Metaphysica

, 12:125

A Metaphysics for Semantic Internalism

Article

Abstract

The contemporary popularity of semantic externalism has arisen from so-called Twin Earth thought experiments which suggest that the representational content of a natural kind term cannot be wholly determined by processes within a speaker's body. Such arguments depend on the intuition that the extensions of natural kind terms cannot have changed as the result of the scientific investigation of natural kinds' constitutions. I demonstrate that this externalist intuition depends on an assumption about the mentality of isomorphic doppelgangers which has never been questioned but which is nonetheless arguably false. I develop an alternative view of the instantiation of mind which entails a revision of our understanding of the constitution of environmental objects. The picture seems to be fully coherent despite its oddity and I can find no good reason to reject it. The conclusion must be that the case for semantic externalism is thus less compelling than is often supposed.

Keywords

Semantic externalism Twin earth Doppelganger Natural kind Set theory 

References

  1. Bouveresse, Jacques (1976) Le Mythe de l'intériorité. Expérience, signification et language privé chez Wittgenstein. Paris: Minuit.Google Scholar
  2. Burge, Tyler (1979) “Individualism and the Mental.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4.1: 73–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Lepeltier, Thomas (2010) Univers parallèles. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  4. Lewis, David (1991) Parts of Classes. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Lewis, David (1986) On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Menary, Richard (ed.) (2010) The Extended Mind. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Putnam, Hilary (1975) ‘The meaning of “meaning”’. In K. Gunderson (ed.) Language, Mind and Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  8. Quine, Willard Van Orman (1969) Set Theory and It's Logic. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard.Google Scholar
  9. Russell, Bertrand (1952) “Advice to Those Who Want to Attain 80”. New York Times (18 May): §6: 13.Google Scholar
  10. Segal, Gabriel (2000) A Slim Book About Narrow Content. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Tappenden, Paul (2011a) Expectancy and Rational Action Prior to Personal Fission. Philosophical Studies 153.2: 299–306.Google Scholar
  12. Tappenden, Paul (2011b) Evidence and Uncertainty in Everett’s Multiverse. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62.1: 99–123.Google Scholar
  13. Tegmark, Max (2007) “The Multiverse Hierarchy”. In B. Carr (ed.) Universe or Multiverse? Cambridge: CUP, 99–125.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent researcherCrestFrance

Personalised recommendations