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Externalism and the Mental$
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Madhucchanda Sen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199453603

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199453603.001.0001

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Externalism and Content

Externalism and Content

(p.1) 1 Externalism and Content
Externalism and the Mental

Madhucchanda Sen

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the history of the debate centring round mentalistic content, and its role in the understanding of the mind and the mental. In this context, Putnam’s theory of reference and its influence on the idea of mentalistic content are discussed. The six puzzles about content which have led to the distinction between broad and narrow content are also mentioned. The Cartesian legacy, which has led to the inception of narrow content, is discussed along with the idea of the mind as a purely subjective entity. The book addresses the question: Which mental states, and more specifically, which aspects of such mental states, are so constitutively and individuatively determined externally? Keeping this in mind the different varieties of externalistic views are discussed. Externalism about general thoughts, and externalism about singular thoughts are also discussed in this chapter.

Keywords:   Descartes, Putnam, Kripke, Reference, broad and narrow content distinction, descriptivism, singular thoughts, general thoughts, Burge, Russell’s Principle, social externalism, Evans

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