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Unformatted text preview: 1 TW Chapter 3 - Roush This chapter is meant to deepen and broaden an argument that goes something like this: The internalist (about mental states) thinks that knowledge can’t be a mental state because knowledge involves this external element of truth which isn’t local to the subject. Any mental state can explain human action, and to do so it must be local. (It is in virtue of the locality of mental states that they can explain action.) Hence, knowledge can’t be a mental state because it isn’t local and for that reason can’t explain human action, or doesn’t add anything to the explanation of human action that was not there from other mental states (like belief or true belief). It seems that according to the argument TW attributes to the internalist we see independently that knowledge adds nothing to the explanation of action that belief or true belief didn’t give us, and then one explains this by saying that mental states and only mental states can explain action because action requires locality, and mental states are internal. The first mover in the argument of the supposed internalist seems to be that action can be explained only by something local (due to something like a classical causal picture) and that’s both why mental states can explain action, and why knowledge can’t (and so can’t be a mental state). In arguing that knowledge is broad, TW argued that knowledge can add something mental to belief or rational belief or… whatever idea short of knowledge that you might try to capture the mental in. The internalist can come back and say, well, okay, knowledge is broad, but the thing that knowledge adds to the mental is an internal part of knowledge, which can be isolated from the external part in a decomposition into conjuncts. If knowledge is prime, then it can’t be decomposed into internal and external conjuncts. This is why TW is arguing that knowledge is prime. In the section on causal explanation of action, he argues by intuition that knowledge can do work in explaining action that belief or true belief just cannot do. Question: Why not conclude from the intuition that knowledge can add something essential to explanations of action that mental states alone cannot explain action? What explains action is a seamless (prime) web of relation between the mental and the physical or what remains of the environment once the prime mental is hived off? In other words, mental states can be prime and have external aspects without knowledge being a mental state. On this view, knowledge contains a prime conjunct [prove that if knowledge contains a prime conjunct then knowledge is prime, so the prime conjunct can explain the primeness of knowledge], and it’s that prime conjunct that explains action. TW hasn’t ruled out that possibility....
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course PHIL 290 taught by Professor Fitelson during the Fall '06 term at Berkeley.
- Fall '06