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Gabriel Segal's concern is whether certain psychological properties-specifically, those that make up what might be called the "cognitive content" of psychological states-are relational or intrinsic. He claims that content supervenes on microstructure, that is, if two beings are identical with respect to their microstructural properties, then they must be identical with respect to their cognitive contents.

Segal's thesis, a version of internalism, is that being in a state with a specific cognitive content does not essentially involve standing in any real relation to anything external. He uses the fact that content locally supervenes on microstructure to argue for the intrinsicness of content.


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Cognitive content is fully determined by intrinsic, microstructural properties: duplicate a subject in respect to those properties and you duplicate their cognitive contents. The book, written in a clear, engaging style, contains four chapters.

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The first two argue against the two leading externalist theories. Chapter 3 rejects popular theories that endorse two kinds of content: "narrow" content, which is locally supervenient, and "broad" content, which is not. Chapter 4 defends a radical alternative version of internalism, arguing that narrow content is a variety of ordinary representation, that is, that narrow content is all there is to content. Click on an option below to access.

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Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Get access to the full version of this article. View access options below. By contrast, internalists see the split between mind and world as fundamental to understanding ourselves and our fellows, and so concentrate on questions of perspective, reasoning, and so forth.

Given the contrasting intuitions between externalists and internalists, both sides often mischaracterize the other and see the other as clinging to doubtful, biased, or even incoherent conventions. Unless some way to test such intuitions is developed, proponents of both sides will continue to cleave to their assumptions in the debate, convinced that the burden of proof must be borne by the opposition. Basil Smith Email: Bsmith saddleback. Internalism and Externalism in the Philosophy of Mind and Language This article addresses how our beliefs, our intentions, and other contents of our attitudes are individuated , that is, what makes those contents what they are.

To show this, Putnam insists that Frege accounts for the sense, intension, or meaning of our terms by making two assumptions: The meaning of our terms for example, natural kind terms is constituted by our being in a certain psychological state. The meaning of such terms determines its extension Putnam , Two Problems for Content Externalism a. Davidson insists that …in the simplest and most basic cases, words and sentences derive their meaning from the objects and circumstances in whose presence they were learned Davidson , 44; Davidson, ; Content Internalism and Narrow Content Internalism proposes that our contents are individuated by the properties of our bodies for example, our brains , and these alone.

For example, as David Chalmers notes, clever scientists could arrange a brain such that it has Radical Internalism Unlike moderate internalists such as Fodor, Loar, and Chalmers, Gabriel Segal makes the apparently radical move of rejecting Twin Earth inspired externalist intuitions altogether Segal, , Segal, she notes, assumes a neo-Fregean account of content which she paraphrases as If S rationally assents to P t1 and dissents from or abstains from the truth value of P t2 , where P is in an extensional context, then for S , t1 and t2 have different contents, and S associates different concepts with them Brown , Conclusion Externalism and internalism, as we have seen, address how we individuate the content of our attitudes, or address what makes those contents what they are.

References and Further Reading Adams, F. Adams, F. Menary ed.

Bach, K. Thought and Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ball, D. Bartlett G. Bernecker, S. Memory: a Philosophical Study.

Bernier, P. Besson, C. Ontology After Carnap. Block, N. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, Boghossian, P. Brewer, B. Brogaard, B. Brown, J.

A Slim Book about Narrow Content by Gabriel M. A. Segal (Paperback, 2000)

Brueckner, A. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Burge, T. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Subject, Thought, and Context. Oxford: Clarendon Press, Macdonald ed.

Cambridge: Blackwell, Meaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and Mind. Stanford, Calif. Ramberg eds. Mass: MIT Press, Byrne, A.

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Garcia-Carprintero and J. Macia eds. Chalmers, D.

Schneider, S. London: Wiley-Blackwell Press, Lepore and B. Smith eds. Clark, A, Chalmers, D. Clark, A. Crane, T. Davidson, D. De Gaynesford, M. Descartes, Haldane, E. The Philosophical Works , vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ellis, J. Evans, G. The Varieties of Reference. Falvey and Owens, Farkas, K. Farkas, K Fodor, J.

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A Theory of Content and Other Essays. Meaning in Mind: Fodor and His Critics. Cambridge, Mass. Blackwell, Gallois, A. Hacker, P. Horgan, T. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, Jacob, P. Jackson, F. Jackson, F Kimbrough, S. Korman, D Leclerc, A. Lepore E. Loar, B. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, Ludlow, P. Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich, McCulloch, G.

Oxford: Clarendon Press. London: Routledge Press. McDowell, J.

CiteSeerX — Gabriel Segal, A Slim Book About Narrow Content (MIT Press, ), pp.

McGinn, C. Thought and Object: Essays on Intentionality. McKinsey, M. McLaughlin, B and Tye, M. Mellor, H.