By John Perry
It is a list of conversations of Gretchen Weirob, a instructor of philosophy at a small Midwestern
college, and of her acquaintances. The conversations happened in her sanatorium room at the 3 nights
before she died from accidents sustained in a motorbike twist of fate. Sam Miller is a chaplain and a long-
time pal of Weirob’s; Dave Cohen is a former scholar of hers.
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The argument runs more or less as before. Consider Peter1 . How did he acquire his ``ME'' concept? He learned about ME from the doctor. But that is only the last part of a long story. When he encountered the doctor, he was already in a position rapidly to acquire the concept simply by hearing a few words. In order to explain this, we would have to develop a complex theory of his innate endowment and his developmental history: how he learned about diseases and so on. But the key point is, whatever the truth of the matter, everything speci®ed by that theory would be present on TE2 .
But they construct a notion of 18 CHAPTER ONE narrow content in terms of functional role and hold that twins' states have the same narrow content because they have the same functional role. Although I sympathize with much of the motivation for these versions of internalism, I wish to defend a different one. The version I will defend holds that narrow content is a variety of ordinary representation. Narrow content is just content, to be understood in roughly the terms it always has been understood (at least since Frege), such terms as sense, reference, truth, extension, ``satisfaction'' in the technical, Tarskian sense, ``aboutness'' in the philosophers' sense, and ``intentionality'' in roughly Brentano's sense.
If scientists had no concept of the ether, then it is hard indeed to see how they could once have believed that it was necessary for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation, later called into question its existence, and then come to regard it as unnecessary. And, to cite another standard example, we have ``terra pinguis'' or ``phlogiston,'' which was supposed to explain combustion. Here is the Oxford Concise Science Dictionary again: The existence of this hypothetical substance was proposed in 1669 by Johann Becher.