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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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What the Internal Could Be

What the Internal Could Be

(p.53) 2 What the Internal Could Be
Externalism and the Mental

Madhucchanda Sen

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how one is to understand what is meant by the internal. This demonstrates the difficulties in understanding the internal. One might look for resources in the Cartesian idea of Real Distinction, where the mind is regarded as self-contained with respect to the world, and extract the notion of the internal from it. However, according to the thesis, it seems that the only way in which the internal may be understood is by seeing it as that which is subjectively indistinguishable for the subject in counterfactual situations, where there is a significant change in the external environment. A critique of the idea of the subjectively indistinguishable element is provided. It is then discussed whether the internal may be understood by bringing in the notion of phenomenal character. In this connection the common element thesis is discussed and critiqued with the help of disjunctivism.

Keywords:   self-containedness thesis, subjective indistinguishability, phenomenal character, identity indiscriminability, paradoxes of phenomenal character, common element thesis, perception, disjunctivism

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