Wide Content

Frances Egan

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199262618
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Wide Content

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Wide or externalist content is individuated in part by reference to features of a subject's external surroundings, by her physical environment or the community with which she shares a language. Externalists hold that physically identical subjects might have thoughts with different, wide, contents. Internalists either deny that content is wide, claiming that all content supervenes on intrinsic physical states of the subject, and is hence narrow, or insist, at the very least, that the content that individuates a subject's thoughts in predictions and explanations of her behaviour must supervene on her intrinsic properties. This article begins by discussing the arguments for and against wide content. It then argues that genuinely explanatory content is wide.

Keywords: wide content; externalist content; physical environment; physical states; intrinsic states; mental state

Article.  7853 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Mind

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