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Volume 11, 1998

Cognitive Semantics II

Consuelo Preti
Pages 160-172

The Irrelevance of Supervenience

Externalistic theses about the nature of content appear to have untoward consequences for the role of content in folk pscyhological causal explanation. Given the predominance of Twin Earth formulations ofexternalism, however, the explanatory role problem is often construed as the problem of content's failure to supervene on intrinsic states of the head. In this paper I argue that this is misleading. The most general formulation of externalism is shown to be independent of any supervenience claims. The result is that all concepts can be shown to be both externalist in individuation and irrelevant in causal explanation, whether or not they fail to supervene on intrinsinc states.