On the relationship between naturalistic semantics and individuation criteria for terms in a language of thought
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 117 (1):95-131 (1998)
Naturalistically minded philosophers hope to identify a privileged nonsemantic relation that holds between a mental representation m and that which m represents, a relation whose privileged status underwrites the assignment of reference to m. The naturalist can accomplish this task only if she has in hand a nonsemantic criterion for individuating mental representations: it would be question-begging for the naturalist to characterize m, for the purpose of assigning content, as 'the representation with such and such content'. If we individuate mental representations using the tools of dynamical systems theory, we find that a given mental representation, characterized nonsemantically, emerges in the cognitive system as the result of causal interactions between the subject and her environment. At least for the most basic of our mental representations, I argue that the dynamical systems-based approach to individuation increases the plausibility of a theory that assigns reference as a function of the subject's causal history.
|Keywords||Individuation Language Metaphysics Naturalism Semantics Term Thought|
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Robert D. Rupert (2006). Functionalism, Mental Causation, and the Problem of Metaphysically Necessary Effects. Noûs 40 (2):256-83.
Robert D. Rupert (2005). Minding One's Cognitive Systems: When Does a Group of Minds Constitute a Single Cognitive Unit? Episteme 1 (3):177-188.
Robert D. Rupert (2011). Cognitive Systems and the Supersized Mind. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 152 (3):427 - 436.
Cathal O'Madagain (2014). Can Groups Have Concepts? Semantics for Collective Intentions. Philosophical Issues 24 (1):347-363.
Robert D. Rupert (2008). Causal Theories of Mental Content. Philosophy Compass 3 (2):353–380.
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