Computation and Functionalism: Syntactic Theory of Mind Revisited

In Gurol Irzik & Guven Guzeldere (eds.), Boston Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. Springer (2005)
Abstract
I argue that Stich's Syntactic Theory of Mind (STM) and a naturalistic narrow content functionalism run on a Language of Though story have the same exact structure. I elaborate on the argument that narrow content functionalism is either irremediably holistic in a rather destructive sense, or else doesn't have the resources for individuating contents interpersonally. So I show that, contrary to his own advertisement, Stich's STM has exactly the same problems (like holism, vagueness, observer-relativity, etc.) that he claims plague content-based psychologies. So STM can't be any better than the Representational Theory of Mind (RTM) in its prospects for forming the foundations of a scientifically respectable psychology, whether or not RTM has the problems that Stich claims it does
Keywords Syntactic theory of mind  Steve Stich  computation  functionalism  language of thought
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