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Farkas, Katalin. What is externalism?
2003, Philosophical Studies 112 (3):187-208.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Abstract: The content of the externalist thesis about the mind depends crucially on how we define the distinction between the internal and the external. According to the usual understanding, the boundary between the internal and the external is the skull or the skin of the subject. In this paper I argue that the usual understanding is inadequate, and that only the new understanding of the external/internal distinction I suggest helps us to understand the issue of the compatibility of externalism and privileged access

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Sawyer, Sarah. Privileged Access to the World
1998, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (4): 523-533.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Lukas Schwengerer

Summary: Addresses the so-called McKinsey problem, which aims to show that semantic externalism and armchair access to the contents of one’s own thoughts are incompatible: the conjunction of the two theses leads to the disastrous conclusion that it is possible to have armchair knowledge of the external world. Sawyer defends externalism by biting the bullet, thereby arguing that we do in fact have armchair knowledge of the external world.

Comment: This paper can be used as a further reading on semantic externalism or self-knowledge. It is well suited for advanced undergraduate or graduate students. Sawyer provides a clear and concise formulation of the McKinsey problem and explores a possible response for externalists by embracing the consequences of accepting both semantic externalism and privileged access.

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