• active externalism;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • Agnieszka Jawarska;
  • agency;
  • Ronald Dworkin;
  • extended mind;
  • externalism;
  • internalism;
  • proxy decision making

Abstract: The leading accounts of the ethics of proxy decision making implicitly draw on internalist conceptions of the philosophy of mind, or so this essay tries to demonstrate. Using the views of Ronald Dworkin as its jumping-off point, the essay argues that accepting the sort of externalism associated with writers such as Putnam and Burge would alter Dworkin's conclusions concerning how we should respond to the current or precedent decisions of people suffering from dementia. Building on the views of Agnieszka Jawarska, it argues that accepting “active” externalism à la Clark and Chambers would provide currently competent people with new resources for establishing the authority of their present values over inconsistent values they might come to entertain should they become demented.