Javascript Menu by
MindPapers is now part of PhilPapers: online research in philosophy, a new service with many more features.
 Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
click here for help on how to search

1.5e. Internalism and Externalism about Experience (Internalism and Externalism about Experience on PhilPapers)

See also:
Adams, Frederick R. & Dietrich, Laura A. (2004). Swampman's revenge: Squabbles among the representationalists. Philosophical Psychology 17 (3):323-40.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: There are both externalist and internalist theories of the phenomenal content of conscious experiences. Externalists like Dretske and Tye treat the phenomenal content of conscious states as representations of external properties (and events). Internalists think that phenomenal conscious states are reducible to electrochemical states of the brain in the style of the type-type identity theory. In this paper, we side with the representationalists and visit a dispute between them over the test case of Swampman. Does Swampman have conscious phenomenal states or not? Dretske and Tye disagree on this issue. We try to settle the dispute in favor of Dretske's theory (to our own surprise)
Biro, John I. (1996). Dretske on phenomenal externalism. Philosophical Issues 7:171-178.   (Google | More links)
Byrne, Alex & Tye, Michael (2006). Qualia ain't in the head. Noûs 40 (2):241-255.   (Cited by 9 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Qualia internalism is the thesis that qualia are intrinsic to their subjects: the experiences of intrinsic duplicates (in the same or different metaphysically possible worlds) have the same qualia. Content externalism is the thesis that mental representation is an extrinsic matter, partly depending on what happens outside the head.1 Intentionalism (or representationalism) comes in strong and weak forms. In its weakest formulation, it is the thesis that representationally identical experiences of subjects (in the same or different metaphysically possible worlds) have the same qualia.2
Crane, Tim (2006). Comment on Ted Honderich's radical externalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (s 7-8):28-43.   (Google)
Abstract: Ted Honderich's theory of consciousness as existence, which he here calls Radical Externalism, starts with a good phenomenological observation: that perceptual experience appears to involve external things being immediately present to us. As P.F. Strawson once observed, when asked to describe my current perceptual state, it is normally enough simply to describe the things around me (Strawson, 1979, p. 97). But in my view that does not make the whole theory plausible
Davies, Martin (1993). Aims and claims of externalist arguments. Philosophical Issues 4:227-249.   (Cited by 9 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Davies, Martin (1997). Externalism and experience. In Ned Block & Owen J. Flanagan (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates. MIT Press.   (Cited by 23 | Google)
Davies, Martin (1991). Individualism and perceptual content. Mind 100 (399):461-84.   (Cited by 27 | Google | More links)
Davies, Martin (1992). Perceptual content and local supervenience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 66:21-45.   (Cited by 22 | Annotation | Google)
de Vries, Willem A. (1996). Experience and the swamp creature. Philosophical Studies 82 (1):55-80.   (Annotation | Google)
Dretske, Fred (1996). Phenomenal externalism. Philosophical Issues 7.   (Google)
Dretske, Fred (1996). Phenomenal externalism, or if meanings ain't in the head, where are qualia? Philosophical Issues 7:143-158.   (Cited by 19 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Egan, Andy & John, James (ms). A puzzle about perception.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: experience supervene on the intrinsic properties of the experience
Ellis, Jonathan (ms). Can an externalist about concepts be an internalist about phenomenal character.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Many philosophers today believe that what an individual is thinking does not depend entirely on the individual
Ellis, Jonathan (2007). Content externalism and phenomenal character: A new worry about privileged access. Synthese 159 (1).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A central question in contemporary epistemology concerns whether content externalism threatens a common doctrine about privileged access. If the contents of a subject
Ellis, Jonathan (2010). Phenomenal character, phenomenal concepts, and externalism. Philosophical Studies 147 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: A celebrated problem for representationalist theories of phenomenal character is that, given externalism about content, these theories lead to externalism about phenomenal character. While externalism about content is widely accepted, externalism about phenomenal character strikes many philosophers as wildly implausible. Even if internally identical individuals could have different thoughts, it is said, if one of them has a headache, or a tingly sensation, so must the other. In this paper, I argue that recent work on phenomenal concepts reveals that, contrary to appearances, this standard conjunction of externalism about content and internalism about phenomenal character is ultimately untenable on other models of phenomenal character as well, including even “qualia realism.” This would be significant for a number of reasons. The first is patent: it would undermine a primary objection to representationalism. The fact that representationalism is incompatible with the conjunction would be no serious problem for representationalism if no other plausible model of phenomenal character is compatible with it. The second is that the many philosophers who embrace the conjunction would be forced to abandon one of the two views; externalism would be true either of both content and phenomenal character, or of neither. Likewise, those philosophers who have taken a stance on only one of the two internalism/externalism debates would have to be seen as thereby committed to a particular stance on the other. The third reason stems from the fact that qualia realism typically goes hand in hand with internalism about phenomenal character. To the extent that it does, my argument would reveal that qualia realism is itself in tension with externalism about content. This would perhaps be the most surprising result of all
Forbes, Graeme R. (1997). Externalism and scientific cartesianism. Mind and Language 12 (2):196-205.   (Google | More links)
Freeman, Anthony (2006). Radical Externalism: Honderich's Theory of Consciousness Discussed. Exeter: Imprint Academic.   (Google)
Freeman, Anthony (2006). Special issue on radical externalism - editorial preface. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (7-8):1-1.   (Google)
Noë, Alva (2006). Experience without the head. In John Hawthorne & Tamar Szab'o Gendler (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Some cognitive states — e.g. states of thinking, calculating, navigating — may be partially external because, at least sometimes, these states depend on the use of symbols and artifacts that are outside the body. Maps, signs, writing implements may sometimes be as inextricably bound up with the workings of cognition as neural structures or internally realized symbols (if there are any). According to what Clark and Chalmers [1998] call active externalism, the environment can drive and so partially constitute cognitive processes. Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? If active externalism is right, then the boundary cannot be drawn at the skull. The mind reaches – or at least can reach --- beyond the limits of the body out into the world
Hawthorne, John (2004). Why Humeans are out of their minds. Noûs 38 (2):351-58.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Hellie, Benj (2010). An externalist's guide to inner experience. In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes /seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors/. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be "phenomenally" the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!

Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) /reflective indiscriminability/. I build a "displaced perception" account of reflection on which indiscriminability stems from shared "qualia". Qualia are compatible with direct realism: while they generate an explanatory gap (and colors do not), so does /seeing/; qualia are excluded from perceptual consciousness by its "transparency"; instead, qualia are aspects of thought about the perceived environment.

The asymmetry between my treatments of color and seeing is grounded in the asymmetry between ignorance and error: while inversion shows that normal subjects are ignorant of the natures of the colors, hallucination shows not that perceivers are ignorant of the nature of seeing but that hallucinators are prone to error about their condition. Past literature has treated inversion and hallucination as on a par: externalists see error in both cases, while internalists see mutual ignorance. My account is so complicated because plausible results require mixing it up.
Honderich, Ted (2006). Radical externalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (7-8):3-13.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract: If you want a philosophically diligent exposition of a theory, something that has got through review by conventional peers, go elsewhere (Honderich, 2004). If you want an understanding made more immediate by brevity and informality, read on. The theory is a Radical Externalism about the nature of consciousness. If it is not a complete departure from the cranialism of most of the philosophy and science of consciousness, it is a fundamental departure
Horwich, Paul (1996). Comment on Dretske. Philosophical Issues 7:167-170.   (Google | More links)
Igel, Solomon (1995). A few remarks concerning a science of sensory phenomena. Axiomathes 6 (1).   (Google | More links)
Kim, Jaegwon (1996). Dretske's qualia externalism. Philosophical Issues 7:159-165.   (Google | More links)
Kirk, Robert E. (1998). Consciousness, information, and external relations. Communication and Cognition 30 (3-4):249-71.   (Google)
Kirk, Robert E. (1994). The trouble with ultra-externalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 68:293-307.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Kirk, Robert E. (1996). Why ultra-externalism goes too far. Analysis 56 (2):73-79.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Kriegel, Uriah (2006). Externalism: Putting mind and world back together again. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):487-490.   (Google)
Lalor, Brendan J. (1999). Intentionality and qualia. Synthese 121 (3):249-290.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Law, Stephen (2006). Honderich and the curse of epiphenomenalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (7-8):61-70.   (Google)
Lowe, E. J. (2006). Radical externalism or Berkeley revisited? Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (s 7-8):78-94.   (Google)
Abstract: Ted Honderich's 'Radical Externalism' concerning the nature of consciousness is a refreshing, and in many ways very appealing, approach to a long- standing and seemingly intractable philosophical conundrum. Although I sympathize with many of his motivations in advancing the theory and share his hostility for certain alternative approaches that are currently popular, I will serve him better by playing devil's advocate than by simply recording my points of agreement with him. If his theory is a good one, it should be able to stand up to the strongest criticisms that we can muster against it. I shall do my best to articulate some of those criticisms as forcefully as I can
Lycan, William G. (2001). The case for phenomenal externalism. Philosophical Perspectives 15:17-35.   (Cited by 22 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Since Twin Earth was discovered by American philosophical-space explorers in the 1970s, the domain of
Macpherson, Fiona (2005). Colour inversion problems for representationalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):127-152.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper I examine whether representationalism can account for various thought experiments about colour inversions. Representationalism is, at minimum, the view that, necessarily, if two experiences have the same representational content then they have the same phenomenal character. I argue that representationalism ought to be rejected if one holds externalist views about experiential content and one holds traditional exter- nalist views about the nature of the content of propositional attitudes. Thus, colour inver- sion scenarios are more damaging to externalist representationalist views than have been previously thought. More specifically, I argue that representationalists who endorse externalism about experiential content either have to become internalists about the content of propositional attitudes or they have to adopt a novel variety of externalism about the content of propositional attitudes. This novel type of propositional attitude externalism is investigated. It can be seen that adopting it forces one to reject Putnam
Macpherson, Fiona (2000). Representational Theories of Phenomenal Character. Dissertation, University of Stirling   (Google | More links)
McCulloch, Gregory (1990). Externalism and experience. Analysis 50 (October):244-50.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
McCulloch, Gregory (1994). Not much trouble for ultra-externalism. Analysis 54 (4):265-9.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
McCulloch, Gregory (2002). Phenomenological externalism. In Nicholas Smith (ed.), Reading McDowell. Routledge.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
McCulloch, Gregory (2003). The Life of the Mind: An Essay on Phenomenological Externalism. Routledge.   (Cited by 17 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Life of the Mind presents an original and striking conception of the mind and its place in nature. In a spirited and rigorous attack on most of the orthodox positions in contemporary philosophy of mind, McCulloch connects three of the orthodoxy's central themes-- externalism, phenomenology and the relation between science and commonsense psychology in a defense of a thoroughly anti-Cartesian conception of mental life. McCulloch argues that the life of the mind will never be understood until we properly understand the subject's essential embodiment and immersion in the world, until we give up the idea that an understanding of the mind must be "scientific," and until we give up the idea that intentionality and phenomenology must be understood separately
Pautz, Adam (ms). Sensory awareness as irreducible: From internalist intentionalism to primitivism.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: I am going to develop an argument against Physicalism concerning qualitative mental properties. Unlike most arguments against Physicalism, it is not based on the usual _a priori_ considerations, such as what Mary learns when she comes out of her black and white room or the apparent conceivability of Zombies. Rather, it is based on two broadly _a posteriori_ premises about the structure of experience and its physical basis
Pautz, Adam (2006). Sensory awareness is not a wide physical relation: An empirical argument against externalist intentionalism. Noûs 40 (2):205-240.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Pautz, Adam (online). Tracking intentionalism and optimal conditions: A reply to Byrne and Tye.   (Google)
Abstract: In the mid-nineties, Fred Dretske, William Lycan and Michael Tye published books defending an ambitious new reductive program. The program came in two stages. The first was to defend Intentionalism. The second was to reduce the secondary qualities to external physical properties and then to explain sensory representation in terms of tracking under optimal conditions or biological function. The old reductive program was internalist: the idea used to be that we could reduce experiences to brain states. The new reductive program is externalist
Priest, Stephen (2006). Radical internalism. In Anthony Freeman (ed.), Radical Externalism: Honderich's Theory of Consciousness Discussed. Exeter: Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Robinson, Howard M. (1992). Experience and externalism: A reply to Peter Smith. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 92:221-223.   (Google)
Robinson, Howard M. (1993). Physicalism, externalism and perceptual representation. In Edmond Leo Wright (ed.), New Representationalisms: Essays in the Philosophy of Perception. Brookfield: Avebury.   (Google)
Ross, Peter W. (1999). An externalist approach to understanding color experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):968-969.   (Google)
Abstract: Palmer demarcates the bounds of our understanding of color experience by symmetries in the color space. He claims that if there are symmetries, there can be functionally undetectable color transformations. However, even if there are symmetries, Palmer's support for the possibility of undetectable transformations assumes phenomenal internalism. Alternatively, phenomenal externalism eliminates Palmer's limit on our understanding of color experience
Rowlands, Mark (2002). Two dogmas of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (5-6):158-80.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Sartwell, Crispin (1995). Radical externalism concerning experience. Philosophical Studies 78 (1):55-70.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Schroer, Robert (2009). Does the Phenomenality of Perceptual Experience Present an Obstacle to Phenomenal Externalism? Philosophical Papers 39 (1):93-110.   (Google)
Abstract: : Although Externalism is widely accepted as a thesis about belief, as a thesis about experience it is both controversial and unpopular. One potential explanation of this difference involves the phenomenality of perceptual experience—perhaps there is something about how perceptual experiences seem that straightforwardly speaks against Externalist accounts of their individuation conditions. In this paper, I investigate this idea by exploring the role that the phenomenality of color experience plays in a prominent argument against Phenomenal Externalism: Ned Block’s Inverted Earth Argument. In the course of carrying out this investigation, I will show that challenging Phenomenal Externalism on phenomenological grounds is not as straightforward a task as it is commonly assumed to be.
Smith, Barry C. (2006). Consciousness: An inner view of the outer world. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (7-8):175-86.   (Google)
Abstract: Right now my conscious experience is directed at part of the world. It takes in some aspects of things around me and not others. Some bits of the world occupy my attention, other worldly goings on condition or colour the character of my current perceptual experience. I experience buildings in view through the window, the clothes in the corner of the room, the colour of the walls, the plate with breads, the coffee mugs, the smell of fresh laundry, the muffled sounds of someone in the kitchen, the sounds from the street: a sequence of things that in turn capture my attention moment to moment. And all the while thoughts occur to me, modulating my conscious awareness. I have no doubt that the world and my place in it, together with my recent past history, explains the particular form my consciousness takes right now. But what shape does that explanation take? Things out there beyond the boundaries of my skin enter into the conscious events I undergo. The inner is in this way shaped and determined by those outer things that impress themselves on the mind. What is it, though, for consciousness of this kind to go on at all?
Snowdon, Paul F. (2006). Radical externalisms. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (7-8):187-198.   (Google)
Abstract: Professor Honderich presents his account of consciousness boldly and informally, and his presentation merits a response in similar terms. I conceive of this response as simply the first move in a conversation, in the course of which misunderstandings might be removed and, just possibly, criticisms sharpened, and positions modified. I want to concentrate on two questions that his very interesting paper prompts me to ask. The first question is; what exactly is the thesis about consciousness that Professor Honderich is proposing? The second question is; what are the main reasons he has for his proposal and are they persuasive? Although there are two questions, I shall mix considerations of them together in a way which I hope it is possible to follow
Stephen, Priest (2006). Radical internalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (s 7-8):147-174.   (Google)
Abstract: Honderich claims that for a person to be perceptually conscious is for a world to exist. I decide what this means, and whether it could be true, in the opening section Consciousness and Existence. In Honderich's Phenomenology, I show that Honderich's theory is essentially anticipated in the ideas and Ideas of Husserl. In the third section, Radical Interiority, I argue that although phenomenology putatively eschews ontology of mind, and Honderich construes his position as near- physicalism, Honderich's insights are only truths because we are spiritual substances
Stoneham, Tom (1992). Comment on Davies: A general dilemma? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 92:225-231.   (Google)
Tappenden, Paul (1996). The roundsquare copula: A semantic internalist's rejoinder. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 96:395-400.   (Google)
Tonneau, F. (2004). Consciousness outside the head. Behavior and Philosophy 32:97-123.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Tye, Michael (forthcoming). Phenomenal externalism, lolita, and the planet xenon. In Terence E. Horgan & David Sosa (eds.), Collection on the Philosophy of Jaegwon Kim.   (Google)
Veldeman, Johan (2001). Externalism and phenomenal content. Communication and Cognition 34 (1-2):155-177.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Velmans, Max (1992). Reply to Gillett's consciousness, intentionality and internalism. Philosophical Psychology 5 (2):181-182.   (Google)
Velmans, Max (ms). Where experiences are: Dualist, physicalist, enactive and reflexive accounts of phenomenal consciousness.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Dualists believe that experiences have neither location nor extension, while reductive and ‘non-reductive’ physicalists (biological naturalists) believe that experiences are really in the brain, producing an apparent impasse in current theories of mind. Enactive and reflexive models of perception try to resolve this impasse with a form of “externalism” that challenges the assumption that experiences must either be nowhere or in the brain. However, they are externalist in very different ways. Insofar as they locate experiences anywhere, enactive models locate conscious phenomenology in the dynamic interaction of organisms with the external world, and in some versions, they reduce conscious phenomenology to such interactions, in the hope that this will resolve the hard problem of consciousness. The reflexive model accepts that experiences of the world result from dynamic organism-environment interactions, but argues that such interactions are preconscious. While the resulting phenomenal world is a consequence of such interactions, it cannot be reduced to them. The reflexive model is externalist in its claim that this external phenomenal world, which we normally think of as the “physical world,” is literally outside the brain. Furthermore, there are no added conscious experiences of the external world inside the brain. In the present paper I present the case for the enactive and reflexive alternatives to more classical views and evaluate their consequences. I argue that, in closing the gap between the phenomenal world and what we normally think of as the physical world, the reflexive model resolves one facet of the hard problem of consciousness. Conversely, while enactive models have useful things to say about percept formation and representation, they fail to address the hard problem of consciousness
Weatherson, Brian (2007). Humeans aren't out of their minds. Noûs 41 (3):529–535.   (Google | More links)