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information, he writes it down. When he needs some old information, he looks it up.
For Otto, his notebook plays the role usually played by a biological memory. Today,
Otto hears about the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and decides to go see it.
He consults the notebook, which says that the museum is on 53rd Street, so he walks
to 53rd Street and goes into the museum.
Clearly, Otto walked to 53rd Street because he wanted to go to the museum and he
believed the museum was on 53rd Street. And just as Inga had her belief even before she
consulted her memory, it seems reasonable to say that Otto believed the museum was
on 53rd Street even before consulting his notebook. For in relevant respects the cases
are entirely analogous: the notebook plays for Otto the same role that memory plays for
Inga. The information in the notebook functions just like the information constituting
an ordinary non-occurrent belief; it just happens that this information lies beyond the
Clark and Chalmers claim that the annotations in the notebook can play the same functional role as the contents
of one’s memory, and so, that if the contents of one’s memory serve as grounds for the attribution of beliefs,
so should the contents of the notebook.
- Can the annotations of the notebook really play the same causal roles as the processes
producing memories inside our brain?
- How should we understand the claim that beliefs can be external to us? Clark and Chalmers
seem to suggest that Otto’s beliefs are somehow located out of Otto’s brain, but what does
this mean? Are they located in the notebook? What if Otto entertains the claims he previously
annotated, where is the belief now? Is it inside his head or in the notebook, or in both places
at the same time? Does it make sense to talk about the spatial location of a belief?