LINGUIST List 15.1691

Tue Jun 1 2004

Review: Philosophy of Lang: Hahn & Ramberg (2003)

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  1. Anne Reboul, Reflections and Replies: Essays on the philosophy of Tyler Burge

Message 1: Reflections and Replies: Essays on the philosophy of Tyler Burge

Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2004 11:17:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: Anne Reboul <>
Subject: Reflections and Replies: Essays on the philosophy of Tyler Burge

EDITOR: Hahn, Martin; Ramberg, Bj�rn
TITLE: Reflections and Replies
SUBTITLE: Essays on the philosophy of Tyler Burge
YEAR: 2003
Announced at

Anne Reboul, Institute for Cognitive Sciences, CNRS, France


The book is neatly divided in two parts, the first one filled with
articles commenting on various aspects of Tyler Burge's philosophy,
the second part presenting Burge's answers to these comments. It opens
with an introduction presenting Burge's contributions to philosophy as
well as an outline of the following papers (both comments and
answers). As the content of the individual papers will be presented
below, I will only report on the presentation of Burge's
philosophy. The editors (who authored the introduction) concentrate on
Burge's contribution to anti- individualism (or externalism) about
mental content. This began in a paper (''Individualism and the
mental'') in which Burge introduced a variation on Putnam's Twin Earth
thought experiment. In that experiment, Putnam (1975) introduced Twin
Earth, which is physically identical to Earth but for one fact: what
passes there for water does not have chemical composition H2O but
XYZ. Thus, though a given Earthian and his/her Twin Earth counterpart
(being themselves physically identical) are apparently in the same
psychological state, the meanings for their respective words ''water''
are not identical. This led Putnam to the famous conclusion that
''meanings ain't in the head'', thought specifically to apply to
natural kind terms through an intrinsic indexicality of these
terms. In Burge's version, a patient goes to his/her doctor
complaining of arthritis in his/her thigh, to be immediately informed
by the doctor that arthritis being in the joint, the patient does not
suffer from arthritis in his/her thigh. On Twin Earth, the term
''arthritis'' is not so restricted and the twin patient thus uses the
word correctly but does not mean the same by it as the Earthian
patient. Burge's conclusion differs from Putnam in that he concludes
that the twins are not in identical psychological states, because they
use different concepts with different intentional contents. Thus
''Burge's anti-individualism concerns thought, not linguistic
meaning'' (xiv) and it is the social facts not the physical
environment that varies. Burge also rejected in following papers the
idea that it is indexicality which is the issue in Putnam's original
experiment. Another important aspect of his views is the idea that we
can entertain concepts that we incompletly understand. The debate has
raged not only regarding the definition of ''concept'' but also on the
possible consequences of Burge's specific brand of anti-individualism:
for instance, doesn't it lead to a rejection of first-person
authority? And what of the local supervenience of the mental on the

The first paper, ''Burge, Descartes, and Us'', by Normore discusses a
paper on Descartes by Burge and attempts to recast Descartes'
contribution to philosophy of mind in a new perspective. Burge's claim
in the original paper was that Descartes was the origin of
individualism in philosophy of mind, where ''individualism'' is to be
understood as the view that mental states can be individuated
independently of the nature of the external world and its
components. Normore proposes to go back to Descartes to check the
validity of Burge's comment. This leads him to a central question in
contemporary philosophy, i.e., how can the intuition that reference is
direct, fixed by (causal) relations with external objects, be combined
with another intuition to the effect that concepts and percepts can
misrepresent their objects? This problem, according to Normore, is
also at the heart of the Cartesian account of
representation. Externalism was available to Descartes and it is
Normore's contention that Cartesianism is, to a certain degree,
externalist. The paper closes with a letter purporting to be from
Descartes to Burge, the conclusion being that both Burge and Descartes
are externalists, albeit of a different sort.
Barry Stroud signs the next paper, on ''Anti-individualism and
Skepticism''. As he notes, anti-individualism about perception
requires not immunity to error, but the ability to perceive things as
they are. This raises the further question of whether this is enough
to reject skepticism about perception, as was claimed by
Davidson. This, according to Stroud, is not a claim that Burge would
want to make. More modestly, Burge would want to prove ''for some of
the particular things that philosophical scepticism would say we don't
know, that we do or can know them after all'' (19). The reason for
Davidson's stronger view is to be found in his notion of
''interpretation'' of one another's behavior and communication: this
can only be done through common reference to external objects and
states of affairs. This leads Davidson to the view that belief is, by
its very nature, veridical. For Burge, by contrast, though anti-
individualism is supported by our interpretive activities, this does
not entail that beliefs are mostly true. Skepticism starts from the
logical point that all our beliefs could be false. The idea that the
more moderate anti-individualist view can defend is that, applied to
any specific set of attributed beliefs, skepticism is not a relevant
possibility: indeed, it is in this respect rather similar to Moore's
paradox (i.e., ''it is raining, but I don't believe that it is
raining''). Skepticism would not thereby be refuted, but it could be

The third paper, ''When Swampman get arthritis: ''Externalism'' in
Burge and Davidson'', authored by Martin Hahn, compares the two
varieties of externalism advocated by Burge and Davidson. Davidson
distinguishes between physical and social versions of externalism,
considering the first kind to be ''perceptual externalism''. This is
where Burge and Davidson are mostly taken to agree though there is
also a major point of agreement on social externalism, regarding the
necessity of being in touch with other people with substantially
similar innate perceptual and conceptual abilities. They also both
claim that first- person authority is compatible with externalism. The
main difference is in the dependence of content on social
circumstances. Davidson's view on the matter is based on the
triangulation argument, which derives from the thesis of radical
interpretation, according to which meaning and content are assigned to
others' thoughts and utterances on the basis of what we perceive of
their environment and their perceptual relations with objects in that
environment. This makes our thoughts conditional to living with
creatures similar to us in the relevant ways. By contrast, Burge
rejects radical interpretation and favors the moderate view that ''we
can stand corrected in our own idiolectal usage'' (39). Regarding
physical externalism, despite the similarities noted above, Burge's
and Davidson's outlooks are also different in that, to go back to Twin
Earth examples, Davidson would be inclined to consider the
psychological states of the twins are identical or not depending on
whether the chemistry on the two planets is sensitive to the
difference between water and Twin water, while Burge would not take
this last point into account. What's more, Davidson rejects the notion
that having a concept does not entail having a complete mastery of it,
a notion central to Burge's philosophy. The conclusion is that,
despite common belief, Burge and Davidson turn out to agree more on
social anti- individualism than they do on physical anti-externalism.

Donnellan turns to ''Burge's thought experiments'', outlining the
difference between Burge's versions and Putnam's. Where Putnam relies
on physical differences between Earth and Twin-Earth, Burge
concentrate on differences in the linguistic communities. Both types
of thought-experiments rely on experts, but Putnam's experts are
experts about the physical world, while Burge's are those members of
the speech community who can be expected to know the meaning of the
words. Putnam's thought experiments highlight a very general semantic
rule, which is not the case for Burge's. Finally, Putnam's invoke a
deep indexical character, and again this is not the case in
Burge. Donnellan takes up this last point, criticizing Putnam's
original account for saying that natural kind terms have an indexical
element, pointing out that this is incorrect on any reasonable account
of indexicals. Rather the indexicality is to be found in the semantic
rule for applying natural kind terms, through a reference to local
paradigms. The relevant properties would be external but the semantic
rule directing the speakers to them would be internal and common
between Earthian and Twin-Earthians. As Donnellan points out, ''if all
of this is correct, Putnam thought experiments (~E) cannot be used for
an anti-individualist point'' (63). What's more the indexicality is
important in that it is the basis on which Putnam's experiments can be
generated. This is a major difference with Burge thought experiments
where it is not clear that a semantic rule is necessary, because what
is at issue is incomplete mastery. What is more, the principle of
division of linguistic labor, advocated by Putnam, and which might be
a common ground with Burge, is not dependent on Putnam's
experiments. This leads Donnellan to suggest that in Burge's arthritis
example, both patients have beliefs with the same content, the
external circumstances determining not content but truth-values, which

The next paper, by Joseph Owens, returns to indexicality
(''Anti-individualism, indexicality and character''). The author
examines the view that ''the individualistic character of the mental
[can be] retained once we realize that the concepts [the twins] use in
expressing their beliefs have an indexical element'' (77). His
conclusion is that this line of defense is inappropriate. The idea
behind the indexical view is that ''the problematic thought contents
contain an indexical element'' (79). Its popularity has to do with
Kaplan's theory of indexicals and, more specifically, with the notion
of character, i.e., the constant linguistic meaning of a given
indexical, later generalized to linguistic items in general. Thus, the
twins agree on the characters and are in the same psychological state
(identical cognitive content), even though their sentences do not
express the same proposition. Though appealing, the solution does not
work for an obvious reason: the stability of the character is
irrelevant to the twins situation because they do not speak the same
language. What is more, ''character itself does not supervene on
nonintentionally individuated states'' (88; italics in the
original). This is because ''the intuitions that gave rise to
anti-individualistic model of the mental also support an
anti-individualistic reading of character'' (94). Thus Burge is

The next and sixth chapter, ''Competence with demonstratives'' is one
of the two by a linguist, James Higginbotham, and one of the few in
the book that relates to another aspect of Burge's philosophy, in this
instance his (earlier) contributions to philosophy of language. The
paper defends the view that it is impossible to preserve both
reference and perspective in belief or speech reports. This is
especially true of the first-person, though also true for
unarticulated components, in, e.g., incomplete definite descriptions
or quantificational noun phrases. Higginbotham turns to Burge's
account of the place of demonstratives in theories of truth for
natural languages. This had two features, truth-at-an-index, and the
use of a bound variable in the statement of truth-conditions. The
first one correspond to a rule of use, characteristic of both
demonstratives and indexicals, and the second to the fact that this
rule of use is not part of the truth- conditions. This has the
consequence that though the perspective can be conveyed, it cannot be
said, on pain of loosing referential faithfulness.

Christopher Peacocke, in the seventh paper, ''Implicit conceptions,
understanding and rationality'', turns, as does Higginbotham, on
Burge's early work in philosophy of language, specifically on Burge's
reading of Frege on sense. The paper concentrates on primitive
concepts, i.e., concepts which cannot be accessed through inference,
but which are nonetheless rational. Peacocke's example is logical
connectives, where a capacity to exercise simulation is present before
any explicit rules are acquired, and, indeed, is the basis for the
acceptance of such rules. This capacity is based on an implicit
conception of the connectives. This is similar to the Fregean
distinction between grasping a concept (possibly implicitly) and
grasping a concept sharply (explicitly). The benefits involved in
passing from an implicit to an explicit conception (which is not a
simple endeavor) include generality, establishing clear limits and
justification. The notion of implicit conception cannot be
accommodated in conceptual role theories because they fail to explain
how new principles can be arrived at. Implicit conceptions, which can
be acquired as well as innate, may enter content-involving
psychological explanations, for instance of categorical
judgments. Finally, they are the basis of rational justifications for
many inferences.

The next paper, by Fred Drestke, returns to Burge's anti-
individualism and is entitled ''Burge on mentalistic explanations, or
why I am still epiphobic''. It begins by mentioning the numerous
points of agreement between the author and Burge, on realism about
psychological content, semantic externalism and the
non-epiphenomenalism of psychological content. The difference is that
Drestke thinks that epiphenomenalism is a potential (though
surmontable) problem for semantic externalism, while Burge does not
even think that it is a problem. In Dretske's words, ''I can be
puzzled about [how things can work that way], while conceding that
things do work that way'' (154). The problem arises mainly for
behavior that is not externally individuated, for example behavior
that is described at the basic level of motion, regardless of the
objects of the specific motion involved. This is a level at which
externally individuated beliefs are dispensable in the explanation of
the behavior. Here, Dretske introduces the example of the vending
machine, which dispenses Cokes in exchange for quarters. Though it is
designed to work with quarters, it would work just as well with any
piece of metal relevantly similar to quarters. In other words, it is
the intrinsic properties of quarters (those to which the machine
positively answers), which enter in any lawlike explanation of the
machine behavior, not their extrinsic properties (being
quarters). Thus, these extrinsic properties are epiphenomenal to the
delivery of Cokes. Mutatis mutandis, the same applies to mind-body
interaction and epiphenomenalism, no matter how much one may reject
it, has to be taken seriously and must be answered.

Ned Block takes the debate to the problem of consciousness in the next
paper, ''Mental paint''. A recent question is whether qualia (the
qualitative properties of conscious experience) are exhausted by their
representational content or not. Block defends the negative answer, a
position that he dubs ''phenomenism''. He shortly present and
criticizes a version of functionalist internalist representationism
before turning to externalist representationism, which he defends in
part. He then points out that if qualia supervene on the brain,
representationism is refuted. Representationism has often argued from
the supposed diaphanousness of perception, which is correct for
attention though not for awareness. There are however deeper
questions: the very existence of ''mental paint'' (the irreducible
qualia), whether this is or not accessible to introspection; the
existence of qualia with no representational content. This leads Block
to a triple distinction between the intentional content of an
experience, the mental properties (mental paint) of such an
experience, and the mental properties of non- representational
experiences (e.g., orgasms). He concludes his paper by a discussion of
various thought experiments, among them the Inverted Earth (identical
to Earth but for the inversion of colors: e.g.,the sky is yellow

Bernard Kobes, in ''Mental content and hot self-knowledge'' returns to
the problem of first-person authority, approaching it in an orginal
way: he defends the idea that self-attribution of thoughts is not
passive but active ~W it has a certain performative character ~W and
that the thinker has knowledge of his performances. He takes on board
quite a few of the theoretical notions defined in speech acts theory
such as the distinction between mental content (propositional content)
and mental relation (illocutionary force), as well as the distinction
between two directions of fit, here mind-to-world
vs. world-to-mind. The first (thetic) is typical of belief while the
second is typical of intention and desire (telic). He reminds the
reader of the supposed antagonism between first-person authority and
an externalist semantics as well as of the solution proposed by Burge,
to wit that the higher-order (self- attributive) thought shares its
mental content with the lower order one. However, some criticisms have
been leveled against this solution, first for thoughts relative to
historical characters and events (''Socrates drank some hemlock''),
where externalism is not entirely obvious, as well as memory of past
thought episodes. Thus the extendibility of the solution is not
obvious. Kobes, through the notion of the thinker as a cognitive
agent, tries to answer these doubts. His solution is to treat the
relation of the thinker to his/her self-attribution as telic, which
gives him/her authoritative self-knowledge.

Brian Loar returns to the subject, partly treated by Higginbotham and
Block, of ''Phenomenal intentionality as the basis of mental
content''. He remarks that grasping other people's thoughts is not a
mere matter of impersonal representation, but that it involves taking
the same intentional perspective. This, if ''conceivings are in the
head'' (229), and if intentionality is essential to them, seems to
lead to the idea that intentionality is in the head, in opposition to
externalist claims. This is not reflected in ''that'' clauses, no
matter how ''oblique'' they are. Loar defends the notion that this is
because mental content is phenomenal and is conveyed ''in the gaps
between the words'' (230). On that view, ''the internal intentionality
of perceptions and thoughts consists in their apparent directness, in
their purporting subjectively to refer in various complex ways''
(231). The main thesis of the paper is that though externalists are
right about reference and truth-conditions of thought, intentionality
still is internal. The explanation for that apparent contradiction is
that, contrary to externalist theses, ''intentionality does not
presuppose reference and is not externally determined'' (231).

This leads us to the last chapter of the comments part of the book,
''Internalist explorations'', by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky begins by
defining a Humean ''science of human nature'' as ''individualist and
internalist'' (259), rejecting theories based on the commonsensical
meaning of words like ''thought'' and ''belief'' in favor of theories
based on the technical meaning of such words, that, according to him,
can only be internalist. He illustrates his point by appeal to
linguistics, and more precisely to the study of the language faculty,
which is divorced from commonsensical and intuitive notions and based
on the concept of I-language where I stands for ''internal and
individual, and also intentional'' (263). He rejects Twin Earth and
Swampman thought experiments on two grounds: judgements elicited in
such a way are unclear and thus unreliable; folk semantics has nothing
to bring to the scientific study of the language faculty.

The second part of the book, ''Tyler Burge replies'', opens with
''Descartes and anti-individualism: Reply to Normore''. Burge begins
his paper by recognizing a mistake in his interpretation of Descartes
as an individualist, though he insists that the interpretation of
Descartes is complex regarding his individualist or anti-individualist
position. Some of Descartes' positions are consistent with anti-
individualism but do not entail it. The main problem is to do with
Cartesian dualism (presupposing the metaphysical independence of the
mental), which seems, on the face of it, contradictory with
anti-individualism. If Descartes is not an individualist, then he
''must reconcile these views by holding that mental states and events
that are about body are not essential to any given mind, or to being a
mind'' (293), which, again, seems consistent with some Cartesian
views. This leads to a new construal of Cartesian dualism, according
to which ''some particular thoughts (~E) are necessarily dependent on
physical properties'' (294). Then, the analysis of the cogito would
be that ''the reflexive self-consciousness involved in the continuing
I think is filled out by particular thoughts, which are themselves
contingent modes of the mind'' (298). Burge then turns to his argument
for perceptual anti-individualism in the paper that Normore comments,
recognizing an error of presentation regarding the relation between
the local failure of supervenience of intentional on physical states
and anti-individualism. Such a failure is neither necessary for, nor
identical with, anti-individualism. Finally Burge precises his
anti-individualist view of perception and discusses Descartes'
purported letter to him.

The next chapter, ''Some reflections on scepticism: Reply to Stroud'',
begins by the reminder that ''some veridicality is implicit in the
relevant conception of normality, but not in a way that guarantees
that an individual has any veridical perceptions at all'' (335). He
criticizes the coherence view of Davidson, noting that most perceptual
beliefs are not inferentially or derivately warranted. This leads him
to scepticism and anti-individualism: ''Scepticism is about knowledge
or justification. Neither anti- individualism nor the slogan that
error presupposes veridicality says a word about knowledge or
justification'' (338). Thus anti-individualism is not an answer to
scepticism, though it can be a component to such an answer.

Chapter 15, ''Davidson and forms of anti-individualism: Reply to
Hahn'', opens with remarks about the relation between Burge's position
on de re thoughts (they are necessary for having propositional
attitudes, including de dicto thoughts and they are incompletly
conceptualized) and his anti-individualist position (which concerns
both de re and de dicto attitudes) in the paper that Hahn comments.
Burge then remarks that anti-individualism is not limited to the
individuation of concepts but rather to that of mental states and thus
is compatible with various views about concepts. What is more
anti-individualism is committed both to the notion ''that the
individuation presupposes a background of referential success [and]
that attitudes are in part individuated in terms of nonintentional
relations (~E) that the individual bears to objects, properties, or
relations in the environment'' (351). This does not reject internal
(e.g., inferential) relations about attitudes. Burge then turns to
Hahn's comparison between him and Davidson and admits that he rejects
interpretationism. He briefly discusses Swampman and turns to the
issue of anti-individualism and inateness, noting that his position is
metaphysically compatible with innateness. He then turns to his own
brand of social externalism, insisting that on his view, the patients
in the arthritis thought experiment have different concepts (because
of their respective linguistic communities) and hence different

''The thought experiments: Reply to Donnellan'' begins by a comparison
between Burge's arthritis and Putnam's Twin Earth thought experiments,
noting that the main similarity is that both types of experiments rest
''on the fact that we are not omniscient and the fact that there is
possible slack between what we know descriptively about the referents,
or correct applications, of our concepts and what their referents
are'' (363). Burge then discusses the four differences highlighted by
Donnellan between his and Putnam's experiments, concentrating on the
last one, the place of indexicality, which he thinks is misleading. He
questions the indexical semantic rule proposed by Donnellan, insisting
that, as the psychological states of the twins are not identical, it
is just not necessary for it to be indexical and the rule itself is
neither necessary nor plausible. More generally, Burge rejects the use
of such metalinguistic rules to account for incomplete mastery of

''The indexical strategy: Reply to Owens'' is short given a general
agreement between Burge and Owens on the subject. Thus Burge limits
himself to a few qualifications to Owens' paper and to a discussion of
a thought experiment proposed by Owens.

The eighteenth chapter ''Tracking perspective: Reply to Higginbotham''
concerns one of the two contributions by linguists to the
book. Although Burge expresses his sympathy with most of
Higginbotham's paper, he disagrees on the idea that preserving
reference implies losing the perspective of others in indirect
discourse. His argument rests on the difference between the rule for
contextual reference for a given indexical and the meaning of that
indexical, thus rejecting Higginbotham's division of the lexicon in
the two classes of items with meanings and items with rules of
use. Burge concludes that ''a satisfying investigation of language
must sometimes go beyond the bounds of linguistic meaning, or
linguistic understanding, conservatively construed'' (382).

The next chapter, ''Concepts, conceptions, reflective understanding:
Reply to Peacocke'', begins by an acknowledgment that reflective
acceptance of conceptual truths and the application of incompletely
understood concepts may be accounted for in mentalistic terms through
the notion of implicit conceptions. Burge nevertheless tries to
precise the notion of implicitness used by Peacocke, proposing that
''implicit conceptions are unconscious psychological conceptual
structures that explain our ability to apply concepts to cases, or to
realize that principles involving concepts are true'' (383), proposing
that such implicit conceptions might be neurally represented in a
syntactic way, though this still leaves it open whether such
conceptions are subpersonal or personal. His doubts concern whether
implicit conceptions can be as widely used as Peacocke seems prepared
to allow. In addition, implicit conceptions could themselves be
incomplete, which leads to a futher application of anti-
individualism. The paper ends with a (slightly critical) discussion of
Peacocke's interpretation of Leibniz and Frege and a defense of
rationalism about truths.

Chapter 20, ''Epiphenomenalism: Reply to Dretske'', opens with a
statement to the effect that there is indeed a disagreement about
epiphenomenalism, which concerns both its being a threat and the
method for its rejection. Though Burge claims that he is interested in
the mind-body problem, he owns to a negative attitude regarding
epiphenomenalism as a serious notion and about materialist
metaphysics. Returning to epiphenomenalism and anti- individualism, he
notes that though some relational properties are causally irrelevant,
not all relational properties are and that, similarly, though some
higher- level properties are causally irrelevant, not all higher-
order properties are. Burge localizes Dretske's worry about
epiphenomenalism in a confusion between mental events as individuated
through their contents and the relational facts that underlie those
contents. If the confusion is led to rest, it takes care of the worry
about epiphenomenalism. The paper ends with a rejection of
materialism regarding mental events.

In the next chapter, ''Qualia and intentional content:Reply to
Block'', Burge argues, mainly in accordance with Block's view, that
having color concepts partly depends on ''bearing relations to the
colors in a broader environment'' (405) and agrees ''that there are
non representational qualitative mental properties'' (405). This is,
again in agreement with Block, against the representationalist views
of sensations. Burge then turns to Block's discussion of Inverted
Earth, outlining the importance of evolution in color perception.
Thus, on Inverted Earth, ''representational content changes without
any corresponding change in phenomenal character'' (411). However,
''the perceptual intentional content (~E) will commonly be in some
way, at some level, different, if phenomenal character is different''
(412). Burge then turns to Block's remark that phenomenal character
may vary among normal humans. Burge defends the notion that this
variation is consigned not to global identification of color, but
rather ''to a narrowly discriminated and quickly forgotten shade''
(413), and is thus irrelevant for intersubjective color typing.

Burge then returns to authoritative self-knowledge in ''Mental agency
in authoritative self-knowledge: Reply to Kobes''. He is in global
agreement with Kobes, notably on the point that ''some performative
knowledge of one's propositional attitudes is partly constitutive of
being a critically rational agent'' (417). Burge notes that knowledge
about one's own actions does not have the same roots depending on
whether it concerns physical or mental actions. Knowledge of physical
action is subject to brute contingencies and hence to brute error,
which is not the case for knowledge of one's own mental states. Burge
then introduces a distinction between performative self- knowledge
which is logically self-verifying (e.g., I am hereby entertaining the
thought that writing requires concentration) and which corresponds to
pure cogito cases and performative self-knowledge that is not (e.g. I
am hereby thinking (in the sense of comitting myself to the view) that
writing requires concentration), or impure cogito cases, of which,
however, Burge remarks that they are abnormal if not pathological. He
then notes that performative self-knowledge involves a reflexive
element: ''there is (~E) a reflexive second-order element in the
logical form of the first-order thoughts'' (419). However, Burge
considers that ''the formation of a great number of beliefs,
particularly perceptual beliefs, is not strictly an activity'' (419)
and that the performative model thus cannot fully explain first-person
authority. ''Performative and reflexive cases are such that the
intentional content that they attribute is thought and thought about
at the same time. So the content of the attributed bottom-level
attitude and the content attributed in the self- attributional thought
are locked together'' (426). This means that in slow-switching Twin
Earth cases both contents will come apart at the intentional level. In
non-reflexive cases, memory will ''preserve the content between
different attitudinal states over time'' (431).

''Phenomenality and reference: Reply to Loar'' opens with the
acknowledgement of a fundamental difference, given that Loar defends
an internalist view, but expresses a doubt as to the reasons why Loar
thinks an internalist view necessary. According to Burge, an
internalist view is not necessary to fight materialism: indeed the
view that a conceiving's intentional properties are essential to it,
even combined with anti-individualism defeats, at most, type and token
identity materialism. Anyway, ''spatial location is not the central
issue'' (435). Burge then turns to opaque contexts and insists that
''differences in oblique occurrences in true propositional attitude
attributions prima facie signal differences in mental content'' (438).
What is more, intentional states may lack referents: this fact does
not contradict anti-individualism, and neither do brain-in-the-vat
thought experiments or any other cases of non-reference.

The final chapter, ''Psychology and the environment: Reply to
Chomsky'', opens with a commendation of Chomsky's work and a defense
of it against frequent philosophical objections. It begins with the
points of agreement, i.e., the rejection of eliminativism about mental
kinds, the distinction between scientific and commonsensical
psychological notions, the inaccessibility to consciousness of many
linguistic and psychological structures, the frequent innateness of
linguistic and psychological abilities, the notion that the holism of
meaning is no barrier to its scientific study. Burge then turns to the
differences, notably in terms of internalism or individualism, though
he notes that the notion of internalism defended by Chomsky is not
well-defined enough to allow precise discussion. He notes that the
notion of I- language is not incompatible with anti-individualism
(which ''does not presuppose the existence of public languages''
(453)). What is more, ''internalism or individualism (~E) is not
simply a claim that psychology studies the internal states of
individuals'' (453). Burge also considers Chomsky's skepticism about
intuitions in thought experiments an overreaction. He then turns to
the part of Chomsky's article where the author tries to justify his
internalist position (where ''internalism'' is interpreted as meaning
that no cognitive mechanism can be investigated as related to anything
external) by appeal to various scientific theories, notably Marr's
theory of vision and notes that Chomsky does not give an adequate
discussion of Marr's work, in which the ''main objective is explicitly
stated to be that of explaining how we visually determine the
properties of actual objects in physical space that we in fact
visually represent as they are'' (464). Thus, semantic theories can be
both internal in Chomsky's sense and anti-individualist in Burge's.


In ''The voyage out'', Virginia Woolf has one of her characters
reminisce about his Cambridge youth and the philosophical discussions
he then had with his fellow students, making him say ''It's the
arguing that counts''. So it was then, at the end of the 19th and
beginning of the 20th century at Cambridge when Georges Moore and
Bertrand Russell were the philosophers in residence and so it is now
in analytic philosophy. Yet, it would be very short-sighted of
linguists to dismiss analytical philosophy as mere hair- cutting, and
this is especially true of the questions raised by Burge's work. The
issue of anti-individualism is relevant at most levels in linguistics
(though maybe not in phonology), the more obvious being semantics and
pragmatics. Parts of the debate in the present book are deeply
relevant to issues in contemporary pragmatics, such as for instance
the appropriate conclusion to draw from Burge's arthritis thought
experiment, as well as the chapters outlining the difference between
Burge's and Davidson's views of social anti-individualism. One such
issue may be the Gricean notion of non-natural meaning and the way one
could or not link it to those two versions of social
anti-individualism. Another issue, on the semantic side, would be the
degree of agreement and the points of disagreement between different
semantic approaches (e.g., model-theoretical versus situation
semantics) and the specific brand of anti-individualism that has been
defended by Burge. There is no space here to go into details and I
will not attempt to do so, but all of these questions should be taken
into account and thought about seriously by linguists. Thus, it is a
book well worth reading for any audience interested in semantics and
pragmatics, as well as cognitive science more broadly. Though densely
packed and complex in some places, this book is in general very clear
and highly rewards reading efforts.


Burge, T. (1979), ''Individualism and the mental'', in Midwest Studies
in Philosophy 4, 73-121.

Putnam, H. (1975) ''The meaning of 'meaning''', in Mind, Language and
Reality. Philosophical Papers, vol. 2, Cambridge, Cambridge University
Press, 215-271.


Anne Reboul is a First Class Research Fellow at the French Center for
Scientific Research (CNRS). She has a Ph.D. in Linguistics (EHESS,
Paris) and a Ph.D. in philosophy (University of Geneva,
Switzerland). She has written some books, among which an Encyclopaedic
Dictionary of Pragmatics and quite a few papers in French and English,
on pragmatics and/or philosophic subjects.
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