Searle on externalism

Can you say a few words on where we are, today, in the externalism-internalism debate?

I have never been able to see any merit in the arguments for externalism. The most famous account is probably Putnam’s Twin Earth argument. I think he did succeed in showing that the checklist conception of the definition of general terms is inadequate. So it will not do to try to define water as a “clear, colorless, tasteless liquid, etc”. I think there may be a causal and indexical component in the definition. So, for example, water is identical with any substance that bears the relation “same liquid” to whatever is causing this visual experience. In other words water is defined in terms of an indexical definition. But the falsity of the checklist conception does not show the truth of externalism. Internalism is the view that the resources of the mind are sufficient to fix the conditions of satisfaction of intentional states in general and the meanings of words in particular. I have never seen any effective argument against this, and I think most of the arguments really reveal a failure to understand the nature of indexicality.