Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Twin earth: is an expression from a thought experiment by H. Putnam (H. Putnam, The meaning of ‘meaning’, In Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2 Mind, Language and Reality, Cambridge, 1985). It is assumed that there is a second earth, which resembles our own in every detail, except for the composition of the substance water. However, the twin earth-water has phenomenologically the same properties as our water and is also called water there. The example should show that we cannot determine the reference of expressions independently of the environment. See also reference, externalism, internalism, anti-individualism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Daniel Dennett on Twin Earth - Dictionary of Arguments

I 572
Twin Earth/Putnam/DennettVsPutnam: he calls for a leap in reference, a leap in intentionality.
I 573f
Dennett: one could now tend to think that the inner intentionality had a certain "inertia". The brain cannot focus on one thing and mean another. (Wittgenstein).
Twin Earth/Dennett/VsPutnam: you cannot tell a story under the assumption that tables are no tables, even though they look like tables and are used like tables.
Anything else would be a "living creature that looks like Fury" (but is not Fury).
But if there are "Butterhorses" on the twin earth which are in all aspects like our horses, then Butterhorses are horses - not an earthly sort of horses, but horses after all.
((s) that is why the twin earth water does have a different chemical formula in Putnam: YXZ.
Dennett: of course you can also represented a stricter opinion, according to which the non-earthly horses are a separate species. Both is possible. ((s) VsDennett: it depends on how you define determination). ((s) that only works with "hidden" properties)
Twin Earth/DennettVsPutnam: he tries to close the gap by saying that we are referring to natural types, whether we know it or not.
Dennett: But what types are natural? A breed is as natural as a species or a genus.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dennett I
D. Dennett
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, New York 1995
German Edition:
Darwins gefährliches Erbe Hamburg 1997

Dennett II
D. Dennett
Kinds of Minds, New York 1996
German Edition:
Spielarten des Geistes Gütersloh 1999

Dennett III
Daniel Dennett
"COG: Steps towards consciousness in robots"
Bewusstein, Thomas Metzinger, Paderborn/München/Wien/Zürich 1996

Dennett IV
Daniel Dennett
"Animal Consciousness. What Matters and Why?", in: D. C. Dennett, Brainchildren. Essays on Designing Minds, Cambridge/MA 1998, pp. 337-350
Der Geist der Tiere, D Perler/M. Wild, Frankfurt/M. 2005

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-25
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