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Causal theories of mental content

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010)

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  1. Teleosemantics, Infotel-Semantics and Circularity.Marc Artiga - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):583-603.
    Peter Godfrey-Smith and Nicholas Shea have argued that standard versions of teleosemantics render explanations of successful behavior by appealing to true beliefs circular and, consequently, non-explanatory. As an alternative, Shea has recently suggested an original teleosemantic account (that he calls ?Infotel-semantics?), which is supposed to be immune to the problem of circularity. The paper argues that the standard version of teleosemantics has a satisfactory reply to the circularity objection and that, in any case, Infotel-semantics is not better off than standard (...)
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  • Liberal Representationalism: A Deflationist Defense.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):407-430.
    The idea that only complex brains can possess genuine representations is an important element in mainstream philosophical thinking. An alternative view, which I label ‘liberal representationalism’, holds that we should accept the existence of many more full-blown representations, from activity in retinal ganglion cells to the neural states produced by innate releasing mechanisms in cognitively unsophisticated organisms. A promising way of supporting liberal representationalism is to show it to be a consequence of our best naturalistic theories of representation. However, several (...)
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  • Es Pot Naturalitzar la Intencionalitat?Marc Artiga - 2016 - Quaderns de Filosofia 3 (2).
    Intentionality is a central feature of our understanding of the world. We daily attribute intentional states (like beliefs, desires or perceptual states) to explain the behavior of other agents, and many theories appeal to them to understand more complex notions. Nonetheless, intentional states are puzzling entities. This article explains what intentionality is and why it is so important and problematic at the same time. Secondly, it examines various naturalistic theories, which seek to show that intentionality is compatible with a scientific (...)
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  • How Much of Commonsense and Legal Reasoning is Formalizable? A Review of Conceptual Obstacles.James Franklin - 2012 - Law, Probability and Risk 11:225-245.
    Fifty years of effort in artificial intelligence (AI) and the formalization of legal reasoning have produced both successes and failures. Considerable success in organizing and displaying evidence and its interrelationships has been accompanied by failure to achieve the original ambition of AI as applied to law: fully automated legal decision-making. The obstacles to formalizing legal reasoning have proved to be the same ones that make the formalization of commonsense reasoning so difficult, and are most evident where legal reasoning has to (...)
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  • Placement, Grounding, and Mental Content.Kelly Trogdon - 2015 - In C. Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook on Philosophical Methods. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 481-496.
    Grounding-theoretic reformulation of Fodor's theory of content that addresses recalcitrant Quinean concerns.
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  • A Puzzle About Mental Self-Representation and Causation.Mikkel Gerken - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):890-906.
    The paper articulates a puzzle that consists in the prima facie incompatibility between three widely accepted theses. The first thesis is, roughly, that there are intrinsically selfrepresentational thoughts. The second thesis is, roughly, that there is a particular causal constraint on mental representation. The third thesis is, roughly, that nothing causes itself. In this paper, the theses are articulated in a less rough manner with the occurrence of the puzzle as a result. Finally, a number of solution strategies are considered, (...)
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  • Teleosemantics, Swampman, and Strong Representationalism.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 90 (1):273–288.
    Teleosemantics explains mental representation in terms of biological function and selection history. One of the main objections to the account is the so-called ‘Swampman argument’ (Davidson 1987), which holds that there could be a creature with mental representation even though it lacks a selection history. A number of teleosemanticists reject the argument by emphasising that it depends on assuming a creature that is fi ctitious and hence irrelevant for teleosemantics because the theory is only concerned with representations in real-world organisms (...)
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  • Is Kant's Critique of Metaphysics Obsolete?Nicholas Stang - manuscript
    I raise a problem about the possibility of metaphysics originally raised by Kant: what explains the fact that the terms in our metaphysical theories (e.g. “property”) refer to entities and structures (e.g. properties) in the world? I distinguish a meta-metaphysical view that can easily answer such questions (“deflationism”) from a meta-metaphysical view for which this explanatory task is more difficult (which I call the “substantive” view of metaphysics). I then canvass responses that the substantive metaphysician can give to this Kantian (...)
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  • Davidson’s Answer to Kripke’s Sceptic.Olivia Sultanescu & Claudine Verheggen - 2019 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 7 (2):8-28.
    According to the sceptic Saul Kripke envisages in his celebrated book on Wittgenstein on rules and private language, there are no facts about an individual that determine what she means by any given expression. If there are no such facts, the question then is, what justifies the claim that she does use expressions meaningfully? Kripke’s answer, in a nutshell, is that she by and large uses her expressions in conformity with the linguistic standards of the community she belongs to. While (...)
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  • Solving the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.Matthew Simpson - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):510-531.
    In this paper I discuss the so-called problem of creeping minimalism, the problem of distinguishing metaethical expressivism from its rivals once expressivists start accepting minimalist theories about truth, representation, belief, and similar concepts. I argue that Dreier’s ‘explanation’ explanation is almost correct, but by critically examining it we not only get a better solution, but also draw out some interesting results about expressivism and non-representationalist theories of meaning more generally.
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  • Can Tracking Representationalism Make Sense of Synesthesia?Casey Landers - unknown
    Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which a single stimulus typically associated with one sensory modality automatically and involuntarily produces sensations not typically associated with that modality. I argue that synesthesia elucidates how two naturalistic theories of representation and phenomenal experience conflict. Strong representationalism holds that what an experience is like is determined by the experience’s representational content. Informational semantics holds that representational content is determined by causal co-variation between a representation and an external object or property. I argue that (...)
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  • Pluralism and the Absence of Truth.Jeremy Wyatt - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Connecticut
    In this dissertation, I argue that we should be pluralists about truth and in turn, eliminativists about the property Truth. Traditional deflationists were right to suspect that there is no such property as Truth. Yet there is a plurality of pluralities of properties which enjoy defining features that Truth would have, were it to exist. So although, in this sense, truth is plural, Truth is non-existent. The resulting account of truth is indebted to deflationism as the provenance of the suspicion (...)
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  • Propositional Content in Signalling Systems.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):493-512.
    Skyrms, building on the work of Dretske, has recently developed a novel information-theoretic account of propositional content in simple signalling systems. Information-theoretic accounts of content traditionally struggle to accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation, and I show that Skyrms’s account is no exception. I proceed to argue, however, that a modified version of Skyrms’s account can overcome this problem. On my proposed account, the propositional content of a signal is determined not by the information that it actually carries, but by the (...)
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  • Solely Generic Phenomenology.Ned Block - 2015 - Open MIND 2015.
  • Semantic Possibility.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 361-380.
    This paper starts out from the idea that semantics is a “special science” whose aim, like that of chemistry or ecology, is to identify systematic, high-level patterns in a fundamentally physical world. I defend an approach to this task on which sentences are associated with with sets of possible worlds (of some kind). These sets of worlds, however, are not postulated for the compositional treatment of intensional contexts; they are not meant to capture what is intuitively asserted or communicated by (...)
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  • Uma teoría causal para Los casos Frege.Abel Wajnerman Paz - 2015 - Manuscrito 38 (1):95-128.
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  • Descartes Among the Robots.Graham White - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (2):179-202.
    We consider the symbol grounding problem, and apply to it philosophical arguments against Cartesianism developed by Sellars and McDowell: the problematic issue is the dichotomy between inside and outside which the definition of a physical symbol system presupposes. Surprisingly, one can question this dichotomy and still do symbolic computation: a detailed examination of the hardware and software of serial ports shows this.
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  • Do Emotions Represent Values?Laura Schroeter, François Schroeter & Karen Jones - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (3):357-380.
    This paper articulates what it would take to defend representationalism in the case of emotions – i.e. the claim that emotions attribute evaluative properties to target objects or events. We argue that representationalism faces a significant explanatory challenge that has not yet been adequately recognized. Proponents must establish that a representation relation linking emotions and value is explanatorily necessary. We use the case of perception to bring out the difficulties in meeting this explanatory challenge.
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  • Putting Unicepts to Work: A Teleosemantic Perspective on the Infant Mindreading Puzzle.John Michael - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4365-4388.
    In this paper, I show how theoretical discussion of recent research on the abilities of infants and young children to represent other agents’ beliefs has been shaped by a descriptivist conception of mental content, i.e., to the notion that the distal content of a mental representation is fixed by the core body of knowledge that is associated with that mental representation. I also show how alternative conceptions of mental content—and in particular Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic approach—make it possible to endorse the (...)
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  • The Value of Cognitivism in Thinking About Extended Cognition.Kenneth Aizawa - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):579-603.
    This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extended cognition.
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