In this paper, you will develop, and evaluate, an argument. As part of your writ
In this paper, you will develop, and evaluate, an argument. As part of your writing process, devote some time to planning out what you will say in each section of the paper, before writing it all up. Expect that it is likely you will want to revise your plan, before you start writing. (And you may also want to revise some of what you write when you are done as well). Case: You fly to Twin Earth, and your Twin host pours themselves a drink from the taps. You want some, and so ask for one too, and eagerly gulp down what they pour you. You feel glad that you got what you asked for, water. And go on to drink more of the stuff (chemical composition: XYZ) and live happy healthy full life when you fly back to Earth. Putnam’s arguments, in “Meaning and Reference”, suggest that you did not get what you asked for. You wanted H2O, but you received XYZ. Fodor, in “Methodological Solipsism”, gives reasons to potentially think otherwise. He writes (starting at the bottom of 234): “Suppose I know that John wants to meet the girl who lives next door, and suppose I know that the true when “wants to” is construed opaquely [where construed opaquely means such that it’s true that someone can want to drink that (or see the Morning Star), and not want to drink poison (or see the Evening Star), even though that is poison, and Morning Star is the very same thing as the Evening Star] Then, given even rough-and-ready generalizations about how people’s behaviors are contingent upon their utilities, I can make some reasonable predictions (guess) about what John is likely to do: He’s likely to say (viz. utter), “I want to meet the girl who lives next door.” He’s likely to call upon his neighbor. He’s likely (at a minimum, and all things being equal) to exhibit next-door-directed behavior. None of this is frightfully exciting, but it’s all I need for present purposes, and what more would you expect from folk psychology? On the other hand, suppose that all I know is that John wants to meet the girl next door where "wants to" is construed transparently; i.e., all I know is that it's true of the girl next door that John wants to meet her [where construed transparently, ie non-opaquely, it’s not true someone can want to drink that and not want to drink poison, if that is poison. They only think they want to drink that, but they don’t.] Then there is little or nothing that I can predict about how John is likely to proceed. And this is not just because rough and ready psychological generalizations want ceteris paribus clauses to fill them in; it's also for the deeper reason that I can't infer from what I know about John to any relevant description of the mental causes of his behavior. For example, I have no reason to predict that John will say such things as "I want to meet the girl who lives next door" since, let John be as cooperative and as truthful as you like, and let him be utterly a native speaker, still, he may believe that the girl he wants to meet languishes in Latvia. In which case, "I want to meet the girl who lives next door" is the last thing it will occur to him to say." Fodor is pointing out some reasons that, mostly, talk of “wants” (and also “believes”) should be construed opaquely (in the first way above). Start your paper by laying out Putnam’s argument that “water” as used by us Earthlings refers to H2O. Do this as clearly and succinctly as you can, in your own words. Then explain Fodor’s reasoning and discuss how someone who accepts it should describe the case in this prompt. On Twin Earth, did you get the water you wanted? If Fodor is right, does that entail that Putnam’s analysis of the case gets something important wrong? What do you think? Next weigh in some more. What analysis of the case do think is right? Please explain two reasons you think this. If you think neither is, and there is something confused happening, explain two reasons why you think that. If you think the whole dispute is pointless, give two reasons explaining why you think that. This paper is not devilishly hard (you needn’t dive deep into Fodor’s paper). The trick is to sit and think for a bit, to plan, before you write. Writing it all in one go will be harder, than sitting down and hammering out the bits you are clear on, and then playing around with Fodor’s point about “want”. How do you think construing “want” and “believe” opaquely affects Putnam’s arguments? Does doing so suggest a particular description of the case in the prompt? What matters here is clearly arguing for your claims. There is no trick question here. In the case in the prompt, did you get what you wanted, what you asked for, what you believed you were asking for?

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