David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Barry M. Loewer & Georges Rey (eds.), Meaning in Mind: Fodor and His Critics. Blackwell (1991)
The Representational Theory of the Mind (RTM) has been forcefully and subtly developed by Jerry A. Fodor. According to the RTM, psychological states that explain behavior involve tokenings of mental representations. Since the RTM is distinguished from other approaches by its appeal to the meaning or "content" of mental representations, a question immediately arises: by virtue of what does a mental representation express or represent an environmental property like coto or shoe? This question asks for a general account of the semantics of mental representation. Fodor places two conditions on the requisite theory: it must be physi calistic (that is, it must be couched in nonsemantic and nonintentional terms, free of expressions like "refers to" or "denotes" or "means that"), and it must be atomistic (that is, it must allow that the thinker can have a single intentional state without having any others). What is wanted, then, is a reductive theory that "naturalizes" content by specifying sufficient conditions, in physicalistic and atomistic terms, for a mental symbol to represent or express a certain property
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