chapter  7
17 Pages

In Defense of Content Internalism

ByBarbara Hannan

Hilary Putnam's odd thesis about mental content can be traced to his doctrine regarding the meaning of natural kind terms such as 'water'. Putnam is in agreement with Saul Kripke as to how natural kind terms get their meaning. Tyler Burge shows that the hypothesis of different physical environments, containing different natural kinds, is not crucial to running a Putnam-type thought-experiment. The content of someone's thoughts is what that person is experiencing subjectively; it is not the set of that-clauses we would use in language to express what the person is experiencing subjectively. Using 'content' to mean both what is attributed and the linguistic items used to attribute it has led to much bad philosophy. Burge shows that the hypothesis of different physical environments, containing different natural kinds, is not crucial to running a Putnam-type thought-experiment.