Causal theories of mental content

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010)
Abstract
Causal theories of mental content attempt to explain how thoughts can be about things. They attempt to explain how one can think about, for example, dogs. These theories begin with the idea that there are mental representations and that thoughts are meaningful in virtue of a causal connection between a mental representation and some part of the world that is represented. In other words, the point of departure for these theories is that thoughts of dogs are about dogs because dogs cause the mental representations of dogs.
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Graham White (2011). Descartes Among the Robots. Minds and Machines 21 (2):179-202.
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