Why Be an Anti-Individualist?



Anti-individualists claim that concepts are individuated with an eye to purely external facts about a subject’s environment about which she may be ignorant or mistaken. This paper offers a novel reason for thinking that anti-individualistic concepts are an ineliminable part of commonsense psychology. Our commitment to anti-individualism, I argue, is ultimately grounded in a rational epistemic agent’s commitment to refining her own representational practices in the light of new and surprising information about her environment. Since anti-individualism is an implicit part of responsible epistemic practices, we cannot abandon it without compromising our own epistemic agency. The story I tell about the regulation of one’s own representational practices yields a new account of the identity conditions for anti-individualistic concepts.