Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Twin Earth Burge Frank I 669
Twin Earth/Burge: further thought experiments (without language): e.g. aluminium/twin earth-aluminium: someone who grows up in an environment without aluminium cannot have "aluminium thoughts". The linguistic habits of the social community are obviously irrelevant!

Donald Davidson (1987): Knowing One's Own Mind, in: Proceedings and
Adresses of the American Philosophical Association LX (1987),441-4 58

Frank I 689
Twin Earth/Burge: the change from earth to twin earth leads after a certain time (learning situation) to a change in the primary belief and this in turn leads to a change in the reflexive belief.
Frank I 694
Twin Earth/Burge: if you were to secretly move back and forth between earth and twin earth, you would certainly not notice any difference in any feature of the world or in your own consciousness. N.B.: but this does not yet capture the idea that the two lives are the same in terms of experience and feeling!
The thoughts would not change at the moment of change. (Learning situation "natural learning history", Putnam ditto).
Fra I 695
A secret change between earth and twin earth - that is "the classic Californian fantasy story". If the change would be constantly to and fro, one could not give any information about the native earth.
The person would find no differences in their thoughts, in the way things "feel".
Burge: I believe that there are general principles for the changes, but that they do not provide any clear-cut cases.
But now the original idea is that at least some aspects of one's mental life are fixed by the chemical composition of the body. ("pure phenomenal sensations").
If you do not like the term, you can replace it with something that results from abstraction from the inability to discriminate, by abstraction from their inability to distinguish mental events under the changing conditions.
Problem: the person has different thoughts but cannot distinguish them:
Twin Earth/Burge: the person exposed to the changes would have different thoughts but would not be able to compare the situations and determine when and where the differences occurred. Error: to conclude that the person could not know what thoughts he or she has, unless they were being empirically investigated.
Fra I 696
But it would be absurd to have to proceed empirically to know what thoughts we are thinking.
Frank I 707
Self-Identification/twin earth/Burge: For example, my knowledge that I am thinking that mercury is a metal depends on the ability to think - not to explicate - the thought. I am a competent user of the word in my environment. This does not require that I can distinguish my environment from a twin environment!
Meaning and reference are anchored in my environment rather than in an environment where the meaning of the word form would be different.

Tyler Burge (1988a): Individualism and Self-Knowledge, in: The Journal of
Philosophy 85 (1988), 649-663

Burge I
T. Burge
Origins of Objectivity Oxford 2010

Burge II
Tyler Burge
"Two Kinds of Consciousness"
Bewusstein, Thomas Metzinger Paderborn/München/Wien/Zürich 1996

Fra I
M. Frank (Hrsg.)
Analytische Theorien des Selbstbewusstseins Frankfurt 1994