Wednesday, June 15, 2005

White Queen Psychology

Two extreme, opposed views of rationality and externalism: Boghossian (pro-transparency, anti-externalism); Millikan (pro-externalism, anti-transparency).

Moderate views: Campbell, Evans.

Is the moderate position tenable? I think you could occupy such a position if you thought:

(1) Transparency is not a universal condition; it is only the normal condition for thought


(2) Though we cannot rule out all possible doubts about failure of judgements about sameness and difference, we can usually rule out all relevant doubts.

Both extreme positions (radical externalism and radical anti-externalism) rely, I think, on a skeptical assumption: that we must be able to exclude all possible doubt about sameness and difference of contents before we are entitled to claim transparency for thoughts.

This puts a new twist on these positions: you can have transparency, if you are lucky (if you are in the right environment, etc.). We can preserve the old-fashioned, Cartesian understanding of rationality, provided we aren't in a bad epistemic situation (which isn't completely up to us).

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