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Some Varieties Of Semantic Externalism In Duns Scotus’s Cognitive Psychology

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Chapter Summary

Duns Scotus highlights that an intelligible species with universal content, inherent in the mind, is a partial cause of an occurrent cognition whose immediate object is the selfsame species. This chapter explains how Scotus defends the possibility of this causal activity. Scotus claims that forms are causes, and that inherence makes no difference to the capacity of a form to cause an effect. He illustrates this by examining a case in which an accident is an instrument of a substance in the production of a certain sort of effect. Scotus is clear that causal activity is explained by form, in the very strong sense that the form of a composite material substance is responsible for the production of an effect. What motivates Scotuss version of externalism is the nature of the causal story on the level of cognitive psychology that he wants to tell.

Keywords: causal activity; cognitive psychology; Duns Scotus; semantic externalism



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