Chapter 11 argues that it is possible to reduce facts about mental representation to facts of a broadly phenomenological nature. The key intuition behind this suggestion is that it is impossible for two beings to duplicate one another in terms of their phenomenal dispositions—their dispositions to have one kind of conscious experience upon having another kind of conscious experience—without also duplicating one another in terms of the representational contents of their mental states. A main source of resistance to this kind of account is the widely-held belief that the representational contents of a person’s mental states often depend on how that person relates to his social and physical environment. A main goal of Chapter 11 is to show the arguments commonly advanced in support of this kind of externalism are unsound.
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