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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 13073
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   Reference Failure, Illusion of Thought and Self-Knowledge
  Author(s):  Mahmoud Morvarid
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Dialectica
  No.:  3
  Vol.:  67
  Year:  2013
  Pages:   303-323
  Supported by:  IPM
One of the main issues concerning different versions of content externalism is whether or not they are compatible with the privileged access thesis. According to the so-called illusion version of externalism, in reference failure cases (such as cases in which an empty proper name is involved) the subject suffers an illusion of entertaining a thought. In this paper, I shall concentrate on a recent argument offered by Jessica Brown, which she calls the illusion argument, to the effect that the illusion version of externalism undermines the privileged access thesis (Brown, 2004). After criticizing Brown's argument, I shall try to reconstruct the illusion argument in a more defensible and straightforward way. I will exploit, in my argument, solutions proposed by Goldman and Alston for the so-called generality problem(Goldman, 1986; Alston, 1995). Moreover, I shall offer a stronger formulation of the global reliability condition for knowledge, upon which my reconstruction of the illusion argument is based.

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