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From Content-Externalism to Vehicle-Externalism1

  • Crystal L’hote (a1)
Abstract

ABSTRACT: Consensus has it that Putnam-Burge style arguments for content-externalism do not strengthen the case for vehicle-externalism, i.e., the thesis that some mental states include as their parts notebooks, iPhones, and other extra-bodily phenomena. Rowlands and Sprevak, among others, argue that vehicle-externalism gets stronger support from Clark and Chalmers’s parity principle and functionalism, generally. I contest this assessment and thereby give reason to reconsider the support that content-externalism provides the extended mind thesis: although content-externalism does not entail vehicle-externalism, as Rowlands argues, neither does functionalism. The functionalist cannot reject the content-externalist argument for vehicle-externalism on these grounds without undercutting her own.

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1

I thank the generous participants at the 2009 Cognitive Systems and Extended Mind conference at the University of Osnabrueck for their comments on an early version on this paper, especially Robert Rupert and Ken Aizawa. Any persisting confusion is wholly my own. I also owe thanks to John Izzi for his assistance in the preparation of this manuscript and to the Office of the VPAA at St. Michael’s College for a summer research fellowship that facilitated a project of which this work is a part.

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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
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