Computation and intentional psychology

Dialogue 39 (2):365-379 (2000)
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Abstract

The relation between computational and intentional psychology has always been a vexing issue. The worry is that if mental processes are computational, then these processes, which are defined over symbols, are sensitive solely to the non-semantic properties of symbols. If so, perhaps psychology could dispense with adverting in its laws to intentional/semantic properties of symbols. Stich, as is well-known, has made a great deal out of this tension and argued for a purely "syntactic" psychology by driving a wedge between a semantic individuation of symbol tokens and their narrow functional individuation. If the latter can be carried out, he claimed, we do not need semantic typing. I argue that since a narrow functional individuation cannot type-identify symbol tokens across organisms, a semantic account of typing must be the only option given that interpersonal physical individuation of tokens is not to be taken seriously.

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Murat Aydede
University of British Columbia

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