Conceptual Role Semantics

In Edward Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge 242-256 (1998)
According to Conceptual Role Semantics ("CRS"), the meaning of a representation is the role of that representation in the cognitive life of the agent, e.g. in perception, thought and decision-making. It is an extension of the well known "use" theory of meaning, according to which the meaning of a word is its use in communication and more generally, in social interaction. CRS supplements external use by including the role of a symbol inside a computer or a brain. The uses appealed to are not just actual, but also counterfactual: not only what effects a thought does have, but what effects it would have had if stimuli or other states had differed. The view has arisen separately in philosophy (where it is sometimes called "inferential," or "functional" role semantics) and in cognitive science (where it is sometimes called "procedural semantics"). The source of the view is Wittgenstein (1953) and Sellars, but the source in contemporary philosophy is a series of papers by Harman (see his 1987) and Field (1977). Other proponents in philosophy have included Block, Horwich, Loar, McGinn and Peacocke (1992). In cognitive science, they include Woods (1981) and Miller and Johnson-Laird (1976). (See references in Block, 1987.).
Keywords Logic  Semantics  Putnam, H  Quine
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Kevan Edwards (2009). What Concepts Do. Synthese 170 (2):289 - 310.
Farid Masrour (2011). In Defense of Epistemic Modesty. Philosophical Issues 21 (1):312-331.

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Ned Block (1986). Advertisement for a Semantics for Psychology. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1):615-78.
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Hartry Field (1977). Logic, Meaning, and Conceptual Role. Journal of Philosophy 74 (July):379-409.
Barry M. Loewer (1982). The Role of 'Conceptual Role Semantics'. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 23 (July):305-15.
Brian Loar (1982). Conceptual Role and Truth Conditions. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 23 (July):272-83.

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