Journal Article

Social Externalism and the Knowledge Argument

Torin Alter

in Mind

Published on behalf of Mind Association

Volume 122, issue 486, pages 481-496
Published in print April 2013 | ISSN: 0026-4423
Published online September 2013 | e-ISSN: 1460-2113 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzt072
Social Externalism and the Knowledge Argument

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  • Metaphysics
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According to social externalism, it is possible to possess a concept not solely in virtue of one’s intrinsic properties but also in virtue of relations to one’s linguistic community. Derek Ball (2009) argues, in effect, that (i) social externalism extends to our concepts of colour experience and (ii) this fact undermines both the knowledge argument against physicalism and the most popular physicalist response to it, known as the phenomenal concept strategy. I argue that Ball is mistaken about (ii) even granting (i). The knowledge argument and the phenomenal concept strategy might have to be modified to make them consistent with social externalism, but not in fundamental or detrimental ways.

Journal Article.  6059 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Epistemology ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Language

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