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10th International Brazilian Meeting on Cognitive Science

Keynote 2: A Slim Defense of Narrow Content

Presenter: Frederick Adams – University of Delaware – USA

December 7, 2015 – 10:00 AM


This talk considers Gabriel Segal’s recent attacks on content externalism. Segal argues that the existence of empty kind terms refutes content externalism. He argues that an obvious rescue of saying that empty kind terms have no content might save the theory but for the fact that thoughts involving those empty kind terms are involved in perfectly meaningful behavior. Then Segal gives several examples of such terms and such meaningful behavior that they explain. Hence, he claims empty kind terms cannot be meaningless, and thus externalism is false. I show why Segal’s examples and arguments still fail to establish that content externalism is false