Individualism, computation, and perceptual content

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Individualism in psychology is a thesis about how mental states are to be taxonomized. As Tyler Burge characterizes it, individualism is the view that the m ental natures of all a person’s or an im al’s m ental states (and events) are such that there is no deep individuative relation between the individual’s being in states of those kinds and the nature of the individual’s physical or social environments. (1986, pp. 3-4) Individualism has sometimes been formulated as a supervenience thesis, according to which psychological states are said to supervene on intrinsic, physical states of the organism to which they are ascribed (e.g. Stich 1983, pp. 164-5). Any differences between organisms not reflected in their intrinsic physical states are not psychologically relevant, it is claimed, and should be ignored by psychological theory. Thus, according to individualism, I and my Twin Earth counterpart are psychologically identical, in virtue of the fact that we are, according to Putnam’s story, molecule for molecule identical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLanguage and Meaning in Cognitive Science
Subtitle of host publicationCognitive Issues and Semantic theory
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781136525322
ISBN (Print)0815327714, 9780815327714
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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