David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In [Book Chapter] (Unpublished) (1997)
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.).
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Citations of this work BETA
Ingo Brigandt (2010). The Epistemic Goal of a Concept: Accounting for the Rationality of Semantic Change and Variation. Synthese 177 (1):19-40.
Ofra Magidor (2009). Category Mistakes Are Meaningful. Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (6):553-581.
Similar books and articles
Gilbert Harman (1982). Conceptual Role Semantics. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 28 (April):242-56.
Mark Perlman (1997). The Trouble with Two-Factor Conceptual Role Theories. Minds and Machines 7 (4):495-513.
Hartry Field (1977). Logic, Meaning, and Conceptual Role. Journal of Philosophy 74 (July):379-409.
Robert C. Cummins (1992). Conceptual Role Semantics and the Explanatory Role of Content. Philosophical Studies 65 (1-2):103-127.
Jaroslav Peregrin (2006). Meaning as an Inferential Role. Erkenntnis 64 (1):1-35.
Gabor Forrai (2008). Conceptual Role Semantics and Naturalizing Meaning. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (24):337-348.
Ned Block (1986). Advertisement for a Semantics for Psychology. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1):615-78.
Ralph Wedgwood (2001). Conceptual Role Semantics for Moral Terms. Philosophical Review 110 (1):1-30.
William J. Rapaport (2002). Holism, Conceptual-Role Semantics, and Syntactic Semantics. Minds and Machines 12 (1):3-59.
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