argument. My aim is not to criticize it here, but to merely lay it out t o see how it relates to the previously mentioned forms of externalism. Let us transcendental e xternalism Let u thesis. There is a prelinguistic, precognitive situation which seems to me to constitute a necessary condition that can exist independent of thought and can therefore precede it The basic situation is one that involves two or more creatures simultaneously in interaction with each other and with the world they share; it is what I can triangulation. 22 systematic philosophical program that i nvolves a number of significant and insightful philosophical theses. Davidson indicates that the thesis of triangulation is essential for explaining two features of thought. He writes, The triangle that I have indicated is essential to the existence, and hence to the emergence, of thought. For without the triangle, there are two aspects of thought for which we cannot account. These two aspects are the objectivity of thought and the empirical content of the thoughts about the external world 23 Triangulation must be true if our thoughts are a bout a shared, intersubjective world and if our thoughts are about the features of the world we take them to be about. So, in addition to arguing that triangulation is a necessary condition for thought, Davidson also offers another transcendental argument for the conclusion that triangulation is required if our thoughts are about the normal objects we take them to be about. The idea here is 22 (Davdison 2001), page 128. 23 (Davidson 2001), page 129.
89 that for thoughts to be about exte rnal, middle sized objects the triangle of two linguistic beings and a shared envir onment must be in place. If this triangle were not in place, then the content of thoughts would be underdetermined. In short, if there were not two linguistic beings on the scene, then there would be no way to determine what thoughts were about. Of the nec essity of triangulation for the determination of content Davidson writes, For until the triangle is completed connecting two creatures, and each creature with common features of the world, there can be no answer to the question whether a creature, in disc riminating between stimuli, is discriminating between stimuli at the sensory surface or somewhere further out, or further in. Without this sharing of reactions to common stimuli, thought and speech wo uld have no particular content that is, no content at al l. It takes two points of view to give location to the cause of a thought, and thus to define its content. 24 The idea appears to be that without two creatures who speak a language and who share and interact with the same objective world, there would be no way to decide what their thoughts were of. If there were only one creature on the scene, there would be no fact of the matter about what his thoughts were of. His thoughts could be about anything in the causal chain of events that caused his thought, from the external objects in his visual field to the sensory impingements on his retina for example It takes two linguistic beings and a share environment to fix such content. transcendental e xternalism guarantees that if there is thou ght, then certain external properties must be instantiated. We have also seen that two sorts of externalism fall out of Davidson's thesis of t riangulation. The first is transcendental e xternalism : the idea that triangulation is necessary for thought. The s 24 (Davidson 2001), pages 212 213.
90 underdetermined. How do these views relat e to our general definition of content e xternalism ? The most important thing to see for our purposes is that view is not concer ned with what determines the nature of content, but the conditions that make it possible for intentional states to have content One way to put the point is this. The content externalist is interested in what is responsible for determining the content of each individual intentional state, whereas Davidson is concerned with the general necessary conditions on creatures having intentional states with content. As we have seen, f or Davidson, the content of intentional states cannot occur in isolation, the conditions that must obtain require the instanti ation of extrinsic properties, whereas f or Putnam and Burge the focus is on the individuation of content. Thus we must add a new thesis to art iculate a Da vidsonian view concerning the necessary conditions of thought. T he thesis of t ranscendental e xternalism : T he existence of the contents of intentional states require the instantiation of backgrou nd conditions, conditions which instantiate extr insic properties. intentional content, while the other externalisms focus o n the individuation of content whether or not a certain type of thought (and not thought in general) requires the environment t o be a certain way. I n Chapter 4 we will examine the extent to which these both content externalism and transcendental externalism are in conflict with f irst person access to intentional c ontent, and hence in conflict with rationality
91 CHAPTER 4 QUESTIONS OF COMPATI BILITY In Chapter 2, I discussed the thesis of first person access to intentional content and its importance to rationality I wil l now discuss which forms of externalism are compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent Because this thesis is so central to the picture of self knowledge sketched in Chapter 2, forms of externalism that are incompatible with it will be incompatible with the picture of self knowledge sketched in Chapter 2. Much has been written about the co mpatibility of content e xternalism and self knowledge. Instead of beginning with a hi story of the debate, I will give my own argument, and then address how my argument relates to the larger body of literature. The Incompatibility of Social Externalism and First Person Access to Intentional Content Let us begin by discussing the compatibility of s ocial e xternalism and first person access to intentional c ontent. Brief reflection on Burge's patient shows that there are problems for content externalism and ra tionality. Recall Burge's patient who believes that he has arthritis in his thigh. According to the externalist theory of content determination, and due to the linguistic meaning of "arthritis" in his community, we should attribute to the patient the belief that he has arthritis in his thigh, or, in other words, the belief that he has an ailment that cannot occur in his thigh in his thigh. The theory then, has us attributing a belief to him that is not one that a rational agent should hold. A rational agent may surely have false beliefs, but what he cannot have is blatantly contradictory beliefs. What has gone wrong? It seems that the most obvious way to state the problem is that the externalist method of content attribution is not sensitive enough t o how the patient thinks of arthritis, not se nsitive enough to his personal concept of arthritis. Both parties, content
92 internalists and content externalists alike, must look to certain features to determine what someone thinks. The social externalist focu ses on the linguistic meaning of the terms in the belief ascription. The content inter nalist, on the other hand, should look to the concepts a subject associates with linguistic terms (concepts which he must of course say depend on only intrinsic propertie s) Reflecting on the above case, it seems that content i nternalism primarily because of i t s sensitivity to how the patient thinks of arthritis, is the theory of content determination that is consistent with rationality, and should for that reason be pref erred. What does this have to do with first person access to intentional content ? So far it may appear that the incompatibility is directly between rationality and content e xternalism. We know from Chapter 2 that there is a connection between rationality and first person access to intentional content One of my own arguments concluded that first person access to intentional content i s required for rationality. So, if content e xternalism runs afoul of rati onality, it is liable to do so by first running afo ul of first person access to intentional content Focusing on Burge's thought experiment and the type of access we must have to our concepts help s us to sharp en the argument. That we have first person access to our concepts is entailed by the thesis of f irst person access to intentional c ontent and the view that content is structured by concepts. Burge's patient has first person access to how he thinks about arthritis. He does not, however, have first person access to the linguistic meaning of "arthritis" in the community that he is in. If one see s this rather obvious point then one is in a position to see how content e xternalism is incompatible with first person access to intentional c ontent. If content e xternalism is true, then the
93 individual's access to his intentional content is the same as his access to the linguistic meaning of arthritis. His access to linguistic meaning is the same as his neighbors'. Therefore, his access to the content of his own thoug hts is the same as his neighbor s because his access runs by way of an extrinsic property to which they both have equal access That, in short, is the argument for i ncompatibi lism I need to ward off a few objections before I explain how this argument, set against social e xternalism generalizes to all forms of content e xternalism First, we need to see that the argument above does not require the assumption that one must know all the background conditions of content in order to know the content of one's thought. Any such argument for i ncompatibi lism that required this assumption would have a much too demanding view of what is required for knowledge. For example, as Burge pointed out, it would be too much of a demand to place on knowledge of X to say that to know X one must also know the background co nditions on which X depends. 1 We cannot therefore argue that content e xternalism is in compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent on the grounds that a subject must know the background conditions that are required for a particular sort of th ought. Like Burge, Boghossian also notes that such an argument makes problematic assumptions about knowledge. As it stands it appears to be making problematic as sumptions about the conditions required for knowledge. Consider perceptual knowled ge. Someone may know, by looking, that he has a dime in his hand. But it is controversial to put it mildly, whether he needs to know all the conditions that make such knowle dge possible. He need not have checked, for example, that there is no counterfeit money in the vicinity, nor does he need to be able to tell the difference between a genuine dime an d every imaginable counterfeit that could have been substituted. The ordinary 1 See (Burge 1988)
94 concept of knowledge appears to call for no more than the exclusion of ve hypot heses (however exactly that is to be understood); and mere logical possibility d oes not confer such relevance. 2 Given these warnings, we should be careful that the present argument does not make these unwarranted assumptions I did not assume that to know that one, for example, believes that p, one must know the background conditions on which one's belief that p depends. Understood in an unrestricted way, this gives us comical results; t o know that one believes that p, one must gain all sort of inf ormation and settle all sorts of question in order to know one's beliefs. For example, one would have to know whether or not the belief in question supervened on a brain state, and if so, what the nature of the brain state was in order to know the content of the belief. Though my argument does not employ this assumption, it can seem to employ a similarly suspect assumption: the assumption that to know the content of a thought one must know the content determining properties of that thought. After all, it seems that the individual must know the meaning of "arthritis" to truly know his thought. The linguistic meaning is partly responsible for determining the thought, so to know the thought content one must know the content determining property. This assumpti on can seem suspiciously similar to the one above; it merely substitutes the requirement to know the background conditions with the requirement to know the content determining properties. We need to get clear on what those properties are, of course. If we just understand "content determining properties" to mean the properties responsible for the content in an unrestricted sense we have some familiar comic results. For instance, if one accepts physicalism about mental states, then it appears that (at a minim um) intentional states 2 (Boghossian 2008), pages 146 147.
95 supervene on physical states. Are the physical properties of the intentional states content determining properties? If so, it appears that one must know the physical properties of one's intentional states to know one's thoughts. If w e understand the assumption that to know the content of a thought one must know the content determining properties of that thought in an unrestricted way, then it appears that both the content internalist and content externalist have a problem when it come s to first person access to intentional c ontent. Both views must hold that there are properties that determine thought content. If those properties are known via other properties, then it appears that first person a ccess to intentional content is lost. An incompatibi list might try to save things by arguing that we should understand the assumption in a more restricted way. We should hold that one must know only the relevant content determining properties to know the content of his thoughts. This of course raises the question of what the content determining properties are for both views. We have seen some of the candidates for content e xternalism (e.g., linguistic meaning, microstructural properties of substances), but we have not yet examined any candidate s for content i nternalism. We will hear more on the sorts of intrinsic properties that may be responsible for intentional content in Chapter 6. As for the present maneuver, restricting the principle to just the relevant content determining properties seems ad hoc We do not actually have to make such a maneuver, thankfully as the argument I made above does not depend on this assumption. The first step in seeing this requires seeing that my argument is one about access and not knowledge. These notions, as we saw from Chapter 2, are closely related, but the basic incompatibility is between c ontent
96 e xternalism and first person a ccess to intentional c ontent. Burge's patient lacks first person access to the content of his belief, because he must first access t he linguistic meaning of arthritis. He has f irst person access to the concept he associates with the meaning of "arthritis," his personal concept of arthritis. 3 Content i nternalism is compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent because it looks at how the individual thinks of arthritis to determine the content of the individual's thought. In other words, in the example above, it looks to the concept the person associates with "arthritis" and not the intersubjective concept associated with arthritis." The point is not that one theorist's content determining properties cause problems for first person access to intentional content while the other theorist's do not, for being aware of one's personal concepts is not achieved via grasping some co ntent determining property first and grasping the concept second in virtue of the property grasped Accessing one's personal concepts is immediate. The key point to see is that if content e xternalism is true, then access to intentional content is not merel y a matter of a subject accessing his personal concepts. On content e xternalism, the determiners of cont en t are not a subject's personal concepts, but other things things which do not supervene solely on a 4 For the social externalist, the determiners of content are the linguistic meanings of content clauses in belief ascriptions. These meanings, as Burge's case clearly brings out are not something that one can have first person access to. 3 I sometimes refer to subjective concepts as personal concepts. 4
97 Burge's case all ows us to easily see the connection with rationality. The content the belief that he has an ailment in his thigh which cannot occur in his thigh. Surely he also b elieves that he cannot have a pain in his thigh which cannot by definition occur in his thigh. Asked to give an explanation for why he thought that he could have an ailment that cannot occur in his thigh in his thigh, our individual would surely say that h e did not realize that arthritis is an ailment exclusively of the joints. He would likely say felt similar to other arthritic pains he experienced previously The belief he reveals in the process of justifying his own beliefs is the belief that he has an arthritis like ailment in his thigh. This is not the belief that he had arthritis in his thigh. We can see, then, that the intentional content of the belief that be comes his reason in rational discourse is a content that is shaped by the personal concept he associates with the term "arthritis" and not one that is shaped by the intersubjective concept associated with the term "arthritis." The Incompatibility of all fo rms of Content Externalism and First Person Access to Intentional Content All other forms of content e xternalism ( natural kind e xternalism and singular thought externalism ) are incompatible wit h first person access to intentional c ontent for the reason discussed above. The reason here is that what determines a subject's i ntentional content is not his personal concepts (that the content internalists says supervene on intrinsic properties) but something else, whether it be the linguistic meanings of terms in intentional state ascriptions, the microstructural properties of substances, or particular objects in the external world. We can see this in the case s of
98 natural kind e xternalism and singular thought externalism by using switching cases borrowed from th e rather large body of incompatibi list literature. The idea of switching was first introduced b y Burge 5 Basically, the switching scenarios are scenarios where an individual is switched between Earth and Twin Earth and does not realize that he is being sw itched. His life seems the same to him at each place. There is an externalist intuition that the intentional contents of the switcher's thoughts would change after enough time has passed in a given environment. Burge writes, "The thoughts would not switch as one is switched from one actual situation to another twin actual situation. The thoughts would switch only if one remained long enough in the other situation to establish environmental relations necessary for new thoughts" (1988: 114). 6 So, the content externalist thinks th at it is clearly possible that even though a subject is unaware of the s wi tch, some of his intentional contents would still change. What is the problem with this? Much has been made of switching cases, whic h will be addressed later i n this chapter. For now, I should stress that I use switching because it is familiar and expresses the content externalist's commitments rather clearly. Let us suppose that the subject originally from Earth has been on Twin Earth for the requisite period o f time. Intentional states that seem to him to be about water are actually about twater, because there is no longer any H 2 O in his environment, and assuming we accept the story about a posteriori necessities, only H 2 O is water. 7 He now 5 See (Burge 1988). 6 I must admit that I fail to see how a certain amount of time would have to pass for the new environment to take hold, as it were, of the intentional contents. One would think that the shift would be immediate, since it is not dependent on the sub ject's awareness of the switch. 7 "Twater" is a term that is sometime uses to refer to the watery substance on Twin Earth. It use suggests that the watery stuff on Twin Earth is not actually water. I do not mean to endorse such a view by using the term. I employ it for ease of exposition.
99 desires to drink twater and believes that the lakes, rivers and oceans are filled with twater. In my discussion of the switching case, I assume the truth of the story of a posteriori necessities. (Recall that I argued earlier that this story was integral t o supporting natural kind e xternalism .) Suppose the switcher is in a discussion with a Twin Earthian about the importance of improving access to clean and potable water in the developing world. He says things like, "Water is a common resource that all peop le should be entitled to access," "Governments have a responsibility to provide their citizens with access to clean and potable water," and so on. He intends to be speaking of the liquid that surrounds him. His Twin Earthian interlocutor, based on his asse rtions, will attribute to him beliefs about twater and he will thereby attribute to him the concept of twater. When the switcher says, "water is a common resource that all people should be entitled to access," the content of his belief on Twin Earth can be expressed variously: that twater is a common resource that all people should be entitled to access; that XYZ is a common resource that all people should be entitled to access; that XYZ and not H 2 O is a common resource that all people should be entitled to access; that twater and not water is a common resource that all people should be entitled to access. These all express the content of his belief, for the content is cashed out relative to the story of a posteriori necessities about what determines the ref erent of "water" at Twin after a certain amount of time. Let us slightly alter the thought experiment. Suppose that the Twi n Earthian interlocutor is aware of the switching. He knows that the individual does not realize that the substance around him is XYZ. Let us suppose that he tells the switcher of this fact.
100 Let us suppose that he also asks the switcher "Do you really believe that people are not entitled to acc ess water as they are entitled to access twater?" It is easy to imagine the switcher responding incredulously. For throughout the discussion, he had been taken himself to be talking about water and expressing beliefs about water. Even if he were not talkin g about water, surely he would have taken himself to be expressing beliefs about water. According to the content externalist, though, he was not. And he is mistaken to think that he was thinking about water. His mistake, though, is different from Burge's p atient's mistake in at least one sense. We can hold Burge's patient culpable for his mistake in thinking he had arthritis in his thigh, whereas the switcher is ignorant of the meaning of "water" due to the set up of the thought experiment, and cannot reall y be held at fault for believing that he believed that twater and not water is a common resource that all are entitled to access. However, this difference is a minor one, and not central to our discussion. The key similarity is that the content of both t he patient and the switcher's intentional states is hostage to the public meaning of the terms of ascriptions used in the respective intentional state attributions. Thus, they have first person access to the content of their intentional state s in so far as they have first person access to the public meaning of terms which is to say not at all. If we adopt the externalist method of intentional content attribution, we will attribute intentional content to subjects that is not sensitive to their personal conce pts in a way in other words, that is in conflict with their rational agency. As we saw in Chapter 2, for a subject to be rational he must access his intentional content in first person way. According to content e xternalism the patient and the switcher's access to the content of t heir intentional states goes by way of their
101 access to the public meanings of the terms of ascriptions of intentional state attributions. Their access is not immediate and direct, and unless the access is immediate and direct, the access is in conflict with rationality. For this reason, content e xternalism is incompatible with first person access to intentional c ontent and thereby in conflict with rational agency. An Argument for the Compatibility of Transcendental Externalism and First Person Access to Intentional Content Let us turn to the compatibility first person access to intentional c ontent and transcendental e xternalism Here are the two theses in question. T he thesis of t ranscendental e xternalism : The existence of the contents of intentional states require the instantiation of background conditions, conditio ns which instantiate extrinsic properties. The thesis of f irst person access to intentional content : Each subject has first person access to h is own thoughts because each subject accesses his contents non inferentially and without the benefit of evidence, whereas others access those contents by way of inference. In assessing whether or not these claims are compatible, we need to recall that we already rejected the requirement that to know X, one must know the background conditions on which X depends. So, it should be easy to see that we are not in a position to require that to know what one was thinking, one would have to inquire into the backg round conditions necessary for a given thought. One does no t have first person access to the background c onditions necessary for thought. When we examine the two claims above, it does not appear that they are in conflict The reason for this should be clea r: because transcendental e xternalism is not a thesis about the individuation of the content of intentional states, but about background conditions
102 necessary for certain intentional states. It is well worth keeping in mind that one can hold transcendental e xternalism while rejecting content e xternalism. Addressing the Larger Debate It would be insufficient to end here, as it would neglect what many others have written about the incompatibility of content e xternalism and self knowledge. Many of the issues i n this debate can be traced to three main sources. First, there are issues that can be traced back to Boghossian's incompatibi with which we are already somew hat familiar. Second, there is the in compatibi list argument due to McKinsey in "Anti Individualism and Privileged Access." Third, the internalism and externa I ism debate about justification has seemed relevant to many. Let me begin by discussing Boghossian' s argument in "Content and Self Knowledge," and the issues it created, and then move to a discussion of internalism and externalism about justification and also McKinsey's argument. Boghossian's Incompatibi list Argument Boghossian uses the switching scenar io introduced by Tyler Burge to illustrate how content e xternalism is incompatible with self knowledge. Boghossian asks us to imagine that Twin Earth exists and that there is an individual switched unawares between Earth and Twin Earth. The content externa list thinks that after the appropriate amount of time, the individual's concepts will change in virtue of the environmental change even though there will be no introspectible difference in his intentional states. Boghossian notes that if the individual is switched back between Earth and Twin Earth, it appears to be an open question whether the switcher will have two sets of concepts, an Earthian and a Twin Earthian set, or just one set of concepts which are appropriate
103 to whatever environment is c urrently s haping those c oncepts. Boghossian notes that as the story is typically told the individual has only one set at a time, the set appropriate to the given environment. Boghossian employs the popular retelling, the one concept version, in his own argument. Boghossian presses the content externalist by focusing on how the switcher would answer questions about the content of his intentional states. If someone were to ask him, just after one set of twin earthian concepts has been displaced by a set of earthian one s, whether he has recently thought thoughts involving an arthritis like concept distinct from arthritis S would presumably say "no." And yet, of course, according to the anti individualist story, he has. His knowledge of his own past thoughts seems ve ry poor, but not presumably because he simply can't remember them. Could it be because he never knew them? 8 Boghossian then argues that to know what he thinks the switcher must be able to rule out relevant alternatives. A thought with the concept of tharthritis is a relevant alternative, Boghossian argues, to the switcher's present thought that involves the conc content e xternalism raises the possibility of relevant alternatives to thoughts that is not raised by c ontent i nternalism. Boghossian argues, then, that to know his thoughts the switcher must not only conside r b ut also rule out r elevant alternatives to know what he thinks. This means, of course, that he must reason to conclusions about the contents of his thoughts. This is surely incompatible with the immediacy and directness of self knowledge. If we know our tho ughts by reasoning, we do not have self knowledge of them. 8 (Boghossian 2008), page 147.
104 Ted 9 Here is his argument ( switch ) Let us call this Version of 1 of the Slow Switching Argument. Version 1 of the Slow Switching Argument ( P1 ) To know that P by introspection, S must be able to introspectively discriminate P from all relevant alternatives of P. (P2) S cannot introspectively discriminate water thought from twater thoughts. (P3) If the Switching Case is actual, then twater thoughts are relevant alternatives of water thoughts. ( C1 ) Warfield argues that all that follows is a much weaker conclusion. ( C1 ) If this is the conclusion, Warfield argues, then Boghossian has not demonstrated that self knowledge and content externalism are in compatible. At most he has shown that it is not necessarily true that we have self knowledge of our thoughts if content externalism is true. Peter Ludlow argues that Warfield mischara 10 He argues that ( P3 ) should be ca st not in terms of whether the switching case is actual but in terms of Let us call this Version 2. Version 2 of the Slow Switching Argument 9 See (Warfield 1992). 10 See (Ludlow 1995).
105 ( P1 ) To know that P by introspection, S must be able to introspectively discriminate P from all relevant alternatives of P. ( P2 ) S cannot introspectively discriminate water thought from twater thoughts. ( P3 ) If switching cases in general are prevalent, then there are relevant alternatives to water thoughts. 11 ( P4 ) Switching cases, in general, are prevalent. ( C1 ) Ludlow argues that multiple meaning words are common, and that speakers shifting from one community to another will often find themselves using a word to express a thou ght that has a different meaning in different communities. Here is an example that Ludlow gives of this phenomenon. Suppose for example that Biff, who knows little of Am erican philosophy, understands may speak of these colleagues at home as pragmatists as well, not knowing that the expres sion has different meanings in the two worlds th at he moves between. During a conversa tion with on e group or another, Biff may even wonder whether a particular member of the group is a pragmatist. Of course the content of the mental episode will depend on the moment (assuming he has spent enough time with them). On ce again, Biff is an unwitting victim of slow sw itching. 12 The prevalence of these sorts of case s in Version 2 Ludlow se ems to me correct on t his score: situations where in the content of a thought changes due to an environmental shift and without any awareness on the subject's part are quite common if c ont ent e xternalism is true. 11 In this essay, certain premises in arguments may have an inverted comma attached to them, as in (P3') above. In this case, this indicates that (P3') is an iteration of (P3). Attached to premises, the inverted comma should be taken to have the same connota tion through this essay. 12 (Ludlow 1995), page 228.
106 argument. He argues as follows. I fail to see how Ludlow thinks he has improv e d upon Bog fallacious argument. clai ms is that there is a possible world, the actual world, in which externalism is true a nd individuals lack privilege d self knowledge of some of their thought contents. Thi shows at most that externalism is consistent with a la ck of self claim do nothing towards showing that externalism implies a lack of self knowledge. 13 I take it that Boghossian thinks that it is not just in the actual world that self knowledge and content externalism are incompatible ; his argument aims to show that in any world in wh ich content externalism is true, individuals do not have direct self kn owledge of the content of their thoughts, due to the very nature of content externalism. Conte nt e xternalism itself does not logically imply or entail the denial of self knowledge. Rather, it is in conjunction with other plausible claims or premises (P1, P in Version 2 ) that the truth of content externalism leads to an absurd consequence. We can understand this as a reductio ad absurdum argument in favor of content i nternalism. 14 There is no reason to think t hat self knowledge and c ontent e xternalism are compatible in some worlds but not compatible i t hat the nature of conte nt e xternalism makes it such that individuals lack self knowledge of some of their thought contents. 13 (Ludlow 1995), page 233. 14 See (Ludlow 1997).
107 argument. For instance, on the face of it, ( P 1) seems to make problematic assumptions about what is required for self knowledge. ( P1 ) To know that P by introspection, S must be able to introspectively discriminate P from all relevant alternatives of P. In Chapter 2 we discussed how the directness of self knowledge requires that we know our own thoughts without the benefit of evidence. As it is written, (P1) may seem to require that subjects use introspective evidence to arrive at self knowledge. At this point, i t is important to note that Boghossian himself does not use the term Here is a revealing passage. What does S know? By assumption, he is not aware that the switches have taken place and nothing about his qualitative mental life or his perceived environment tips him off. Inde ed, S may not even be aware of the existence of twin earth or o f the dependence of content on environment. As far as S is concerned, he has always lived on e arth. 15 W e should be a bit cautious about using the term "introspection," then, in a proper characterization of Boghossian's argument. The key to understand ing Boghossian's argument is seeing that if content e xternalism is true, then there will be relevant alternatives to certain th oughts that a subject must rule out to know what he thinks. Let us recast the argument as follows without the use of the term "introspection Let us call this "Version 3." Version 3 of the Slow Switching Argument (P1 ) If there are relevant alternative s to p, then S must rule out those alternatives to know p. 15 (Boghossian 2008), page 148..
108 (P2) If content e xternalism is true, then there are relevant alternatives to certain thoug ht contents (such as the belief that water is vital to life and the belief that twater is vital to l ife). (P3) S must rule out relevant alternatives to have knowledge of certain thoughts. (P4) Ruling out relevant alternatives involves reasoning. (C1) Knowing our thoughts by reasoning to them is not sufficient for the directness required for self knowledge. The support for (P3) and (P4) comes from the following passage. S has to be able to exclude the possibility that his thought involved the concept arthritis rather than the concept tharthritis before he can be said to know what his thought is. But this means that he has to reason his way to a conclusion about his thought; an d reason to it, moreover, from evidence about his external environment which, by assumption, he does not possess. How, then, can he know his t hought at a ll? much less know it directly? 16 I want to draw attention to these two questions that Boghossian asks here. They seem to suggest that there are two possible conclusions we can draw from this argument. (C1) from V ersion 3 of the Slow Switching A rgument is related to the question of how we can know our thoughts directly if we must reason to their contents. This is one way to understand the argument that Boghossian gives. It does not seem to me, though, to be the best way to understand the argument. Let me e xplain. The primary question seems to be the question of how the subject can know his thoughts at all if content e xternalism is true. The basic idea here is not that the subject must reason to his thought content by ruling out relevant alternatives but t hat he is in no position to rule out relevant alternatives based on how the situation is set up. Content e xternalism creates the possibility of relevant alternatives to certain thought contents, and such alternatives cannot even be considered, let alone rule out, in the slow 16 (Boghossian 2008), page 148.
109 switching case. The switcher, remember, does not have any information about the switching or abo ut the difference between water and twater, so he does not have enough information to conceive of relevant alternatives to thoughts he takes to be about water. We can characterize this argument as follows. Let us call this Version 4. Version 4 of the Sl ow Switching Argument (P1 ) If there are relevant alternatives to p, then S must rule out those alternatives to know p. (P2) If content e xternalism is true, then there are relevant alternatives to certain thoug ht contents (such as the belief that water is vital to life and the belief that twater is vital to life). (P3) S is not capable of ruling out the relevant alternatives to certain thoughts. (P4) S cannot know the content of certain thoughts because S is not in a position to rule out rel evant alternatives. (C1) Therefore, if content e xternalism is true, S cannot know the content of certain thoughts. This argument should be seen in light of the primary question (How can the switcher know his thought at all ? ) because if the subject is no t in a position to conceive of relevant alternatives, then the point that he must reason to the content of his thoughts by ruling out rel evant alternatives does not get a foothold. It is fine, of course, to make the point that even if the subject could conceive of relevant alternatives to certain thought contents, then to know those thought contents he must reason to those by ruling out those relevant alternatives. This point would be relevant if it turned out that the subject could in fact conceive of relevant alternatives. However, it is clear from the way the switching case is described that the subject cannot conceive of the relevant alternatives, as he has no information about the switch or of the underlying chemical structure of t he water like substance in the environment.
110 Of course, all the versions of the slow switching argument discussed above depend on some relatively controversial premises, mainly the connection between discriminating between relevant alternatives and knowle dge. Aside from being somewhat controversial, this connection between discrimination, relevant alternatives and knowledge though interesting in its own right, is orthogonal to question of the compatibility between self knowledge and content e xternalism. T he argument should be understood without appeal to discrimination and relevant alternatives, so it turns out that the focus on discrimination and relevant alternatives in the incompatibi list literature is a red herring. Be cause it is controversial that S 's knowing p requires S to discriminate p from relevant alternatives to p, we should be wary of using that premise in our argument. I think that we can use the switching case to support the following sort of argument, retaining the spirit of Boghossian's a rgument while freeing ourselves of the questionable commitment to the connection between discrimination and knowledge. What is required is translating the talk of relevant alternatives into talk about personal and intersubjective concepts. Let us call th is Version 5 of the Slow Switching Argument." Version 5 of the Slow Switching Argument (P1 ) There are cases in which S's personal concept of X can stay the same even if the intersubjective concept of X changes. (P2) If S's thought contents about X are shaped by the intersubject ive concept of X, in other words, if content e xternalism is tr ue, then there are cases where S 's thought will change without a change in personal concept. (P3) The change in thought content will be due to a factor to which the su bject does not have first person access.
111 (C1) If content e xternalism is true, subjects lack first person access to certain thought contents. The truth of (P1) and (P2) seen by reflecting on the switching cases. I think this talk of personal and intersubj ective concepts is sufficiently faithful to the spirit of Boghossian's argument. Consider a previously quoted passage from his paper about the nature of the subject's concepts. If someone were to ask him, just after one set of twin earthian concepts has been displaced by a set of earthian ones, whether he has recently thought thoughts involving an arthritis like concept distinct from arthritis S would presumably say "no." And yet, of course, according to the anti individualist story, he has. His knowledg e of his own past thoughts seems very poor, but not presumably because he simply can't remember them. Could it be because he never knew them? Asking the subject this sort of qu estio n, a question about hi s concepts, is the right one to ask here. It brings o ut rather clearly that there has been no change in how he thinks about water. We can grant that the intersubjective concept of water has changed such that this concept picks out XYZ and nothing else. However, the subject would not describe his own concept of water as exclusively picking out XYZ. If we grant that there is a distinction between personal and intersubjective concepts, then there is no reason to resist this sort of argument. 17 Properly articulated, slow sw itching can be used to show the fatal fla w of content e xternalism: that the content of thoughts is determined via the intersubjective concepts associated with terms. These are not concepts a subject has direct awareness of or first person access to. Therefore, there are cases in which a subject's access to a content of a thought will not be of a first person sort, but rather the 17 I offer some considerations in Chapter 5 that lend support to the distinction between subj ective and intersubjective concepts.
112 same as everyone else's. I should also add here that intersubjective concept instantiate extrinsic properties while personal concepts, properly understood, do not. To resist such an argument it will not do to argue, as Warfield does, that the switching case is not a relevant alternative. Ludlow's point that there are many times when a subject switches between linguistic commun ities shows that there are many actual cases where the concept a subject associates with a term and the intersubjective concept associated with that term will differ. "Football" is an English word that provides a ready example. Suppose there is an American who does not know that the British call soccer "football." As far as he knows, "football" refers only to American football. When vacationing in England, he visits a pub and starts discussing sports with the pub's British clientele. Suppose he says, "Footb all is the greatest sport on Earth." According to the content externalist, his thought is that soccer is the greatest sport on Earth even though he has no idea that soccer is called "football" in Britain He intends to assert of course that American foo tball is the greatest sport on Earth, as he believes that American football is the greatest sport on Earth. This is a much homier example than the switching case that involves Earth and Twin Earth. And h omey examples are plentiful; t here are many cases whe re the concept a subject associates with a term differs from the intersubjective concept associated with that term. Thus, if content externalism is true, there are many ca ses where subjects do not have first person access to their thoughts.
113 Other Incompat ibi list Arguments Phenomenal Properties and Privileged, First Person Access to Intentional Content As for other incompatibi list arguments, I want to begin by discussing an argument that can seem similar to my own argument for incompatib i lism. Distinguishin g this argument from my own will help to point out certain virtues of my own argument. In the switching case, the switcher's qualitative mental life stays the same while his thought contents switch. There are many who think that one's phenomenal properties are the properties to which one has first person access. There is a temptation, then, to offer the following sort of argument. If a subject has privileged access to his intentional contents it is by way of privileged access to phenomenal properties. The phenomenal properties of the switcher stay the same in all environments even though ther e is a change in intentional content in different environments. The environmental properties that are responsible for these changes are not properties a subject has first person access to. Therefore, thought contents are not always contents a subject has p rivileged access to. This sort of argument uses the switching case as a backdrop to make the point. The problem with this argument is that it makes heady assumptions about the dependence of intentional content of phenomenal properties. 18 We would need to have an independent argument for that dependence to properly support the incompatibi list argument sketched in this section. I discuss these sorts of arguments in Chapter 6, but nothing in my own argument requires such dependence of intentional content on 18 This argument also assumes that phenomenal properties supervene on intrinsic properties (phenomenal internalism) rather than extrinsic properties (phenomenal externalism).
114 p henomenal properties. What is required is that intentional content is to be cashed out in terms of personal concepts and not intersubjective concepts if subjects are to have first person access to their intentional contents. No specific relationship betwee n personal concepts and phenomenal properties is required (although the content internalist should hold that personal concepts supervene on just intrinsic properties) Of course, th ere may be some connection between personal concepts and phenomenal propert ies yet to be spelled out. However, my own argument does not require an articulation of that connection, if there is one The argument I make is independent of phenomenal properties, and more directly gets to the heart of the incompatibility of content e xt ernalism and first person access to intentional c ontent. It may turn out that the above argument is also an argument for i ncompatibi lism, but if it is, it will be so only in a derivative way, based on some grounding of personal concepts in phenomenal prope rties. Content Externalism and A Priori Access to the External World In addition to the slow switching style incompatibi list arguments I have been discussing, there is another prominent incompatibi list form of argument, first introduced by McKinsey in "Anti Individualism and Privileged Access McKinsey argued that if content e xternalism is true and privileged access is true, then we can gain a priori knowledge of the empirical world, which is absurd. To avoid this absurdity, we must reject either co ntent e xternalism or privileged access. The argument is roughly as follows. If content e xternalism is true, then certain thoughts have their contents only if the environment is a certain way. If privileged access is true, then we know the contents of our t houghts in an a priori fashion, without, that is, the benefit of empirical investigation. However, this appears to entail that in virtue of the a priori access we
115 have to our thoughts and the environmental dependence of their content, we can know empirical facts based purely on a priori investigation. Much has been written about this argument. I will not address this debate here. An argument for i nco mpatibi lism has already been advanced which I think gets to the he art of the incompatibility more straightf orwardly than the McKinsey style arguments. And w e have already discussed some of the difficulty of assimilating talk of privileged access or self knowledge to talk of a priori knowledge, namely that reducing or assimilating the concept of privileged acces s to a priori knowledge seems to reverse the proper order of the reduction. We appear to have a much clearer gra sp on the concept of first person access than the concept of a priori knowledge. So, that point alone should give us some reason to suspect that the above argument is not as clean and straightforward as it first appears. The focus of this project has been on first person access to intentional c ontent, both its necessity for rational agency and its incompatibility with content e xternalism. Though s ome version of McKinsey's argument may be sound, we need not seek such a version here, as we have already s een an argument that shows that first person access to intentional c ontent is incompatible with content e xternalism. Internalism and Externalism abo ut Justification So far we have discussed externalism as it relates to language ( semantic e xternalism), to intentionality ( content e xternalism ), and to experience ( phenomenal e xternalism ). Externalism is often invoked in epistemology as well. We shall now examine the extent to which externalism in ep istemology bears on i ncompatibi lism. A good deal has been written about externalism and internalism in epistemology. Traditionally, philosophers have tended to be epistemic internalist s understanding
116 knowledg e as true, justified belief of a proposition, with justification understood as somehow has traditionally turned on a though, due to the work of rel iab i lists, philosophers bega n to question epistemic inter nalism. Perhaps justification i s a more objective matter the thought ru n s A subject may have knowledge of a proposition if such knowledge is the result of a reliable method, even if that method is not something of which the subject is aware. It is best to see the internalism and externalism debate in epistemology as one about justification. So understood, we can define the general positions as follows. The thesis of e pistemic e xternalism : hat p is s intrinsic properties The thesis of e pistemic i nternalism : Before moving further, it is worth remembering that my view of how each person knows his own mind is one that endorses e pistemic e xternalism. second order beliefs about first order intentional states does not supervene solely o n it depends on external factors. In "Externalism and Mind and Epistemology" Jessica Brown raises some worries about the compatibility of any plausible form of epistemic i nternalism with content e xternalism. She quite u sefully outlines three versions of epistemic i nternalism and then measures their compatibility with content e xternalism Supervenience of the mental (SM): whether a thinker is justified in believing p r ent and disposition al mental states. Supervenience of the accessible (SA): whether a thinker is justified in believing p supervenes on those states to which she has special access.
117 Access internalism (AI): 19 Brown argues that SM is the only version that is potentially compatible with content e xternal ism, and that there are problems with SM. If her arguments are successful, it looks like epistemic i nternalism is incompatible with content e xternalism. The issue of the compatibility of these two theses is no doubt an interesting one. However, it does not track the issue we confronted in the argument for incompatibility above. The issue there, in short, was about whether c onte nt e xternalism is compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent, not with certain views about justification. If we have independently plausible reasons for adopting epistemic i nternalism, then we would have another argument against content e xternalism. I cannot help myself to such an argument, given what I have said about the justification for self knowledge. 20 Whether or not that will convince epistemic internalists about self knowledge to reconsider their views is an issue for another time. It is enough at this point to note that t here is room for another incompatibilist argument against content e xternalism based on epistemological concerns. Some may think t hat the incompatibi list argument against c ontent e xternalism works only if we assume epistemic i nternalism. However, this is no t true. Even though Brown convincingly argues that all plausible versions of epistemic i nternalism may be incompatible with content e xternalism, the argument I advance above is independent of these concerns. 19 (Goldberg 2007), page 32 33. 20 For what i t is worth, it seems to me that the question of the correct view of justification is actually relative to the sort of knowledge in question. It seems to me to be likely that justification is externalistic for certain domains of knowledge and internalistic for others.
118 To sum up, we have seen that content e xternalism is incompatible with first person access to intentional c ontent. Some philosophers may view this as a difficulty, given the wide spread acceptance of content e xternalism. We may seem to b e faced with a dilemma: r eject content e xternalism or first person access to intentional c ontent. Either option seems troubling. If we reject content e xternalism we are turning our backs on powerful philosophical arguments. If we accept these powerful arguments, we will have to turn our backs not onl y on first person access to intentional c ontent but also on rationality. In C hapter 5 I argue that the arguments supporting content e xternalism are not as strong as some have thought. Seeing this will relieve the pressure that some may feel about giving up on content e xternalism.
119 CHAPTER 5 RETHINKING CONTENT E XTERNALISM In the debate of whether content e xternalism is compatible with self knowledge, it is clear that many philosophers do not want to give up content e xternalism. Some have thought that if self knowledge conflicts with content e xternalism, then we need to revise our ordinary conception of self knowledge. As I said earlier, I think that we should reject content e xternalism if there is truly a conflict. Having shown that there is a conflict between content e xternalism and first person access to i ntentional c ontent, it is now time to come to terms with rejecting content e xternalism. In this chapter I shall respond to the argument s for the types of content e xternalism w e discussed in Chapter 3 By reexamining the arguments for content e xternalism afresh I hope that they will seem less powerful than they have seemed to many philosophers. The purpose of this c hapter is to show that we do not have compe lling reasons to ado pt content e xternalism based on the arguments for social e xternalism, natural kind e xternalism or singular thought externalism Not only do we have reason for rejecting these arguments due to the incompatibility of their conclusions with first person acces s to intentional c ontent but i t also turns out that there are not good independent reason s for adopting them in the first place. Thus, the goal of this chapter is to relieve any anxiety some may have for rejecting content e xternalism. Rethinking Social E xternalism Here is a generalized form of the argument that is shared by both natural kind e xternalism and social e xternalism. (P1) Beliefs and other intentional states are to be individuated by their truth conditions.
120 (P2) It is possible for individuals to have the same intrinsic properties and yet assent to a sentence that has different truth conditions in different worlds. (C1) Therefore, it is possible to have two individuals who share all the same intrinsic properties and have different beliefs. (C2) intrinsic properties. T he important question in assessing arguments for social e xternalism is this. At each respective world, what are the t r uth conditions of the sentence assented to by the subjects in the thought experiments? Let us recall subjects assent to experimen ts is that in the actual wo arthriti has its normal meaning and in the means any rheumatoid ailment in the body. In the thought experiment, the individuals share all A means different things at each worl d, so the truth conditions of the beliefs will differ as a direct result of the diff in each world. The intrinsic properties of the subjects are the same. The content of their beliefs differ. Therefore, intentional content i The Limits of the Disquotation Principle One way to see the problem with social e xternalism is by examining its commitment to what has been called the disquotation principle The disquotation pri nciple concerns the relationship between the language of intentional state reports (ascriptions) and the content of intentional states. Saul Kripke names this prin Puzzle about Belief He replaced, inside and outside of all quotation marks, by any appropriate standard English
121 1 The idea is that if a speaker sincerely assents to a sentence, then he believes the content which that sentence expresses. In other words, the sentence he assents to is the vehicle appropriate for expressing the content of his belief. This principle m believes that p. When I sincerely assert, seems obvious that I believe that Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar. This principle clearly guides our interpretative practices, but there are instances when more is needed than a simple application of it; we shall see that sometimes the sentence to which a subject assents is not the sentence that best captures the content of his belief. The disquotation principle is fundamental to the argument for social externalism. A good deal of criticism of social e xternalism focuses on problems arising from a strict application of the disquotation principle at the public meaning of the sentence a believer assents to is what in all instances give s the content of a subject Here again, is a quotation from Davidson that captures this concern. It seems false that our intuitions speak strongly in favor of understanding and interpreting would mean by the same words. For one thing, there is the problem of deciding what group is to determine the norms. But more important, we understand a speaker best when we inte rpret him as he intended to be interpreted; this will explain his actions far better than if we suppose he means and thinks what someone else might mean and think who us ed the same words 2 We can see the limits of the disquotation principle in Kripke's case of Pierre. In "A Puzzle about Belief" Kripke discusses the case of the Frenchman Pierre. While living in 1 (Kripke 1979), page 895. 2 (Davidson 2001), page 198 199.
122 France, monolingual Pierre comes to assent to the sentence "Londres est jolie" from hearing stories of London and its charm. Later, he moves to England, and begins to learn English. Bilingual Pierre lives in London, which he does not find pretty. He fails to make the connection that the L ondres from the stories he has hea rd and his current city are the self same place. Kripke thinks that there is a problem. Pierre has not relinquished his belief that London is pretty; he would still assent to the sentence "Londres est jolie." He also clearly believes that London is not pret ty because he would His beliefs are clearly contradictory. Kripke thinks that there is no plausible way out of this puzzle. We must accept that he believes both that London is and is not pretty. John Biro argues that puzzle dissolves once we see that his argument assumes that we must always apply the principle of disquotation in determining the content of intentional states. 3 Once we realize, Biro points o ut, that we need not always rel y merely on the disquot ation principle to deter mine what someone believes, the puzzle disappears. It is not hard to see that Pierre does not realize that the names are co referring. Based on this, we should conclude that his concept s of London and Londres differ. Since concepts clearly play a role in constituting beliefs, the use of just the disquotation principle should give us pause as it is not always sensitive enough to the concepts a subject associates with the terms used in the intentional state ascriptions Biro notes that we should draw the following morals from the Pierre case. The general principle about belief attribution which thes e cases serve to underline is, roughly, this: to the extent to which someone is no t fully aw are 3 See (Biro 1984).
123 of the actual or conventional references of the names he uses, such referen ce should not be used by third parties to land him with beliefs which only some one who is aware of them would rationally hold. The b elief we must attribute to some one we are try ing to interpret is his belief, not ours, and there is no guarantee that we do this i f in specifying the content of the belief we use expressions whose semantic conte nt may be obscured from him by idiosyncratic semantic beliefs he happens to hold conce rnin g those expressions. 4 In the case of Pierre, it is easy to imagine an interlocutor asking him how he can believe that the same thing both is pretty and is not pretty. At some point in his discussion with the interlocutor Pierre would no doubt realize tha are co referring. At which point he would no doubt cease to Af ter all, in assessing the content of a intentional states, we start with the words a speaker himself uses to describe his intentional states. However, there are clearly cases, as in the case of Pierre, where using this principles leads us to attr not correct. arthritis example also adheres to o rigidly to him the belief that he has arthritis in his thigh. To be sure, i t seems very natural to apply the disquotation principle. However, in cases wh ere we attribute to a subject inconsistent belief s we should do more work to assess the content of his belief. Rathe r than attribute to the patient the belief that he has an ailment ex clusively of joints to an area of his body other than his joints, we should attempt to get a better sense of his 4 (Biro 1984), page 273.
124 concept of arthritis. It i s clear that the patient thinks arthri tis is an ailment, but he does no t understand the limits of its locality When we are sensitive to his concept of arthritis, it seems proper to attribute to him the belief that he has an ailment in his thigh that feels to him like arthritis (but of course is not) Usually the disquotation principle is a reliable guide to content det ermination, as speakers often use terms competently. However, as the examples above show, there are clearly cases where they do not. If an agent is confused about the meaning of a certain term, then the disquotation principle will not be a reliable guide to determine the content of intention al states that ascribed to him (by himself or others) using the term about which he is confused. We need to use a more complicated method to determine what t he subject believes a method which involves getting a better idea of the concept the speaker intends to of the situation, the subject associates th e concept of a rheumatoid ailment that can a concept that picks out any rheumatoid ailment H e thus has the true belief that he has tharthritis in his thigh, and the false meta ailment. Here is Crane. On this diagnosis, the n Alf has a true belief, I have tharthritis in my thigh, a false beli ef to se ntence to express this belief, arthritis in my his belief is true, he says something false when he attem pts to expr ess it. This sounds paradoxical, but it becomes clear when we distingu ish, as we did when discussing
125 Putnam, between the meanings of sentence in public languages and the contents of beliefs 5 The method of determining thought content expressed above, a me thod that involves more than apply ing the disquotation principle, a llows us capture the when we attribute intentional states to him The idea is that the personal concept that an agent associates with a ter m is what constitutes an when the personal and intersubjective concept s diverge. Frequently, personal con cept lines up with the respective intersubjective concept. It is hard to see how we could communicate effectively if this were not s o. However, malapropisms, spoonerisms, and the like show that there are instances (often humorous ones) where the personal concept an agent associates with a term does not correspond to the intersubjective concept associated with that term. In order to pro perly interpret someone, and there by attribute the correct intentional states to someone required for interpretation, we often need to distinguish between both the personal meaning and personal concept someone associates with a term and the intersubjective meaning and intersubjective concept associated with that term. There are other elements we must draw on in interpretation as well, such as speaker intentions. We must draw on these Applying the disquotation principle alone will have u s attributing to the speaker the belief that comparisons have a smell. There a re other elements we must distinguish between in order to properly interpret the speaker, such as the personal conc ept being ssociated with that same 5 (Crane 1991), page 298.
126 term. In sum, o ur normal method for attributing the content of intentional states to others is much more flexible and complex than a mere application of the disqu otation principle. Many others have noted that the argument for social e xternalism relies on a questionable assumption. This assumption expresses an explicit commitment to the disquotation principle. Kent Bach writes, of this thought experim ent is the assumption that, if clause of a n attitude attribution, one is imputing to the subject the notion expressed by the term and is further, including it in the content of t he attitude being attr ibuted. 6 This is a questionable assumption, for even if one is correctly using a term in the that clause of a belief attribution, there is no guarantee that the subject and attributor's understanding of the term is similar enough to warrant the attribution of the attributor's concept of a term to the subject. Sameness of the de dicto or oblique occurrence of a general term in two belief ascriptions implies, if everything else is the same, sameness of the ps ychological content of the two beliefs thus ascribed. 7 we cannot use the disquotatio n principle to correct ly determine what someone believe s, as we end up attributing obviously contradictory beliefs to a supposed rational agent. 8 6 (Bach 1988), page 92. 7 (Loar 1985), page 183. 8 This is not to suggest that to count as a rational agent one must have a completely consistent set of beliefs. This would be too high a standard. However, in the case where the beliefs are blatantly contradictory, such as in the belief that London is pret ty and the belief that London is not pretty, it would violate principles of interpretation to attribute such beliefs to a rational agent. Furthermore, it is clear from the example, that the subject associates two different concepts with
127 There is no principled reason that we must always attribute to subjects the intersubjective concept s associate d with terms o f intentional state ascriptions Communication and the attribution of intentional content is much more complex th an is allowed for by merely applying the disquotation principle For this reason, we have a principled reason for rejectin g socia l externalism It is not merely that it is in conflict with first person access to intentional c ontent. I t also forces on us an implausible and false principle of belief attribution. Rethinking Natural Kind Externalism As I noted earlier, the arguments for social e xternalism and natural kind e xternalism share a similar form. (P1) Beliefs and other intentional states are to be individuated by their truth conditions. (P2) It is possible for individuals to have the same intrinsic properties and yet asse nt to a sentence that has different truth conditions in different worlds. (C1) Therefore, it is possible to have two individuals who share all the same intrinsic properties and have different beliefs. (C2) Therefore, some intentional content is not sol intrinsic properties. While the well known arg uments for natural kind e xternalism and social e xternalism share this same form, they differ in how they motivate (P2). As for natural kind e xternalism, Twin Earth is typically invoked to support the idea that two individuals who share all the same intrinsic properties can assent to sentences with different truth conditions in different worlds They would both, for example, assent to the sentence, an agree that the sentence is true if and only if water is vital to in personal concepts.
128 life. However, not everyone agrees on what exactly water is. The intuiti on that seems to have won out is that something is water if and only if it is H 2 is vital is true if and only if H 2 O is vital to life. I want to discuss two responses to this argument. The first response is from Eddy Zemach, who argues against the id ea that water is necessarily H 2 O. The second response is from Tim Crane, who argues that the thinkers on Earth and Twin Earth who in virtue of sharing the same concept of water. I believe that both of these responses to various aspects of the argument for natural kind e xternalism are successful, and once properly appreciated, show us that the Twin Earth argumen t for content e xternalism i s not as strong as has been thought. Zemac In challen ges the idea that the extension differs on Earth and Twin Earth using extension of a substance term, we first look to what most people refer to using that term. Next, we examine the microstructural properties o f that substance. Only substances with those microstructural properties are counted in the extension of th e to refer to the substance in the lakes and streams, and so on. This substance is H 2 refers to H 2 O and nothing else. Zemach begins his paper by noting that it far from clear that Earthians and Twin Earthians are in different languages co mmunities. If they are in the same language community, then by erence fixing the ex is
129 H 2 O and XYZ. Even if there is a way to show that English speakers on Earth and Twin Earth are in different language communities, Zemach notes that it is far from clear that those on Earth would not call the liquid that functi ons and Earthme n, too, may call the substance in the seas, lakes, e tc., of Twin Earth by the name chemically sophisticated and discover that Earth water has a different molecular str uc ture from that of Twin Earth water, and they might continue to do so even after having made this discovery. That is, they may say that what has been discovered is that some water is made out of H 2 O molecules and some water is made out of XYZ molecule s, but both are equally water. After all, this is exactly what we say of so many oth er materials: paper may have widely different chemical structures, and so may sand, and cloth, and sto ne, and hair, and glue, and Chemical constitution is not always decisi ve in determining our usage of substance names. 9 It seems to me that this response has not been fully appreciated by most Putnam appears to have too much confidence in the response that XYZ would not be called water ites, If a spaceship from Earth ever visits Twin Earth, then the sup position at first will be that arth. This supposition will be Earth is XYZ, and the Earthian spaceship will report somewhat as follows: 10 here has th e Even with this distinction, i t is still an open question whether or not the Earthians in the spaceship would think that XYZ is water or some other substance. Even if we grant that the extension of "water" differs at each world, it is still another question whether XYZ is water. 9 (Zemach 1976), page 62. 10 (Putnam 1975), page 10.
130 To strengthen the point that substance terms may have disjunctive extensions, Zemach notes that on in such a way. He writes, Consider the case of heavy water. Nothing that is composed of D 2 O molecules is composed of H 2 O molecules, yet (Saul Kripke to the con trary) heavy water is commonly regarded as a kind of water. The same holds for aggregates of T 2 O, HDO, HTO, and DTO molecules (the number of varieties is eighteen, since in each case the oxygen can be either O 16 or O 17 or O 18 ). All these, we say, are dif fe rent kinds of water. Moreover, there is no chemical constitution common to all bodie s of ordinary water; different samples differ chemically. Ordinary water contains some D 2 O, some H 2 O 2 some H 2 O 3 a large amount of sodium chloride, and various minerals if English speakers have the also add aggregates of XYZ molecules to this list, and Putnam will have to accept this classificat ion as an uncontestable datum. 11 The actual practice of Engl ish speakers to aggregates of molecules other than H 2 O suggests that according to Putna is not in fact H 2 O and therefore not necessarily H 2 O. The lesson in all this is that the essence of water is not found in its underlying microstructural properties. Rather, the essence of water is found in its functional and appearance properties. If a substance functions as water does and looks like water then it counts as water. i s on the nature of substances, Tim intentional content. Crane begins by noting that the argument for natur al kind externalism turns on how we understand the t ruth conditions of the sentence the Earthian and Twin Earthian assent to. Crane asks, Why should we believe it [that the truth conditions of the se ntences differ at each world]? Why should a difference i n the chemical structure of water aff ect the truth conditions of 11 (Zemach 1976), pages 62 63.
131 instance, that if there were such a substance as XYZ, all this would show is (1977), p. 303 ). And indeed, we knew this already, since it would surely be stipulative to deny that heavy water (D 2 O) is really water. So why does t he fact that most of our water is H 2 across Earth and Twin Ear th? 12 The idea here is that if we consider the point of Zemach (and Mellor) about the being disjunctive, then it is far from clear that the truth conditions of the sentence would differ at each world. If the truth conditions do not diff er, then, the respective content of the intentional state s will not differ and then a Twin Earth style thought experiment could not be used to show that natural kind e xternalism is true. This would be enough for someone who rejects the idea that water is necessarily H 2 O. Of course there are many who accept this idea and also in general accept that other substances have essential natures that are based in their microstructural properties. For these individuals, Crane offers some additional considerations. Crane offers another response, which we can call the common concept response. The basic idea here is that the truth condit ions of the sentence in question (for example, persona l concept of water. Take aluminum and molybdenum, two practically indist inguishable metals whose names (and relative scarcity) are switched on Earth and Twin Ea rth. And suppose my Twin and I are atom for atom identical. Putnam says that the mean Twin and me is unde rdetermined by our narrow states t he states we share. Our narrow states determine molybdenum and aluminum as the ext ension of our uses of the word as a full u nderstanding of the meanings of our words? Why not say that we have the same concept (call it 12 (Crane 1991), page 290.
1 32 molybdenum alike? The concept molyminum will distinguish less finely between substan ces than the concepts aluminum and m olybdenum. 13 One way to understand this suggestion is in terms of personal and intersubjective c oncepts. There is the personal concept of molyminum (that corresponds to the personal the example above), and there are the intersubjective concept of aluminum and the intersubjective concept of molybdenum, which neither Crane nor his Twin fully grasp. Their personal concepts do not distinguish between the substances aluminum and molybdenum while the respective intersubjective concepts of aluminum and of molybdenum of course do In ch we should cash out the truth conditions in terms of personal concepts as opposed to intersubjective ones. In charac terizing the public meanings of sentences, we should cash out the truth conditions in terms of the intersubjective concept (the concept shared by those in the know). 14 Thus, th will have the same truth conditions when it comes to the Earthian and Twin Earthian beliefs about the water like substances in their respective environments, because they share the same concept. Their beliefs are true if and only if H 2 O or XYZ (or whatever plays the watery role) is vital to human life, because the Earthian and Twin Earthian have the same personal concept of water, a concept which applies equally to H 2 O or XYZ or anything that functions and looks lik e wate will not be determined by a personal concept, but will be determined by those in the 13 (Crane 1991), page 291. 14 These two sentences essentially say that we should be content internalists and semantic externalists.
133 know. I have suggested that the reference for (what the intersubjective concept picks out) should be considered to be whatever plays a water role and looks like water, allows for a distinction between personal and intersubjective concepts. For example, there are those that think that water is necessarily H 2 O, and therefore that the public meaning of will be constrained by this fact. As Putnam has argued, if has a different extension at Earth and Twin Earth, then by the assumption that meaning determines reference, the tota w differs at Earth and Twin Earth. Howev should be determined, we can leave that question open and still respond to the argument for natural kind externalism using should be c ashed out in terms of personal and not intersubjective concepts. Aside from providing a way to avoid the content externalist's conclusion, w e have independent reasons to prefer this sort of strategy. Distinguishing between personal and intersub jective concepts, cashing out a subject's intentional states relative to personal concepts, and cashing out public meaning relative to intersubjective concepts are all required to make sense of certain forms of communication. As Crane points out a distinc tion between conventional (or linguistic) meaning and speaker meaning (what the speaker intends to express) is required to make sense of many non literal uses of language, such as punning. The attendant intentional states involved in instances of non liter al uses of language also require us to make a distinction between personal and intersubjective concepts. Sometimes speech contains puns where th e speaker intentionally uses language in an aberrant way for effect. Sometimes speech contains
134 unintentional mis uses of language, such as malapropisms or spoonerism. To make sense of the content of such utterances, we need to distinguish between conventional meani ng and speaker meaning. Take the example we have been using from who s ays, About Nothing, Act 3, Scene V). We do not interpret the speech to mean that comparisons give off a smell, even though that is the literal meaning. We take the spe aker to be intending to speak truthful and mistaken i n his use of words. We k now that he meant to say that comparisons are odious. Likewise, we do not attribute to him the belief that comparisons give off a smell, but the belief that they are very unpleasant. To do this we need to distinguish between the con cept the subject associates with one we employ all the time, and not one merely crafted as a response to the arguments for natural kind externalism. Taking stock The responses of Crane and Zemach have different targets. Zemach sets out to against the idea that Twin Earth can be used to show that natural kind externalism is respon se can be used to argue against natural kind externalism in the necessarily H 2 O. Substances with other microstructures can be water, as long as they have all the functi onal and appearance properties of water. Thus, if we have an Earthian and Twin Earthian who share the same intrinsic properties, their beliefs about the water vital to tions at each
135 world. On Earth the sentence is true if and only if water (H 2 O or XYZ o r another aggregate that functions likewise) is vital to human life. On Twin Earth, the truth condition s are the same. Thus, the respective beliefs are the same. that the Twin Earthian and the Earthian share the same concept of water, a concept that tracks the functional and ap pearance properties of water, or "superficial properties" as John ry to argument for the reference of substance terms, although that point is not one on which the main points of this ch apter turn ence of substance terms is well accepted by philosophers, I should stress that one can reject l reject natural kind e xternalism using Cran That is, one can necessarily refers to H 2 O and that the aforementioned beliefs of the Twin Earthian and Earthian do not differ. Granted the sentence omeone who necessarily refers to H 2 O but if we accept that the truth conditions for intentional states cepts and not the intersubjective concept of his community, then is not the best sentence to capture their shared personal concept of water. Perhaps, t captures their belief, as the properties, at least in the version of Twin Earth which we have been discussing. Those
136 of substance terms, and feel pressure to reevaluate commitments to natural kind externalism, should be relieved that they can reject content e xternalism and still hold the doctrine of a posteriori necessities. The disti nction between speaker meaning and sentence meaning and the attendant distinction between personal and intersubjective concepts that are required for the responses to social externalism and natural kind externalism should not be seen merely as the artifici al machinery of a response to a phi losophical argument, but as machinery that is required to make sense of many aspects of communication As mentioned previously there many instances in communication when we must make a distinction between not only conventional meaning and speaker meaning but also the concept a subject associates with a word and the intersubjective concept associated with a word. Rethinking Singular Thought Externalism In Chapter 3 we discussed J n of singular thought externalism individuated partly by the particular objects that are in her environment (see, e.g., Perry 1979; Kripke 1980; Evans 1982 ; Peacocke 1983; McDowell 1986; Salmon 19 86; 15 Let us review the argument for the conclusion that singular thoughts are individuated externalistically. 16 Brown asks us to imagine a thinker who has a perceptually demonstrative thou ght about an apple. To have such a thought, the subject must have first identified the apple by demonstration. Imagine a counterfactual situation in which, familiarly, everything is the same from the inside, as it 15 (Brown 2004), page 13. 16 properties.
137 were, and the difference lies outside: the re is a different apple. The intuition is supposed to be that the thoughts are different in virtue of being about different apples. The thoughts, then, would be individuated externalistic ally since the intrinsic properties of the subjects are the same and the intuition is that the thoughts are different. The thoughts are object dependent in that they are essentially identified by the objects they are about. The above argument is too quick. To accept the externalist conclusion, we need to hear more about the role that perceptions of objects play in the recipe of singular thought s Once we see the steps of the argument laid out, we shall see that there are options for resistance Argumen ts for Singular Thoughts being Individuated E xternalistic ally First, we should note that there are two possible conceptions of singular thought. according to which singular thoughts involve unmediated access to their objects. Russell thought that we must be acquainted with objects in order to have singular thoughts of them. Russellian acquaintance is famously demanding: we can be acquainted only with objects that we cannot possibly misidentify; this rules out singular thought about material, extra me ntal objects and any objects ou tside of sense data, universals and possibly the self Another conception allows that singular thoughts may be mediated b y some conceptual element. T houghts a re singular in so far as the concepts that constitute the thought are object dependen t. The nature of the concept of the obje ct is determined relationally; i t would not be the concept it is unless it were related in the proper way to the object that it is of. This second conception, the singular concept or de re concept view, is more common among philosophers today. I discuss a form of it first, then I discuss how a more
138 classically Russellian conception of singular thought can be used in an argument for the conc lusion that some of our singular thoughts are individuated e xternalistically. From de re c oncepts to content e xternalism t hought that departs from the classical Russellian view. He writes, Russellian acquaintance is an unmediated cog nitive relation It suggests the idea of pure de re thought, even though, of course, for Russell one cannot bear this relation to material objects other than oneself. Aside from its inspiration from Russell, whatever appeal there is to the idea of pure de re thought depend on a false dich otomy: the only alternative to thinking of an object under a description (i.e. individual c oncept), which does not really count as thinking of it in a de re way, is to think of it directly, in an unmedi ated way. But this di chotomy misrepresents the relevant contrast. The co ntrast is not between mediated and unmediated thinking. 17 Bach clearly thinks that we can have singular thoughts that do not involve the un mediated access to objects Russell envisioned. To articulate his c onception of singular thought, Bach deploys the notion of a de re representation, a representation of an object that instantiates extrinsic properties. This is what I shall mean by the phrase de re concept of an object. In order to have such a singular thought of an object we with an object initially to later have a singular thought of it. Bach notes that to have such a connection, we need not actually visually perceive the object. I can have a singular thoug ht about your mother, for example, if you tell me enough about her. Bach readily 17 (Jeshion 2010), page 54 55.
139 admits that it is not always easy to say what counts as a representation connection sufficient for singular thought. So, for example, does seeing a photograph or film of some one put one in a representational connection with them? Hearing reading of communication? For example, can you have singular thoughts about someone whose name you read on a lugga ge tag, in a phone book, or on a ined to think not. 18 We need not settle questions like this here. It is enough to note that singular thought begins with a representational connection between a subject and an object. A clear case of such a connection is visual perce ption. Less clear cases are ones such as seeing a name in a phone book or on a luggage tag. Next, the concept that factors into the singular thought that the subject has of the object as a result of the representational connect ion must meet some sort of strong uniqueness condition. 19 The concept must be uniquely attached in some way to the object it is of in order to establish the uniqueness that is required for singular thought. We can understand the uniqueness condition here in the following way. Two numerically distinct objects that cause qualitatively identical perceptions in a subject will be the source of two different concepts in virtue of their difference in the numerical identity of their objects In a case where a subjec t perceives numerically distinct objects as identical, the concepts he uses to think of those objects are individuated by the distinct objects they were caused by. Thus, we have a clear case wherein the subject 18 (Jeshion 2010) 19 I should note that a subject could of course have more than one concept of the same object and not realize that the concepts co refer. I may think of a person, for example, as my neighbor Mr. Gre en, and not realize that he is also the priest to whom I confess every Sunday. It seems possible that I can have distinct singular thoughts about the same object, assuming that singular thoughts can be constituted by concepts of objects and not the objects themselves.
140 instantiates the same intrinsic properties wh en thinking two different thoughts. The difference is in the external world. Thus, the thoughts instantiate extrinsic properties of their thinker in virtue of their respective concepts being uniquely tied to distinct particular objects. Here is summary of the argument. (P1) Numerically distinct objects that are qualitatively identical to subjects when initially perceived cause distinct concepts despite being perceived as identical. [ Uniqueness c ondition] (P2) the object perceived. (P3) In a case where a subject perceives numerically distinct objects as identical, the concepts he uses to think of those objects are individuated by th e objects they were caused by. (P4) The thoughts in these cases will be constituted in part by the concepts of the objects. (C1) Therefore, the thoughts will have different individuation conditions due to the difference in external objects. (C2) The difference in individuation conditions is due to a difference in extr insic properties of the thinkers The uniqueness c ondition is driving the externalist argument here, and I think that one can resist the argument by rejecting it. Consider the following c ase as a counterexample to the uniqueness c ondition. Imagine that I am shopping for tables. I see Table 1 in Store A. I note how it looks and its location next to the bookcases. I like Table 1, but I want to look at another st ore before I buy a table, so I decide to go to Store B As I leave Store A to go to Store B, I have formed a concept of Table 1 based on my visual perception of it. I do not see anything I like at Store B and therefore return to Store A. Unbeknownst to me, someone has bou ght Table 1 ( Let us say that s omeone liked Table 1 so much that they had to have the floor model and did not want one from the
141 store room. ) By the time I am back in the store, a new table, Table 2, has been It looks to me exactly as Table 1 did The question is whether I do in fact form a new concept based on perceiving this new table or not. Let us say that I just cannot decide whether I want to buy a table and leav e Store A. As I leave I think, t hat table is of good quality and is being sold at a reasonable price Th e question to ask here is not: W hat does my phrase that tab out? The question is: H ow many concepts do I have? Do I have a concept of both Table 1 and Table 2 ? One who holds the uniqueness c o ndition will say yes. It is far from clear to me that this is the correct response It seems to me that there is only one concept, the concept of the table that I saw in the store that looked thus and so and was located near the bookcases. Based on the sit uation, I do not have the ability to discriminate between Table 1 and Table 2. Had the staff explained to me what happened, I would surely be able to discriminate between the two tables However, as it stands, it seems to me that I have one concept, a conc ept t hat is not fine grained enough to distinguish between the two tables. Notice that I am not demanding anything as strict as Russellian acquaintance here. The point is that if the subject cannot discri minate between the two concepts ( the concept of Tabl e 1 and the concept of Table 2 ) then we have to ask whether there are really two concepts in play. It seems to me that there are no t in virtue of the subjective in distinguishability of the two putative concepts. It seem s that there is but one concept I s hould note that I can still surely refer to both tables. Let us say that I Table 2. Such is the nature of demonstration. However, I am not able to form two thoughts t hat pick out both Table 1 and Table 2. If I have more information, say, that
142 Table 1 was sold and Table 2 is the one I am considering whether to buy, then I can discriminate between the two tables in virtue of the new information thus providing me with di stinct concepts of Table 1 and Table 2. Someo ne may press me here on the question of what my thoughts are about. Surely, the line runs, we want our thoughts to be about the right objects. When I leave Store 1 the first time after seeing Table A, and say, quality and is being sold at a reasonab uniqueness c ondition must be preserved so as to capture the right intuitive result that these two thoughts are distinct in virtue of being about different objects. To this response, it should be noted that there is nothing in my response that says that my thoughts cannot be a bout both Table 1 and Table 2. O n m y account, my concept can pick out either table I do not, after all, have enough information to tell one table from the other. Some may worry that this is not an account of singular thought. I address this in a later sec tion called From neo Russellian singular t houghts to content e xternalism Another arg ument from singular thought to content e xternalism proceeds by way imit the object s of acquaintance to sense data, universals and possibly the self but also include mind independent objects. On such a view, when we have a singular thought of an object, the object itself is in the thought; there is no mediating conceptual element. Such a view would block th e above response that I gave to the argument from de re c oncepts to content e xternalism as there is no w no conceptually mediating element. The object
143 itself is what c onstitutes the thought. Although the idea that we can be directly acquainted with external objects is perhaps not yet clear it is clear how content e xternalism follows from such a conception of singular thought. If an external object is a constituent of a thought, then that thought will be extrinsic in virt ue of the thought instantiating extrinsic properties. In addressing such an argument, it wil l be helpful to lay out some distinctions. We need to talk about the distinction between Russellian and Fregean propositions and between what have been called de re and de dicto attitu de re ports. Getting clear on these distinctions will help us to address the argument at hand. To oversimplify, Russell and Frege both believed that proposit ions were structured entities, but t hey famously disagreed about the types o f entities that structure propositions. Russell thought that it was objects themselves and properties and F r ege thought that it was senses objective concepts of entities Their foundational work on propositions has given rise to talk of Russellian and Freg ean propositions. When it comes to intentional contexts, the Fregean claim is that the proposition someone is intentionally related to is constituted by senses themselves and not the referents of those senses The Russellian claim is that the referents of the terms in the sentence that expresses the proposition are part of what constitute the proposition in question. Take the sentence proposition. In this case, the Russellian thinks that this proposition is structured in part by Nashville itself, and the Fregean thinks that it is structured in part by the objective
144 concept of Nashville. 20 It may seem that if we use these propositions to individuate intentional states, then these intentional states will be externalistic, both Nashville itself and the objective concept of Nashville do not depend solely on the intrinsic properties of any individual thinker We shal l discuss this worry in a moment. However, the point to focus on is that one can have a view of singular propositions such that the y are individuated by objects themselves or by concepts of objects. The argument from Neo Russellian singular t hought t o content e xternalism focuses on singular thoughts as thoughts that can be characterized by singular propositions. Thoughts that is that are directly tied to objects in the world in a way that makes them externalistic in a straightforward way. I bring up the distinction between Russellian and Fregean p ropositions because understanding the proper relationship between propositions and intentional content is relevant to the argument at hand. Philosophers often talk of propositional attitudes, attitudes indiv iduals can take toward a p roposition (though no t everyone accepts that propositions are the objects of thought). It can seem quite natural to say that a proposition that has Nashville and the property of being a boring city as constituents 20 of an objective concept. The reference of a proper name is the object itself which we designate by its means; the idea, which we have in that case, is wholly subjective; in between lies the sense, which is indeed no longer subjective like the idea, but is yet not the object itself. The following analogy will perhaps clarify these relationships. Somebody observes the Moon through a telescope. I compare the Moon itself to the reference; it is the object of the observation, mediated by the real image projected by the object glass in the interior of the telescope, and by the retinal imagine of the observer. The former I compare to the sense, the later is l ike the idea or experience. The optical image in the telescope is indeed one sided and dependent upon the standpoint of observation; but it is still objective, inasmuch as it can be used by several observers. (Frege 1892), page 566.
145 thought about Nashville. When we look at the Russellian proposition that describes the belief, we can simply read o f f of it that Nashville is the object. Clearly, on such a reading, belief is externalistic in virtue of have an external object as a constitu ent. However, we should exercise some care here when we talk about propositions being the objects of intentional attitudes. There is a difference between saying that the Russellian proposition is the object of the belief and saying that it characteriz es th e belief. There are at least a few worries one could raise here about construing the objects of intentional states as being propositions. In the case of singular thought, to say that the object of a singular thought is a singular proposition is to make it seem that singular thought actually does not involve an unmediated connection with an object. If what one is directed at in having a singular thought is a proposition structured by an object, then it seems that we do not in fact have unmediated access to t hat object if our thought is about the object only in virtue of the object being a constituent in a Russellian proposition. This suggests that it is best to think of Russellian propositions as characterizing the content of singular thoughts. Suppose that the Neo Russellian is happy with such talk of Russellian propositions characterizing the content of singular thought as opposed to serving as the objects of such thoughts. Does no t the very nature of singular thought still ensure that not all thoughts are internalistic? Here we need to ask ourselves about the relationship between thinker and the object he has unmediated access to. What type of relationship is this? As I noted earlier, Bach thinks that a subject must first have some representational connect ion with an object to later have a singular thought of it. This much seems obviously true. However, how can we understand a thought of an object
146 that is not mediated by any conceptual element? S ome work here has been done by N eo Fregeans like Gareth Evans and John McDowell in articulating Fregean modes of presentation as both descriptive and non descriptive. Francois Recanati sums up this distinction as follows. Modes of presentation are now [on the Neo Fregean accou nt] ways the object is given to the subj ect, and an object may be g iven directly, in experience, or indirectly, via descriptions. Non descriptive modes of presentation are ways the object is (directly) given to the subject in experience, while descriptive modes of presentation are ways the objec t is (indirectly) given via properties which it uniquely instantiates. 21 One way to think of this distinction is in terms of the types of linguistic resources the subject has available to describe thoughts with these two types of modes of presentation. For a descriptive mode of presentation, the subject can use descriptions he 44th President of the United States lives in Washington, D.C. The description the 44th President of the United gives information that does not involve demonstratives. Contrast this wit h the following belief ascription. he man who cut in front of me while we were both jogging around the White House is rude. Suppose that both beliefs are actually about President Obama and that I was not aware that the man who cut me off was actually the president. The non description mode of presentation is marked by an ascrip tion that employs demonstration; it refers to how Obama was presented to me. It references an e xperience of mine in an important way such that someone who is not familiar enough with that experience will not understand who my thought is about If someone were jogging alongside me, then he would surely be also able to think of the man using the same (or sufficiently similar) non descriptive mode of presentation 21 (Jeshion 2010), page 148.
147 because we shared a sufficiently similar experience. The point we should stress is that accepting this Neo Fregean account of modes of presentation accepts that singular thoughts are mediated b y some sort of conceptual element. Once one admits this, then the straight forward, simple argument from neo Russellian singular thought to content e xternalism is abandoned, and we are back to the argument from de re concepts to content e xternalism. De re and de d icto ascriptions Let us consider a related point about de re and de dicto thought ascriptions. It may seem that various ways of ascribi ng an intentional states can lend plausibility to the view that there are singular thoughts that are directly about objects. Philosophers often make a distinction between de re and de dicto thoughts. Using an example from Quine, Burge notes that that there is a grammatical distinction bet ween two different ways to ascribe belief. In epistemic contexts, the grammatical distinction is betwe en belief in a proposition and belief of something that it is such and such. Many examples, here as in necessity contexts, are ambiguous. But some are no t. Thus (a ) Ortcutt believes the proposition that someone is a spy. (b ) Someone in particular is believed by Ortcutt to be a spy. 22 Certainly we have two distinct ways to ascribe a belief to someone. (A ) seems on the face of things, to relate the believe r to a proposit ion (that someone is a spy). (B ) seems to relate the believer to an individual (Ortcutt) and to a property (being a spy). We may have good reason to pr efer one type of ascription in favor of another in order to disambiguate between the de re and de dicto 22 (Burge 1977), page 340.
148 more precision in our belief report by us ing (b ). If Ortcutt believes the general proposition that there is at least one spy, then we should use (a ) in reporting his belief. It is not hard to see how someone could think that de re ascriptions d escribe singular thoughts. (c) Ortcutt believes that Jones is a spy. (d) Ortcutt believes of Jones that he is a spy. In (d) Jones is outside the scope of the intentio nal verb. Thus, the truth of (d ) as an ascription seems to require the exis in a way that (c ) does not. We may think tha t (d ) expresses a singular thought. If the belief attr ibuted by (d ) has Jones as an actual constituent, then it is clearly externalistic. To reach this conclusion, though, is to read too much into the syntax of these belief ascriptions. De re and de dicto ascriptions are ways of describing intentional state s and should not be expected to always exactly express intentional content. Bach makes a similar point. report can report a general belief. In short, the form of a belief report does not determine the type of belief being reported. (Jeshion 2010: 45) It is easy to imagine examples of de dicto ascriptions that can ascribe beliefs about a particular object. (e) Smith believes that Jones is a spy. Bach is surely right. We can also easily imagine de re ascriptions that describe beliefs that are not singular, in the sense that they do not uniquely pick out an object. Let us say that Ortcutt believes there is spy in his midst but does no t know who it is. Smith who knows that Jones is the spy in Orcutt's midst could use the following ascription to attribute a belief to Ortcutt.
149 (d) Ortcutt believes of Jones that he is a spy. From what we know of the situation, this ascription should not attribute a singular thought to Ortcutt, because Or tcutt does not have a particular individual in mind. Smith uses the above attribution because he knows Jones is the spy in question. But from the context of the situation, it seems that this ascription can be used to attribute a general and not singular be lief to Ortcutt. Are there Singular T houghts? If there is no good argument from s ingular thought externalism to content e xternalism, do we need to revise our conception of singular thoughts? That is, if it is not the case that the objects themselves do no t structure the thought in the way we supposed, w hat is left of singular thought? It can seem that we must choose between the classical Russellian picture where we can have singular thoughts only about entities we cannot possibly misidentify or the classic al Fregean picture on which we think of the world always via some description and never direct ly We have reasons for resisting the starkness of both pictures. It is true that we must always think of objects via some conceptual element. However, some of ou r concepts are de re concepts, concepts that are of objects. But, we rejected the uniqueness condition. This means that we are left with the idea of de re concepts that seem incapable of picking out objects uniquely. We want direct, unmediated access to ex ternal objects, but such access is not possible. In lieu of such access, what we can have is de re concepts that approach the uniqueness c ondition. We can have concepts of particulars that are based on many representational connections. This is what our concepts of the particulars most familiar to us are like W ith each representational connection o ur de re concepts become more fine grained, enabling us to be in a position to discriminate between particulars. Thus,
150 when I gain more information about Table 1 and Table 2, I become more equipped to have a particular thought about each respective particular. There is less chance of more than one particular satisfying the concept. To rule out completely the possibility of more than one particular satisfying a concept, we must hold that concepts have their identit y based on the particulars that caused them Th is has implausible consequences though, for it means that a subject could have two distinct concepts, Table 1 and Ta ble 2, and not be aware of the distinction between the concepts. The uniqueness condition potential cost of making the identity of those concepts opaque to a subject. On these grounds, it shoul d be rejected So, we can have singular thoughts, although we must be clear that the de re concepts that structure these thoughts canno t be tied to their objects in a way that is not tween two putatively distinct concepts that are of different objects, then there are not really two concepts in play. Rejecting that strong uniqueness condition is not to reject that we can have de re concepts, but to reject that concepts can be individuat ed solely by the objects that in some manner are responsible for giving rise to those concepts. Diagnosing the A rguments In one way or another, each of the above arguments for content externalism assumes a false connection between the language of intenti onal state reports and the content of the intentional states. Quite a number of philosophers have noted this assumption. Here are some examples. pecific ation a ssumption. clause in a belief
151 report specifies the thing that the believer must believe if the belief report is to be true 23 Bach argues that this assumption is false. The Specification Assumption is false: clauses express propositions, belief reports do not in general specify things that people believe (or disbelieve) they merely describe or characterize them. clause is not a specifier (much less a proper name, as is somet imes casually sugges ted) of the thing believed but is merely a descriptor of it. A belief report can be true even if what the believer believes is more specific clause used to characterize what he believes. 24 Da vid Le wis offers a similar moral in discussing the Causal Theory of Reference that one finds in Kripke and Putnam. The New Theory of Reference teaches that meanings ain't in the head. That may be right it depends on which of the many sorts of semanti c val ues that new theorists of reference must distinguish best deserve the name "meanings." If it is right, it applies inter alia to the sentences whereby we express our beliefs to ot hers and to ourselves. But the proper moral is not that beliefs ain't in the h ead. The proper moral is that beliefs are ill characterized by the meanings of the sentences that ex press them. Hilary may express one of his beliefs by the sentences "Elms are threat ened by disease," although the meaning of this sentence, in some sense of "meaning," depends on more than is in his head. But if so, then it seems that what Hilary believ es and what his sentence means cannot be quite the same. 25 Lewis here endorses a distinction between the public meaning of belief ascriptions and the content o f the intentional states they are used to describe. Here is Kirk Ludwig on the distinction between the public meanings of ascriptions and the content of intentional states. It will be natural to press into service to describe our thoughts about the world the language we have introduced for talking about it. As in the case of talk about objects around us, in talking about our thoughts or the thoughts 23 (Bach 1997), page 221. 24 (Bach 1997), 225. 25 (Lewis 1979) page 526.
152 of others about those objects, what may be of most importance is what we think about an object, rather than how we refer to it. Thus, it is natural and convenient to press i nto service in describing each other's thoughts sentences using directly referring terms When we use such devices, we But th is serves most have any very good idea of how an individual picks out an object, though we know what obje ct it is he is thinking of and what he wants to say about it. This is what happens when someone uses a proper name or other directly referring term to pick out an object to s ay something about it. We know which object, but because the semantics of the referrin g term underdetermines how the user picks it out, we will often not know how he is p icking it out on a pa rticular occasion. In such cases, our best evidence for what the speaker thinks is what he says, and we do no better than to use his sentence (or a sentence synonymou s with it) to characterize his mental state, even if in doing so we u ndercharacterize h is Cartesian Thoughts. 26 There are other philosophers who argue that public meaning of intentional state ascriptions does not always determine the content of intentional states. 27 an idea of an inte rnalistic thought. In Chapter 4 we saw that this sort of thought is required for first person a ccess to i ntentional c ontent, which is itself a prerequisite for rational agency. This seemed to force a rejection of content externalism, which many believed had strong support. We have seen that the arguments for content e xternalism can all be met so we have eliminated one reason for unease about adopting content internalism. Other c oncerns about adopting this view will be addressed in Chapter 6. Content Externalism, Semantic Externalism One final reason that the arguments for content e xternalism can seem compelling is that it is sometimes assumed that that there is no distinction b etween semantic e xternalism and content e xternalism. Here is a brief descri ption of this line of thought. I f 26 (Ludwig 1996b), page 445. 27 See (Biro 1984) and (Jackson 2003a, 2003b, 2004) in addition to the Bach and Loar quotes on pages 120 and 121 of this essay.
153 it is true that the public meaning of terms differ based on Twin Earth style thought experiments, then intentional state ascriptions that involve t hose terms will differ in meaning and, therefore, the content of the respective intentional states will differ. I have given res ponses previously in this chapter that can answer this line of thought. We saw that we should allow some slack, as it were, betw een the language of a n intentional state report and the content that report is supposed to express. If there is no distinction, though, between semantic extern alism and content externalism we can allow for no such slack. At times, philosophers do not make the distinction between these two sorts of externalism. For example, in her introduction to New Essays on Semantic Externalism and Self Knowledge Susan Nucce anti individualism is often cast as the rejection of semantic internalism, a view favored by philosophers at least since Descartes 28 What reason do we have for accepting the distinction between these two forms of externalism? A simple point is that these two types of externalism concern different subject matters. Content e xternalism is a thesis about intentionality and semantic e xternalism is a thesis about meaning. This point is not enough to show that the distinction between the content of an intentional state and the content of an inte ntional state ascr iption holds up, of course. It could be that we have good reason for thinking that the content of intentional state ascriptions always determine intentional content. If such a connection exists, then it does not appear to be possible to accept semantic e xt ernalism and reject content e xternalism. I do not think that we have good reasons for thinking that the content of intentional state ascriptions determine intentional content. In fact, r easons 28 (Nuccetelli 2003), page 1.
154 were given above for thinki ng the opposite. M aking sense of man y types of speech (such as intentional and unintentional misuses of words) requires that we make a distinction between not only the meaning of what is said (sentence meaning) and what the speaker intends to convey (speaker m eaning), but also the personal a nd intersubjective concepts that mirror sentence meaning and speaker meaning. Unless there is an argument for the conclusion that there is no distinction between the content of intentional state ascriptions and the ir respective intentional contents there is no reason to think that one cannot adopt semantic e xternalism while rejecting content e xternalism. I have given reasons for thinking that we have good reason ( namely, to explain many types of communication) for seeing these externalist theses as distinct.
155 CHAPTER 6 LIVING WITH CONTENT INTERNALISM So far we have seen that first person a ccess to i ntentional c ontent is incompatible with content e xternalism and that the arguments for content e xternalism were not as strong as perhaps was thought. These considerations support content i nternalism indirectly. At this p oint it is natural to turn to a more direct evaluation of content i nternalism. The goal of this chapter is twofold. First, I aim to show that content i nternalism do es not face insurmountable objection s S ome have thought that if content i nternalism is true, then intentional content is not expressible in a public language 1 If this objection were correct then we would never be in a position to truly communicate our t houghts to others. This consequence of content i nternalism would perhaps be just as troubling as content e first person access to intentional c ontent. If this objection is right, it would seem that going internalist a bout intentio nal content secures first person access for subjects at the cost of making it impossible for subjects to minds. We surely want a theory of intentionality to be consistent both wi th the ability of subjects to access their intentional contents in a first person way and with their ability to know each other's minds Another potential objection against content i nternalism is that it is a view of intentionality that leaves us unable to acce ss the external world directly and, therefore, c ut off from reality in a dangerous way. Du e to this epistemic consequence the argument concludes, content i nternalism should be rejected. I also address potential metaphysical worries by arguing 1 For examples see: (Fodor 1987), (Horgan, Tienson, and Graham 2004), and (Loar 1988).
156 that content internalism is not only compatible with physica lism, but also that content externalism appears incompatible with certain versions of physicalism. The second goal of this chapter is to sketch some accounts that explain how it could be that intrinsic properties are the only properties on which intention al content depends. I discuss the prospects for how intrinsic, phenomenal properties may play the role of the properties that ground intentional content. This account is somewhat lengthy. After discussing it, I suggest a way we may be able to adopt the key features of this account while rejecting the dependence of intentional properties on phenomenal properties. I do not, in the end, endorse a fully developed account of the properties that are responsible for intentional content. I merely sketch some option s to give more shape to the direction in which our internalistic theory of intentionality may take. In the end, achieving my twofold goal of answering objections to content i nternalism and sketching accounts of how to understand the dependence of intentional content on intrinsic properties will hopefully make life with content i nternalism seem more livable than some may have previously thought. Objections to Content Internalism The Need for a Private Language to Describe T houghts There is a worry the content i nternalism entails that at some level the content s of intentional states are inef fable. If nominal clauses (such as that clauses) are not adequate devices for determining content, then it may seem that non linguistic, non public devices must be used to describe intentional content. If all the resources we have for making our thoughts public are private resources, then there appears to be a struggle about how we can possibly make pub lic what we are t hinking Thus, it may seem that if content in ternalism must be t rue, there is a real problem of seeing how it
157 could be true, given that we seem to be able to communicate our thoughts so well with others. Have we secured pr ivileged access t o content at the cost of walling this content off from the rest of the world? Conten t i nternalists themselves are partially guilty of giving rise to this putative M ental content is individuated more fine grainedly than the interpersonally shared "oblique" content of certain that clauses. I rather think th e phenomenon is all pervasive, that for virtually any that clause a similar underspecification of content can be s hown. A closely related point is this. Consider any perceptually nuanced conception of mine. I can inv ent a neologism to express that conception and use it in self ascribing that clauses. But the that clauses are then secondary: what matters is my reflexi ve grasp of the perceptual concept, its psychological content. That clauses as they are standardly used apparently capture too little information, even on obl ique interpretations, and that information is not of the right sort: that clauses are more about socially shared concepts and their referents than about the various perce ptually based and other ways in which thoughts conceive their referents. They are not especially psychologically informative. 2 This passage suggests with its talk of neologisms that semantic content, the content of public language vehicles, l ike words and sentences, is ill suited to describe intentional content. If nominal clauses are not appropriate vehicles for expressing our thoughts and the thoughts of others, on e really be gins to wonder what other options there are. As Burge has put it, There is at present no well explained, well und erstood, much less well tested, individualistic language or individualistic reinterpre tation of the linguistic forms currently in use in psych ology that could serve as surrogate. 3 2 (Loar 2003 ), pages 229 230. 3 (Burge 1986), page 9.
158 It seems that if a new sort of language is required for individuals to articulate their thoughts if content i nternalism is true, then we have reason to be suspicious of content i nternalism. We seem faced with a proble m. We accept that a given nominal clauses may not individualist ic, private language. We appear to lack a system for properly expressing intentional content. It appears w e have merely inverted our problem. First, it appeared that the truth of content e xternalism entailed that we do not know our own minds in a special way. Now it appears that the truth of content i nternalism entails that no one else can ever truly know our minds, because we do not have a language capable of properly expressing the narrow content of our thoughts. Many philosophers have taken this worry seriously My response to it should not come as much of a surprise. I noted that there is a distinction b etween semantic e xternalism and content e xternalism. We should keep in mind that these theses concern different subject matters. The above worry arises in part from a failure to distinguish the two theses. If one thinks that semantic i nternalism is a non n egotiable part of the package of content i nternalism, then one may run i nto the troubles outlined above, for we do not allow for the possibility that public meanings can describe narrow content. However, as long as we understand that we can accept semanti c e xternalism and content i nternalism, then we are part of the way to dissolving the above worry. The other point we need to keep in mind is that nominal clauses that attribute content in intentional state attributions can capture individualistic content, although it may require some work. The idea here is that while there are obviously cases in which a given nominal clause do es not attribute th e right content because it is not sensiti ve to the
159 some nominal clause that can do the job. Recall Pierre beliefs to him that London is pretty and that London is not pretty, I will have clearly attributed beliefs to him that d o not capture his perspective, because t hese beliefs do not capture the concepts Pierre associates with London and Londres. From this, it seems reasonable to conclude that the most obvious nominal clause an interpreter can use to attribute a thou need a further argument, though, to get to the conclusion that nominal clauses are in principle not suited for attributing intentional content to thinkers. As John Biro notes, the wrong that clause does not capture what someone has in mind, it does not follow that some other tha t 4 There is no reason to think that nominal clauses, which have their content externalistically, cannot attribute internalistic ally individuated intentional content. It may be true that the obvious nominal clause will not do at times but there are other nominal clauses that can properly attribute the content, in the sense that the content attributed is fine grained enough to capture t 5 arthritis case in order to better see the point. Burge sugges ts that we should use the in belief ascriptions about the individual who believes he has arthritis in his thigh. Of course, thi s is, as we have already discussed, what we typically do. We typically use a 4 (Biro 1992), page 288. 5 Of course, there are cases that involve demonstratives that require a certain amount of contextual information in order to attribute the proper content. Let us say that you are I are in London, and I say that Pierre believes that this city [as I point to the ground] is pretty. To know what city is referred to by the demonstrative, you must have certain contextual information. In this case, you must know what city you are in.
160 to imagine us saying that he believes he has arthritis in his thigh. This, however, does not capture believ es that he has a rheumatoid rheumatoid d out should avoid using the term arthritis. After all, if we did use the term we would run into a problem of attributing obviously contradictory beli efs to him. After the doctor tells him that the pain in his thigh cannot be arthritis because arthritis occurs only in the joints, we would not want to say of him that he believes both that he has arthritis in an area outside of his joints and that arthri tis is a disease exclusively of the joints Not recognizing that there are times when the obvious choice of words in an intentional state ascription will fail to capture the intentional content of the state can lead us to having a much too restrictive view of the resources we have for intentional state attributions. On the other hand, denying the role that nominal clauses have in attributing intention al content is implausible and leaves one puzzled over how our thoughts can be trul y described by others. Taking a more cautious approach one that recognizes both the nece ssary role that nominal clauses ( and their dependence on extrinsic propertie s of thin kers for their meaning) play in intentional content attribution and the fact that there is always some nominal clause or other available to describe intentional content, allows us to avoid the consequence that content i nternalism entails that t he contents of t houghts are ineffable.
161 Paving the Route to Skepticism about the External W orld? In Chapter 3, I quoted Michael Luntly in what seems to be a good representation of the general worry that content i nternalism severs our minds from external reality in a problematic way. Although representationalism is a safeguard against idealism, having got a specification of representations independently of what they stand for, the ho w, given their constitutive separateness from the world, they nev ertheless have the property of being about the world. It is not clear that this makes sense. De spite the ease with which many theorists assume that they have s afeguarded realism by endorsing r epresentationalism, they do so at t he risk of leaving our thoughts (representations) wholly out of touch with the world. 6 This seems to be a general worry about content i nternalism. Meditations much philosophical work has been motivated by a desire to avoid skepticism. Part of what allows Descartes skepticism about the external world to get a foothold is his theory of ideas, which is internalistic in that idea does n ot require the environment being a certain way So, i t is not difficult to see how content i nternalism can seem to leave us vulnerable to skepticism about knowledge of the external world. After all, this is the view of intentional content that underlines o ne of the greatest sources of skepticism about our knowledge of the external world, Meditations If the contents of our thoughts do not depend on the environment being a certain way, if they are truly independent of how the world is, then our t houghts are logically independent of the environment. Thus, it is possible that the external world is not as it appears to be in our representation of it. Davidson 6 (Luntley 1999), page 15.
162 If the ultimate evidence for our schemes and theories, the raw material on which they are based, is subjective in the way I have described, then so is whatever is directly based on it: our beliefs, desires, intentions, and what we mean by our words. Though these are the prog e indeed, taken toge ther, they constitute our view of the world nevertheless they too retain the Cartesi an independence from what they purport to be about that the evidence on which they are b ased had: like sensations they could be just as they are, and the world be very dif ferent. Our beliefs purport to represent something objective, but the character of their subjectivity prevents us from taking the first step in determining whether they corr espond to what they pretend to represent. 7 We saw that content e xtern a lism has implausible epistemic consequences. It my intention to clear up any suspected negative epistemic consequences of content i nternalism, so as to not leave us in the paradoxical position of being saddled with implausible epistemic cons equences for both views of intentional content. Far from adequately addressing the larger debate of how content i nternalism and content e xternalism affect our ability to have knowledge of the external world, my goal in the next section is much more modest. I want to show two things. 8 First, I want to show that the worries about content i nternalism can be addressed. Second, I want to remind the reader that content e xternalism has its own difficulties with regard to our knowledge of the external world. Cont ent i nternalism and skepticism about the external world If it is true that content i nternalism does not rule out skepticism about the external world, then turning this fact into an argument will require the content externalist to show 7 (Davidson 2001), page 43. 8 There has been a large discussion of whether content externalism gives us a priori knowledge The idea i s that if we can know the empirical content of our thoughts in an a priori fashion, then we can gain a priori knowledge of the empirical world. However, this seems to be absurd. Thus, we have a reductio ad absurdum of content externalism.
163 that his view can b etter handle the challenge of external world skepticism How then does content e xternalism help us avoid skepticism about the external world? Let us be clear what sort of skepticism we are worried about. The worry appears to one of global skepticism th at Descartes invites in with his Meditations : the possibility that the external world is radically different from how we take it to be, and therefore seemingly outside of the scope of our knowledge. If my beliefs depend on percepts th at are systematically false then it appears that all of my beliefs will be false as a result Content i nternalism fails to foreclose this possibility of course. In the Cartesian fashion, we wonder what we can know of the world if we leave out knowledge that requires us to ma ke an inference about the external world. In addition to the basic Cartesian k nowledge that one is thinking and that one exists, what else can one add body of knowledge? It seems to me that the situation is not as hopeless as Descartes allows. For example, we saw that there are necessary conditions on thought. Recall the thesis of t ranscendental e xternalism The thesis of transcendental externalism : T he existence of the contents of intentional states require the instantiation of background condit ions, conditions which instantiate extrinsic properties. If we can know this by dint of philosophical argument, then it appears that we have a way to break out, as it were, of the intentional content which supervenes solely on intrinsic properties. In short, the contents of particular intentional s tates guarantee nothing about the portion of t he external world they purport to represent ; however, the existence of these contentful states guarantees something about the external world. But again, w hat is t his something? thought, then we can be guaranteed that there is another individual on the s cene, and
164 that there is a scene a shared environment. This, though, hardly secures kn owledge of the external world in the way we would want. We can know that there is an external world, but we do not know much of its nature, or whether or not our representations of it are accurate. In addition to this idea of triangulation, Davidson has al so advanced an argument for the conclusion that we cannot be massively mistaken about the world in he basic idea is that the p ublicity of languag e and the nature of belief give us the conclusion that most of our beliefs are true. The starting poi nt for seeing the truth of this conclusion is the viewpoint of an interpreter. In interpreting the speech and thought of another, Davi ds on thinks that we employ the principle of c harity. Here is what Davidson says of the principle of c harity. The principle directs the interpreter to translate or inter pret so as to read some of his own standards of truth into the patter n of sentences held tru e by the speaker. The point of the principle is to make the speaker intelligible, s ince too great deviations from consistency and correctness leave no common g round on which to judge either conformity or difference. From a formal point of view, the prin ciple of charity helps solve the problem of the interaction of meaning and belief by restraining the degrees of freedom allowed belief while determining how to in terpret words. 9 The interpreter must, to make the speaker intelligible, interpret in a way th at maximizes between thinkers, then it appears that the nature of interpretation entails that most of the beliefs of the thinkers will be true. If this is so, then it appears that we cannot be massively mistaken about the nature of the external world. Of course, k nowledge is typically thought of as something more than merely true belief. Davidson says that y numerous other beliefs 9 (Davidson 2001 ), pages 148 149.
165 their truth 10 Justification for beliefs then seems to fall out of the holism of intentional content; i ntentional states have their content in virtue of their relation to other intentional ify other hat distinguishes a coherence theory is simply the claim that nothing can count as a reason for ho om his holism about intentional con tent, then, the beliefs required to count as reasons are already standing at the ready. We seem to get the justification for a certain belief in virtue of the other belief s that a re by their nature true and required to give the certain belief the content that it has. Perhaps this rather complicated story is a possible response to skepticism about the external world that a content i nternalist who also accepts transcendenta l e xternalism can adopt. It requires other theoretical commitments that we cannot get into now. And, of course, to be fair there are oth er responses to skepticism to which the content internalist can appeal There are contextualist responses. There is the Moorean response It is far from settled that adopting content i nternalism leads to radical skepticism about our knowledge of the external world. It is certainly an assumption that drives the traditional argument for skepticism about the external world; however, there are w ell known ways for the content i nternalist to resist sk epticism of the external world. Content e xternalism and our knowledge of the external world Sometimes it is seen as a virtue of content e xternalism that it rules out the possibility of skepticism about the external world (see Putnam "Brains in a vat" in his 10 (Davidson 2001), page 153.
166 1981 for an example). On the other hand, some thinkers have noted tha t content e xternalism has implausible consequences for our knowledge of the external world. In short, it has been argued that the conjunction of content e xternalism and a priori access to intentional content entails that we can have a priori knowledge of t he external world, Boghossian argues that because content e xternalism individuates concepts in terms of the extension s of the words which express those concepts, the thinker who has a priori acc es s to his thought contents can based on a priori investigation alone gain an empirical fact about the world, namely that whatever is in the extension of the word that expresses the concept that is a constituent of his thought exists. T his arg ument has been much discussed and a proper treatment of it would require more space that I can allot it here. However, bringing it up is enough to show that content e xternalism has its own difficulties when it comes to the dialectic about skepticis m about the external world. I do no t wish to go into these in too much depth, for we have already seen that content externalism is incompatible with first p erson access to intentional c ontent. Once we acknowledge that the truth of first person access to in tentional c ontent is required for rationality, we should seek to adopt a theory of the independence of intentional content from the environment that preserves first person access to intentional c ontent. If the content e xternalist has problems squaring his view with both rationality and our knowledge of the external world, then it seems to be in t rouble indeed. We saw that the content i nternalist can respond to the skeptic. At this point in our investigation, then, the charge that content i nternalism is more susceptible to skepticism about our knowledge of the external world seems to lack much force, if content e xternalism has its own
167 problems with regard to our knowledge of the external world and with regard to first person access to intentional c ontent. What about P hysicalism? T he popularity of physicalism warrants a discussion of its compatibility with the two views of intentional content we have been discussing. In particular, I want to discuss arguments intended to show that co ntent e xternalism is incompatible with various versions of physicalism. Exploring these ar guments can perhaps further mollify concerns about adopting content i nternalism. Some philosophers have point out that content e xternalism is incompatible with the to ken identity theory of mind, sometimes understood as the view that every particular mental state is identical to a physical state of the brain. 11 The argument, roughly, runs as follows. All mental states are brain states. Brain states depend on properties t hat are intrinsic to their owners. However, if certain intentional states instantiate extrinsic properties, then they are not merely a function of intrinsic properties. Therefore, certain intentional states are not brain states or they are not mental. This conclusion forms a dilemma for the token identity theorist who accepts content e xternalism. Neither horn is acceptable. 12 The token identity theorist does not want to save things by saying that intentional states are not in fact brain states, because 11 See (McGinn 1989) and (Burge 1986, 1993) for examples of arguments for incompatibility. 12 Some have noted that this argument assumes content essentialism, the view that intentional states have their content s essentially (see (Frances 2007) for an example). This thesis should strike us as obviously true. We have been assuming its truth for the entire essay. One way to articulate this thesis is: intentional states are to be individuated by their contents, alth ough there may be other factors used to individuate intentional states (such as intentional mood, that is, whether it is a belief, desire, hope, etc.). The idea is that my belief that Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar has its content essentially. I f the content were different, then the belief would be different. It is hard to see how such a thesis could be rejected. If it is to be rejected to preserve the token identity theory, then I suggest that we can take this a reductio ad absurdum of the token identity theory.
168 that seems to contradict his thesis that all mental states are brain states. Of course, saying that intentional states are not mental states is one way to save the view, but this comes at a great cost. Intentional states seem to be paradigmatic mental states. thinks that a token identity theorist like himself can accept externalism and the token identity theory. The argument for the incompatibility Davidson argues, involves the false a 13 Davidson rejects this assumption. are identified in part by relations to objects outside the head, that m eanings suppose this would be as bad as to argue that because my being sunburned presupposes the existence of the sun, my sunburned skin may be hat achieved its burn by other means really sunburned and the other not 14 We should proceed with some care here. First, let us note that the a rgument for the incompatibility of content e xternalism and the token identity theory of mind does not true, then virtually all thought would be externalist ically individuate d. The theses of content e xternalism and content i nternalism are not about ho w thoughts are identified but about the sorts of supervene. All th oughts are identified at some level by way of publi c language, so if one holds the assumption above then all 13 (Davidson 2001), page 31. 14 (Davidson 2001), page 31.
169 thought is outsi de of the head. Even if this is right though, perhaps there is still In a taken. Simply because intentional content is externalistic does no Content e xternalism is a thesis about the dependence of intentional content on the environment. A content externalist does not need to appeal to talk of thoughts being inside or outside of the head to state the thesis. The thesis is one of dependence, typically articulated u s ing the notion of supervenience, a thesis that does not by itself have any implications for the locations of thoughts. However, one who accepts content e xternalism and holds the view that token mental states are identical to token physical states is com mitted to a thesis about the spatial location of thoughts. The reason for this is fairly straightforward. If one holds that mental states are token identical to physical states, and intentional states are mental states, then intentional states are identica l to physical states. That much follows from the token identity theory of mind. When combined with content e xternalism, we get the conclusion that intentional states supervene on extrinsic properties of thinkers, and therefore supervene on physical states that are not instantiated by merely intrinsic properties of thinkers. Not only do the intentional states supervene on these physical states, but also according to the token identity theorist, they are identical to them. These physical states with which int entional states are identical will be spatial located outside of the head of the thinker. Thus, thoughts in a very real and non metaphorical sense will be outside of the head. Davidson is surely right that content e xternalism by itself doe s not entail that thoughts are outside of the head. However, conjoinin g content
170 e xternalism with the token identity theory of mind does have that co nsequence. Conjoining such views then, is a mistake. Of course, there are other views of physicalism that differ from the token identity theory of mind. The problem described above will be a problem for physicalists who hold the following claims. The thesis of c ontent e xternalism : Intentional content supervenes on extrinsic properties of thinkers. The thesis of c ontent e ssentialism : Intentional states and events are individuated in te rms of their content. The claim that i ntenti onal events are mental events. The thesis of r eductive physicalism : Mental events are reducible to physical events. Accepting all these claims i s a problem because we can derive the conclusion that intentional events supervene on and ar e reducible to physical events which instantiate ex trinsic properties of thinkers, and this leads to the dilemma just discussed. There seems to be real problems for those who wish to hold content e xternalism, content e ssentialism, and some form of reductive physicalism on which all mental events are reducible to physical events. Content i nternalism does not create these problems for reductive physicalism and is fr iendly to the project of reducing the mental to t he physical. If the physicalist adopts content i nternalism, he has a tidy story about how intentional states are causally efficacious mental states. The story goes like this. Intentional state s h ave their co ntents essentially. 15 These contents supervene of the intrinsic properties of their owners. 15 My desire to finish the marathon would be a different desire if it had a different content, for example.
171 These intrinsic properties o n which content supervenes are or are reducible to physical properties of thinkers (most stories will mostly have it that these are properties of the brain). The dilemma that content e xternalism forces on some varieties physicalism that intentional events are actually physical tokens outside of a thinker s head or they are not mental is not a problem for content i nternalism. Approaches to Internaliastic (Narrow) Content So far we have seen that there are responses to the major objections to content i nternalism, and that content i nternalism is compatible w ith reductive physicalism, whereas content e xternalism is incompatible with certain forms of reductive physicalism. Adopting content i nternalism means one is committed to the view that intentional content depends only on a thinker's intrinsic properties. T here is a natural curiosity about which of a thinker's intrinsic properties are the ones on which intentional content depends. In this section, I shall sketch two directions such an account can take, one that grounds intentional content in phenomenal prope rties, and one that does not. I argue that we should take the lat t er approach because it is more conservative. First, I shall sketch a theory we can call "Phenomenal Intentionality, which grounds the nature of intentionality in phenomenal consciousness. Phenomenal Intentionality In recent years, it has not been un common for philosophers to see intentionality as a phenomenon that could be studied separately from phenomenal consciousness. The philosophical problems of intentionality, it was thought, could be pursued without reference to phenomenal consciousness and vice versa. Colin McGinn sums this
172 Recent years have witnessed a curious asymmetry of atti tude with respect to these two problems [a naturalistic account of subjectivity and menta l representation]. While there has been much optimism about the prospects of success in accounting for intentionality, pessimism about explaining consciousness has deepened prog ressively. We can, it is felt, explain what ma kes a mental state has the content it has; at least there is no huge barrier of principle in the way of our doing so. But, it is commonly conceded, we have no remotely plausible account of what makes a mental s tate have the phenomenological character it has. 16 The view I shall be exploring suggest s that there is a much tighter connection between phenomenal consciousness and intentionality than had previously been thought by many. od characterization of the view of certain conscious mental events which is phenomenal character 17 This harkens back to Brentano's definition of intentionality as the directedness to its objects. We are all of course familiar with this phenomenology of occurrent intentional events. Our intentional mental events seem to be directed upon objects. When I think, President Obama is doing his best to lift us out of th e recession my thought seems to be directed upon Obama and his efforts What is the relationship between the ph enomenology of my intentional states (how my intentional states seem to me) and their intentionality (the intentional content they have)? Charle s Si e wert outlines four positions one can take regarding the relationship. (a) Consciousness is explanatorily derived from intentionality. (b) Consciousness is underived and separable from intentionality. (c) Consciousness is underived but also inseparable from intentionality. (d) Consciousness is underived from, inseparable from, and essential to intentionality. 18 19 16 (McGinn 1988), page 295. 17 ( Farkas 2008a), page 273. 18 (Siewert 2006).
173 Siewert means phenomenal consciousness. In this section, we shall be inte rested in how phenomenal properties could ground intentionality, so we shall be interested primarily in (d). I shall assume that phenomenal properties are intrinsic properties in the remainder of this chapter. connection p rinciple seems to be one argument that can support (d) and help us to understand how intentional content could depend on phenomenal properties The connection p rinciple does not directly state the relationship between phenomenology and intentiona lity; however, the support that Searle provides for the principle provides us with a framework for exploring how phenomenal consciousness might be essential to intentionality. The connection p rinciple is the thesis principle accessible to consciousness 20 21 Searle claims that the conclusion depends on the following premises. (P1) There is a distinction between intrinsic intentionality and as if intentionality; only intrinsic intentionality is genuinely mental. (P2) Unconscious intentional states are intrinsic. (P3) Intrinsic intentional states, whether conscious or unconscious, always have aspectual shape. 19 us. The phenomenology of an intentional state is related to phenomenal consciousness. In so far as an intentional state is presented to us in so far as it is made oc current it will be a phenomenally conscious mental state. 20 (Searle 1992), page 156. 21 Searle offers other formulations. Here is one such: Specifically, we understand the notion of an unconscious mental state only as a possible content of consciousness only as the sort of thing which, though not conscious, and perhaps impossible to bring to consciousness for various reasons, is nonetheless the sort of thing that could be or could have been conscious (Searle 1991), page 51.
174 (P4) The aspectual feature cannot be exhaustively or completely characterized solely in terms of th ird person, behavioral, or even neurophysiological predicates. None of these is sufficient to give an exhaustive account of aspectual shape. (P5) But the ontology of unconscious mental states, at the time they are unconscious, consists entirely in the existence of purely neurophysiological phenomena. From these premises he thinks that the connection p rinciple follows. (C1) The notion of an unconscious intentional state is the notion of a state that is a possi ble thought or experience. From (5) and the connection p rinciple as it is expressed in (C1 ), Searle thinks that we can conclude the following. (C2) The ontology of the unconscious consists of objective features of the brain capable of causing subjecti ve conscious thoughts. 22 There are a number of issues that are running through this argument. I will address the argument directly in a lat er section. For now, I want to use it as a backdrop for an argument for the conclusion that intentional content depe nds on phenomenal properties. Why might intentional contents depend on phenomenal properties? ( P 1), ( P 3), and ( P 4) seem to be candidate components that can play a role in an answer to this question. ( P 1) is a thesis about what sorts of entities can have i ntrinsic intentionality. Searle clearly thinks that only minds can have intrinsic intentionality. A painted portrait of someone has as if intentionality the story goes, because o nly the painter has the ability to represent the person. The picture can clearly represent the person, but it does so only in virtue of deriving its intentionality from the intrinsic intentionality of the painter ( P 3) and ( P 4) concern aspectual shape. for capturing how the conditions of satisfaction of an intentional 22 (Searle 1992), pages 156 160.
175 state are presented to a subject. This idea corresponds to Frege's ides of a mode of presentation. I shall use these terms as more or less interchangeable throughout this essay: as capturing how someth ing is presented to a subject. It is undeniable that w e can think of the same object under different modes of presentation or, as Searle says, phenomenally conscious intentional states have aspectual shape. The truth of ( P 4), as stated above, is less obvious. Let us consider an example that Searle gives. A person may indeed exhibit water seeking behavior, but any water seeking behavior will also be H 2 O seeking behavior. So there is no way t he behavior construed without reference to a mental component, can constitute wan ting water rather than wanting H 2 O. Notice that is not enough to suggest that we might get the person to respond affirmatively to the u want H 2 because the affirmative and negative responses are themselves insufficient to fix the aspectual shape under which the person interprets the question and th e answer. There is no way just from the behavior to determi ne whether the person means by 2 2 perso facts constitute the fact that the person repres ents what he wants under one aspect and not under another. 23 It seems true that a purely b ehavioral approach to the interpretation of the desire described above is not sufficient for determining the content of the desire. Reference must be made to a mental component in order to properly determine the content of the desire. However, it seems tha asking him the sorts of questions Searle outlines above. If we get a proper answer to the questions, then it seems that we can fix the aspectual shape under which the person desires water. If he says H 2 O I just want some damn 23 (Searle 1992), page 158.
176 aspectual shape of the desire. Sufficient communication with the subject can yield the aspectual sha pe in question. Interpreters are not in principle blocke d from understanding the way in which subjects think of something. At any rate, we can use ( P 1), ( P 3) and a revised version of ( P4) in an argument for the fundamental role that phenomenal properties have in grounding intentionality. Here are some key premises in our revised argument. (P1) There is a distinction between intrinsic intentionality and as if intentionality; only intrinsic intentionality is genuinely mental. ( P 3) Intrinsic intentional states, whether conscious or unconscious, always have aspectual shape. ( P ntional states supervenes of the phenomenal properties of his mental states. We also need some further claims, claims which rule out other possible groundings of intentionality. We need to establish a connection between intrinsic intentionality and aspectual shape. It may seem to us, as it does to Searle, that human minds endowed as they are with phenomenal consciousness, are the only entities capable of having intrinsic intentionality. However, we need something more than a mere seeming here We can fill in the gap in the argument by focusing on a point from our discus sion of content e xternalism P 4). We saw that often content. If we do no concepts, one of the London from his experiences and one of Londres from the stories of his youth then we are liable to attribute to him beliefs about the same city, when in fact his beliefs a re not about the same city. In short attributing intentional states without grained
177 enough. Only when we account for aspectual shape i n tentional content in question can we attribute intentional states precisely enough. In a useful discussion of the research program of phenomenal intentionality, Terry Horgan and Uriah Kriegel offer the following articulation of this idea. One recurrent c laim is that only phenomenal intentionality has determinate content in and of itself (Searle 1991, 1992, Loar 1995, Horgan and Tienson 2002, Strawson 2004, Horgan and Graham 2009). We may state this thesis as follows: Determinate Content Necessarily, for any intentional state M with content C, if C is non derivatively determinate, then M is phenomenally intentional. 24 Searle makes this point by stressing that it is only phenomenally conscious intentional states or potentially phenomenally conscious intentional states that are capable of having intrinsic int entionality. Adding the thesis of determinate content to our argument, we have the following. (P1) There is a distinction between intrinsic intentionality and as if intentionality; only intrins ic intentionality is genuinely mental. ( P 3) Intrinsic intentional states, whether conscious or unconscious, always have aspectual shape. ( P tional states supervenes of the phenomenal properties of his menta l states. The t hesis of d eterminate c ontent : All contentful intentional states have determinate con tent solely in virtue of their phenomenal properties or aspectual shape. From these premises, we can draw the following conclusion. ( C3 ) on phen omenal properties of a thinker. 24 (Horgan and Kriegel 2011)
178 The support from the thesis of determinate c ontent comes from two sources: first from reflecting on the his way of thinki ng of an object is essential to determining the content of his intentional state, and second from the idea that his way of thinking of an object supervenes on his phenomenal properties. If we ignore the aspectual shape, we can still determ ine some intentional content, but such content will not be sufficiently determinate. It will not be sufficiently precise. How should we understand unconscious i n tentional states and phenomenal c onsciousness? Even if the above argument for ( C3 ) is successful, we still have not shown that all intentionality is grounded in phenomenal consciousness, for there are of course many unconscious intentional states. I believe that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida even when I do not consciously have this belief before m y mind. Phenomenal properties may be responsible for the content of our phenomenally conscious intentional states, but what about those states which are not phenomenally conscious? Here we need to answer the question p osed earlier abo ut how we should understand the connection between unconscious intentional states and ph enomenally consciousness intentional states If the connection p rinciple is true, then it looks as if we co uld have full support for Siewert's (d): Consciousness is und erived from, inseparable conclusions he draws from it to measure his support of the connection p rinciple (P1) There is a distinction between intrinsic intentionality a nd as if intentionality; only intrinsic intentionality is genuinely mental. (P2) Unconscious intentional states are intrinsic. (P3) Intrinsic intentional states, whether conscious or unconscious, always have aspectual shape.
179 (P4) The aspectual f eature cannot be exhaustively or completely characterized solely in terms of third person, behavioral, or even neurophysiological predicates. None of these is sufficient to give an exhaustive account of aspectual shape. (P5) But the ontology of unconscious mental states, at the time they are unconscious, consists entirely in the existence of purely neurophysiological phenomena. From these premises we are supposed to be able to derive (C1). (C1) The notion of an unconsciou s intentional state is the notion of a state that is a possible thought or experience. (C1) expresses the connection p rinciple It is worth evaluating the success of this argument. From ( P 1), ( P 2), and ( P 3), we can conclude that al l intrinsic intentiona l states those states that do not h ave their content derivatively have aspectual shape. How do we get from this claim that all intention al states have aspectual shape to the claim that all unconscious intentional states are potentially conscious intentiona l states? What else is needed to show us that if a state of a thinker is not potentially conscious, then that state is not mental and not intentional? (P 4) is supposed to show us that aspectual shape cannot be described by third person or scientific descr iptions of mental states. Yet, these appear to be the only descri ptions available to us, because, as ( P5) states, u nconscious mental states are constituted by the phenomena that the types of predicates mentioned in ( P 4) pick out. Searle notes that this is a puzzle. He posits that accepting the connection p rinciple can solve the puzzle. This form of argument should worry us. We set out to argue for the connection p rinciple. We reached a puzzle: a spectual features are not describable in neurophysiological predicates or and these seem to be the only predicates applicable to un conscious mental states, as unconscious mental states
180 by adopting the connection p rinciple. After all, someone could equally say that based on ( P 1) ( P 5) we must conclude that unconsciou s states do not have aspectual shape. However, if we conclude this, then we must reject that unconscious intentional states have intrinsic intentionality. 25 It appears that Searle has two options here, neither of which is d esirable. First, he can posit (C1) as a solution, but that begs the question. Second, in light of the puzzle, he can admit that there is no way that unconscious states have aspectual shape because the predicates of neurophysiology do not capture aspectual shape. However, this forces h im to reject other key theses. For instance, i f he holds that unconscious intentional states lack aspectual shape, then he must reject that unconscious intentional states are intrinsic. Are there any sound arguments for the connection p rinciple? Kirk Ludwig off ers another argument for the connection p rinciple 26 I think it is to inten connection p rinciple focuses on what is required for determining ownership of unconscious mental states. Ludwig endorses the following version of the connection principle: CP: Nothing is a mental state unless it is a conscious s tate or it is a disposition to produce a conscious mental state. 27 25 See (Ludwig 1993) for criticism of Searle. 26 (Ludwig 1996a). 27 (Ludwig 1996a), page 31.
181 To argue for this conclusion, Ludwig first endorses the thesis that a mental state is first person knowledge of that state. He writes, One's having first person knowledge of a particular mental st ate is sufficient for it to be one's own mental state and sufficient for it to be no one els e's mental state. Thus, in the case of conscious mental states, we can say that a token conscious mental state is X's rather than Y's because X has first person knowledge of it. 28 One has a kind of knowledge of one's own consci ous ment al states at the time at which they are conscious which no else could have of those mental stat es. This difference in the kind of knowledge we have of our own and other peopl e's conscious mental states is well illustrated in the methodology of inve stigations of p erception. Contrast the way we find out how a thing looks to ourselves and how it loo ks to someone else. In our own case, we do not have to ask ourselves for a report of ho w a thing looks to know how it looks, or to see this by some observat ion of our behavior. In the case of other subjects, however, we have no access to how things look to them oth er than by their reports about it or what differences it makes to their behavior or perfo rmance on various tasks we set them. I will call this kind of knowledge we have of our own mental states that no one else does or could have first person knowledge. 29 The point here seems to be about access and not about knowledge. Indeed, this point is similar to the thesis of first person access to intentional c ontent, although it is about not merely intentional states, but all mental states. The point seems to be that the access we have to our mental states enables us to know them in a special way. The most basic point here is about access. s first person access to mental state Y is sufficient for Y being person access will not help 28 (Ludwig 1996a), pages 31 32. 29 (Ludwig 1996), page 31.
182 determine ownership of unconscious mental states, for there is no direct access to them. If there were t hen they would not be unconscious. Assuming that unconscious mental states belong to individuals, then, th ere are three options for what c ould assign ownership to such states. The first option is that it is a brute fact that an unconscious state belongs to X, a fact which admits of no explanation. The second option is that the option, th token unconscious mental state is a particular pers on's mental state because it bears a special relation to that person's conscious connection between unconscious states and persons unexplained, the first option does not rule out potential connections between certain unconscious states and owners that we want intuitively to rule out For example, it does not foreclose the possibility that one of your unconscious states is mine. For the second option we must determine what as Ludwig notes, because he only way to do that is to appeal to its relations to his mental states. But then mental states being causally located in his body could not ground those mental states as his, because what makes it his body is that his that there is nothing strong enoug y oth er than mental states. Any attempt that does not reference mental states in specifying what counts as one to be a mind without a body. The only thing that
183 causally related to mental states to which X has first person access. We can be sure that mental states to which X has first can only understand person access. The third option is to far as they are dispositional states which when made manifest are such that only X would have first person access to them. This, I think, is a plausible way to show that phenomenal consciousness is what grounds all unconscious intentional states. For a st ate of an individual to count as a mental state it must either be a conscious state or a state that is potentially conscious. Restricted to intentionality, we ca n use this articulation of the connection p rinciple to show that it is n ecessary that for a sta te of an individual to count as his intentional state it must either be conscious or a disposition to produce a conscious intentional state (or in other words, a potentially conscious intentional state). We have discussed support for the connect ion p rinciple to set up two different arguments. The first argument was adopted from some of the premises that Searle endorses in his argument for the connection p rinciple. This argument does no t P 4) Rather, the argument appeals to the role that phenomenal properties have in determining aspectual shape. The aspectual shape of intentional states is what gives intentional states determinate content. Thus, determinate content depends on aspectual shape. Aspectual shape depend s on phenomenal properties. Thus, phenomenal properties ground intrinsic intentionality, in the sense that if a state does not have determinate content, then it does no t qualify as intrinsic, and intrinsic intentional states are the most fundamental intent ional states.
184 The second argument appeals to the role that phenomenal consciousness has in grounding u nconscious intentional states, which must be potentially conscious or else we have no way to determine whose they are. We are surely able to specify the owners of unconscious intentional states. Thus, there is a real sense in which these states are grounded in phenomenal consciousness. Thus, I endorse CP, for it. We can combine ( C3) the view t hat the fact that intentional content of intentional state is determinate depends on phen omenal properties of a thinker with CP both of conscious and unconscious intentional states, depends on his phenomenal properties. intentional content depends on his phenomenal properties "d ependence of i nte ntional content on phenomenal p roperties. Intentionality and Aspectual S hape Even though the view above that grounds intentional content in phenomen al properties is gaining popularity, it is being still met with a good deal of skepticism. After all, as we have discussed, it runs contrary to a commonplace understanding of the bifurcation of the study of intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. It i s important to remember that it is not the only account of narrow content. The Phenomenal Intentionality Research Program, as it has been called by Horgan and Kriegel, provides one explanation for how intentional content depends on intrinsic properties. It would be quite controversial, though, if it were the only such account, as it does require a rather drastic revision of the typical way of conceiving of the connection between phenomenal consciousness and intentionality. I would be good to have an accou nt of the sorts of intrinsic properties of thinkers on which intentional contents depend that left the nature of the connection between phenomenal consciousness and intenti onality open. Such
185 account c ould deploy a notion of aspectual shape, or modes of pre sentation, as the argument above, but leave the connection between aspectual shape and phenomenal properties open. Let us recall the argument for the conclusion that the dependence of intentional content on phenomenal properties is necessary if content i s determinate. (P1) There is a distinction between intrinsic intentionality and as if intentionality; only intrinsic intentionality is genuinely mental. ( P 3) Intrinsic intentional states, whether conscious or unconscious, always have aspectual shape. ( P phenomenal properties of mental states. The t hesis of determinate content : All contentful intentional states have determinate con tent solely in virtue of their phenom enal properties or aspectual shape. From these premises, we can draw the following conclusion. ( C3 ) phen omenal properties of a thinker. (P4') clearly states that aspectual shape depends on phenomenal properties. We can revise the above argument in a way that is not committed to this dependenc e, though. For the purposes of c ontent i nternalism, we still need aspectual shape to depend on intrinsic properties, a dependence we have previously discussed. We have talked of personal concepts, which I take to be modes of presentation, ways a subject can think of an entity. The question we need an answe r to is this. It is possible for these modes of presentation to be narrow and not depend on phenomenal properties? If these modes of presentation are narrow and do not depend on phenomenal properties, then this approach to understanding narrow content woul d be less controversial than the approach that depends on phenomenal properties. It might be the case that modes of
186 presentation depend on only intrinsic properties of brains, an account that would clearly be congenial to physicalists. Aspectual shape tha t does not depend on phenomenal properties Frege was certainly not committed to modes of presentation being dependent on phenomenal properties. In fact, if we understand modes of presentations as Fregean senses, then we c annot think of them as narrow eithe r for the content of Fregean senses does not depend on only a thinker's intrinsic properties. Recall Frege's analogy of the telescope. The reference of a proper name is the object itself which we designate by its means; the idea, which we have in that ca se, is wholly subjective; in between lies the sense, which is indeed no longer subjective like the idea, but is yet not the object itself. The following analogy will perhaps clarify these relationships. Somebody observes the Moon through a telescope. I com pare the Moon itself to the reference; it is the object of the observation, mediated by the real image projected by the object glass in the interior of the telescope, and by the retinal imagine of the observer. The former I compare to the sense, the later is like the idea or experience. The optical image in the telescope is indeed one sided and dependent upon the standpoint of observation; but it is still objective, inasmuch as it can be used by several observers. If we can find a way to think of modes of presentation in both a distinctively non Fregean way, as personal or subjective and a way that does not have them depending on phenomenal properties, then we may have the key to an account of narrow content that is not dependent on rather questionable assumptions about the dependence of intentional content of phenomenal properties. On such an accou nt, there are personal concepts, like the ideas Frege m entions in the quote above and there are intersubjective ( or objective ) concepts, like Fregean senses. On my way of understanding things, on e's way of thinking of an entity can be called a mode of presentation. This mode of presentation of an object can match up with the
187 inters ubjective concept of that entity is so far as the mode of present ation picks out the same entity as the intersubjective concept. In the case of Burge's patient, to use a familiar example, his mode of presentation of arthritis does not match the intersubjective concept of arthritis. Even if someone accepts this, one may have concerns ab out how we are to understand these personal concepts or ideas as Frege calls them as not being dependent on phenomenal properties. Frege's languages above seems to class ideas and experiences together in a way that suggests that ideas are private and dep endent on phenomenal properties in the same way that experiences are. How are we to understand modes of presentation as both personal and not dependent on phenomenal properties? I t is hard to deny that ther e is something it is like to think of an entity u nder some aspect or other. When I think of Obama and his efforts to lift us out of a recession, there appears to be something it is like for me to have this thought, although it is hard to say very clearly what it is like other than to appeal to similar ex periences had by others. Certainly what it is like to have a thought is not as phenomenally rich as what it is like to drink hot coffee, although there may be some phenomenology to occurrent thought s Granting that occurrent thoughts have phenomenology is still somewhat controversial I think it is safe to reckon that there is some sense in which occurrent thoughts have a vague phenomenology. It is another step, though, to the conclusion that the aspectual shape of intentional states depends on the phenomen ology of thoughts. This step involves the claim that the reason that aspectual shape is responsible for the determinateness of content is because of the phenomenal properties on which aspectual shape supervenes. There is some intuitive plausibility to this claim. We
188 should be careful, though, of distinguishing intentional content that has an accompanying phenomenology from intentional content that is what it is because of its phenomenology. We can grant that there is something it is like to conceive of an e ntity under a certain aspect an d yet reject that what it is like to have that state plays a role in determining the content of that state. What reason has been given for the conclusion that aspectual shape depends on phenomenal properties? Searle's work seems to provide an argument. As we saw, he holds that conscious and non conscious states have aspectual shape. They have their aspectual shape in virtue of being potentially conscious. This is what the connection p rinciple is supposed to sho w. This argument seems to offer a rationale for why aspectual shape depends on phenomenal properties. It can seem to provide a satisfactory story of the dependence. If these states were not potentially conscious, then they would not have aspectual shape. H owever, this is not the sort of dependence we are after. According to Searle, unconscious intentional states have aspectual shape whe n they are not conscious. T he y have the intentional content they have even when they are not supervening on phenomenal prop erties (even when, that is, they are not phenomenally conscious states). This is not to say that they are not supervening on intrinsic properties. It is just to say that they are not supervening on phenomenal properties when they are unconscious, even thou gh they are fully contentful intentional states. The important point to see here is that the connection p rinciple cannot be used to show that intentionality depends on phenomenology in a way sufficient to ground all intentional content in phenomenal proper ties. It can show that there is a sense in which intentional content depends on phenomenal consciousness. It may be that in virtue of being
189 phenomenally conscious that unconscious intentional states have their intentionality, while it is true that their co ntent does not depend on the phenomenal properties of their owners. If unconscious intentional states have aspectual shape (and therefore determinate content) and this content does not supervene on phenomenal properties, then we must conclude that it super venes on other intrinsic properties of thinkers if we are content internalists. Properties of thinker's brains seem to be likely candidates to play this role. Could it be that aspectual shape supervenes of the intrinsic properties of thinkers' brains? Such an account of content i nternalism does not make the controversial commitment to grounding intentional content in phenomenology. It allows that there may be some connection, such as the claim that occurrent intentional states have a phenomenology, but it d oes not require that intentional content depends on a thinker's phenomenal properties. Taking this approach give s us a way to separate the aspectual shape of intentional states from their phenomenology, and thus retain the mechanism we need for the determi nateness of content while rejecting the questionable claim that all intentional content depends on a thinker's phenomenal properties. Concluding R emarks There is a great deal of wor k to be done on the part of content internalist s to complete the story ab out the nature of the intr insic properties on which intentional content depends A large portion of that story will be concerned with how we acquire our concepts of the world in a way that allows them to represent the external world even though the concept s themselves depend on only intrinsic properties for their content An important chapter in this account will surely concern the role perception has in generating concepts and linking them to objects in the world. I bring this up to note that this chapter has merely sketched some directions to be taken in the internalist account
190 of intentionality, but also to point out that there is a story for the content internalist to tell about how concepts and the intentional c ontents that they c onstitute can be about objects in the world even if they are not dependent on those objects for their content. The account would need to show how the content of repre sentations of an external world does not require continued dependence on th e external envi ronment I think that the role of perception in concept forma tion will be an important part of this story, although I cannot begin to address this at present. This essay argued that content e xternalism should be rejected because it is not compatible with first person access to intentional c ontent. Rational agents must have s uch access to their intentional contents if they are to be properly engaged with their intentional content Not only did we see that we have good reason to resist the conclusions of th e arguments for content e xternalism due to its implications for rationality, we also saw that there are ways to resist these arguments. We saw that life with content i nternalism is not as bad as some have thought. On the whole, the project vindicates certain key aspects of the Cartesian Theory of Mind, namely first p ers on access to intentional c ontent and content in ternalism. We need not accept the entire Cartesian Theory of the Mind, the view that Ryle so famously critiques and which has be en under fire from subsequent generations of philosophers. It seems to me that in correcting for the excesses in Descartes view, some philosophers have been too quick to distance themselves fro m all the features of the Cartesian Theory of Mind. Certain aspects of this theory of mind must be true if we are rational agents. Content i nternalism is not a philosophical thesis of little consequence. Its truth has tremendous consequences for how we t hink of the relationship between the mind
191 and the world. If it is true, we see that there is an important sense in which the mind is independent of the world. Even if it is true that there needs to be a world (as Davidson argues) and a second person for th ought, the particular nature of individual thoughts is independent of a thinker's environment in a significant way. As we have seen, the truth of content internalism does not mean that intentional content is not communicable; first p erson access to inten tional c ontent and content i nternalism do not entail that we cannot communicate with others. First person access to intentional content a nd incommunicability a re not a package deal. T hey may have seemed to be aspects of the Cartesian Theory of Mind that go hand in hand Ryle offers an example of this way of thinking in the following description he offers of the Cartesian Theory of Mind. Though minds are inaccessible to one another, they may be said to resonate, like tuning forks, in harmony with one anothe r, though unfortunately they would never know it. I cannot literally share your experiences, but some of our experiences may somehow chime together, though we cannot be aware of their doing so, in a manner which almost amounts to genuine communication. In t he most fortunate cases we may resemble two incurably deaf men singing in tune and in time with one another. But we need not dwell on such embellishments to a theory which i s radically false. 30 The lesson here should be that i n adopting certain aspects of the Cartesian Theory of Mind we need not adopt the entire theory. The incommunicability of thoughts based on lack of knowledge of other minds only follows if we adopt questionable epistemic premises. We would need to accept the premise, for example, that t o know the minds of others, we must ha ve direct access to them. There i s no reason to adopt such a premise. We know the thoughts of others indirectly. We of course are not positioned to 30 (Ryle 1984), page 5 7.
192 access the minds of others as we access our own, yet it surely does no t follow from that that we cannot know the minds of others. Further, we do not need a special language to describe our thoughts We make our thoughts known to others by employing a public language. Public languages are quite capable of describing intention al contents; in fact they appear t o be the only systems capable of such work We can accept all this, and still hold that intentional contents are what they are indepe ndent of environmental factors.
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200 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Casey Woodling graduated from the University of Central Florida cum laude with a double major in Philosophy and English in 2002. He began his graduate studies at the University of Florida in 2003, earning his M.A. in 2006. He took a two year leave of absence to serve in the Peace Corps in Madagascar (2007 2009), and earned his Ph.D. in the fall of 2011.