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Intentionality, Cognition, and Mental Representation in Medieval Philosophy$
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Gyula Klima

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262748

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262748.001.0001

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Ockham’s Externalism

Ockham’s Externalism

(p.166) Ockham’s Externalism
Intentionality, Cognition, and Mental Representation in Medieval Philosophy

Claude Panaccio

Fordham University Press

Claude Panaccio shows that there was an important externalist drive in William of Ockham’s theory of language and mind in the fourteenth century. After distinguishing three different forms of externalism, Panaccio argues that Ockham has a principled externalist stance on all three counts. One particularly important result of Panaccio’s investigations is that Ockham’s externalism critically hinges on his account of the semantic content of concepts as being causally determined, quite independently from what Panaccio calls the “perceptual schemata” enclosed in concepts. The latter are what the cognitive subject having the concept is aware of about the typical phenomenal appearance of the objects to which the concept applies, which helps the cognizer to recognize individuals falling under the concept as such, most of the time fairly reliably, but not infallibly. This separation of the semantic and phenomenal content of intellectual concepts is moving in the direction of opening up the logical (and hence by divine omnipotence certainly realizable) possibility of the separation of the phenomenal content of subjective consciousness and the external reality this consciousness is normally supposed to be about.

Keywords:   externalism, perceptual schemata, semantic content, phenomenal content

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