Minds: Contents without vehicles

Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):149-181 (2004)
Abstract
This paper explores a new understanding of mind or mental representation by arguing that contents at the personal level are not carried by vehicles. Contentful mental states at the personal level are distinctive by virtue of their vehicle-less nature: the subpersonal physiological or functional states that are associated with and enable personal level contents cannot be understood as their vehicles, neither can the sensations or the sensory conditions associated with perceptual contents. This result is obtained by first extending the interpretationist ideas of Davidson and Dennett to show that subpersonal physiological or functional states cannot be construed as the vehicles of personal level contents. Then the anti-foundationalist arguments of Sellars are extended to show that sensory states cannot stand as vehicles to perceptual contents. The line of argumentation extended from Sellars also provides a critique of the current trend to posit non-conceptual contents
Keywords Foundationalism  Metaphysics  Mind  Physicalism  Vehicle
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