Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Andre Gallois

Second Advisor

Mark Heller


Content Externalism, Michael McKinsey, Privileged Access, Self-Knowledge, Tyler Burge


Ever since Descartes, many of us have not questioned the assumption that the knowledge we are able obtain from accessing our own mental states is a priori in nature since we can access these states outside of experience. Content Externalism has called that assumption into question, it carries the implication that our mental states necessarily depend on particular objects and events that exist in our external environment for at least part of their content. Some philosophers believe that this principle of Privileged Access is inherently incompatible with Content Externalism. Others are convinced that both must be true and compatibility must be possible. This thesis explores arguments from both sides and highlights the merits and disadvantages of each. The paper concludes with the argument that a theory developed by Sarah Sawyer presents the best solution to incompatibility problems.


Open Access



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