David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):404-435 (2007)
The success of a piece of behaviour is often explained by its being caused by a true representation (similarly, failure falsity). In some simple organisms, success is just survival and reproduction. Scientists explain why a piece of behaviour helped the organism to survive and reproduce by adverting to the behaviour’s having been caused by a true representation. That usage should, if possible, be vindicated by an adequate naturalistic theory of content. Teleosemantics cannot do so, when it is applied to simple representing systems (Godfrey-Smith 1996). Here it is argued that the teleosemantic approach to content should therefore be modified, not abandoned, at least for simple representing systems. The new ‘infotel-semantics’ adds an input condition to the output condition offered by teleosemantics, recognising that it is constitutive of content in a simple representing system that the tokening of a representation should correlate probabilistically with the obtaining of its specific evolutionary success condition
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Citations of this work BETA
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Nicholas Shea (2014). Reward Prediction Error Signals Are Meta‐Representational. Noûs 48 (2):314-341.
Nicholas Shea (2011). What's Transmitted? Inherited Information. Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):183-189.
Nicholas Shea (2012). Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties. Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493.
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