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A Metaphysics for Semantic Internalism

Tappenden, Paul (2011) A Metaphysics for Semantic Internalism. [Preprint]

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    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.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: To appear in Metaphysica. Contains reference to my work in the published papers 'Expectancy and rational action prior to personal fission' and 'Evidence and uncertainty in Everett's multiverse which are posted.
    Keywords: semantic externalism, Twin Earth, doppelganger, natural kind, set theory
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
    General Issues > Thought Experiments
    Depositing User: paul tappenden
    Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2011 08:21
    Last Modified: 15 Jul 2011 08:21
    Item ID: 8721

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