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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

4 - Varieties of Externalism, Linguistic and Mental

from Section One - Language, Mind, Epistemology


In the philosophy of mind and language, “externalism” is a label for a class of doctrines regarding the conditions that determine the intentional, representational properties of words and/or mental states. Originating in the 1960s and 1970s in the “New Theory of Reference” for singular terms, by the late 1970s externalist views spread into the philosophy of mind as well. Accordingly, there are externalist doctrines regarding the factors that determine the reference of an expression (as used on an occasion), the linguistic meaning of an expression (in a given language), and the content of a mental state. This chapter presents a historical overview of the emergence and variety of externalist doctrines, the arguments that have been given for them, and the ways in which they have been resisted.

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