Folk psychological realism without representational commitments - the measurement- theoretic account revisited
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Standardly, mental properties like beliefs, desires, fears, etc. are analysed as relations between the agent, to whom the predicate is ascribed, and a proposition, which is the intentional content of this property. According to this relational analysis, having a thought implies having its content present to the mind. This has wide-ranging philosophical implications, e.g. for the possibility of children and animals having intentional mental properties, or for the problem of knowing one’s own thoughts. Further, according to the relational analysis, the causal efficacy of mental properties must be in virtue of their content. This implies that folk-psychological explanations acquire a special status, for they employ mental properties as the explanans of behaviour. Mental properties can be conceived of as causally efficacious, and hence like standard scientific explanans, only if a satisfactory account is provided how they are causally efficacious in virtue of their semantic content. A successful account of this sort, I submit, does not exist as of yet; hence it seems, on the relational account, that folk psychological explanations are non-scientific, if they are explanations at all
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