Semantic externalism and the mechanics of thought

Minds and Machines 19 (1):1-24 (2009)
I review a widely accepted argument to the conclusion that the contents of our beliefs, desires and other mental states cannot be causally efficacious in a classical computational model of the mind. I reply that this argument rests essentially on an assumption about the nature of neural structure that we have no good scientific reason to accept. I conclude that computationalism is compatible with wide semantic causal efficacy, and suggest how the computational model might be modified to accommodate this possibility.
Keywords Computationalism   Language of Thought   Mental causation   Mental representation   Semantic externalism   Syntax
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DOI 10.1007/s11023-008-9114-6
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