Content is pragmatic: Comments on Nicholas Shea's Representation in cognitive science

Mind and Language 35 (3):368-376 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Nicholas Shea offers Varitel Semantics as a naturalistic account of mental content. I argue that the account secures determinate content only by appeal to pragmatic considerations, and so it fails to respect naturalism. But that is fine, because representational content is not, strictly speaking, necessary for explanation in cognitive science. Even in Shea’s own account, content serves only a variety of heuristic functions.

Similar books and articles

Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Naturalising Representational Content.Nicholas Shea - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):496-509.
Teleosemantics, Infotel-semantics and Circularity.Marc Artiga - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):583-603.
A Deflationary Account of Mental Representation.Frances Egan - 2020 - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), Mental Representations. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
Content and Its vehicles in connectionist systems.Nicholas Shea - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (3):246–269.
Exploitable Isomorphism and Structural Representation.Nicholas Shea - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (2pt2):123-144.
Representation and unexploited content.James Blackmon, David Byrd, Robert C. Cummins, Alexa Lee & Martin Roth - 2006 - In Graham Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics. Oxford University Press.
Computational models: a modest role for content.Frances Egan - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):253-259.


Added to PP

554 (#22,322)

6 months
77 (#21,688)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Frances Egan
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

References found in this work

Knowing One’s Own Mind.Donald Davidson - 1987 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.
How to think about mental content.Frances Egan - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (1):115-135.
Misrepresenting and malfunctioning.Karen Neander - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 79 (2):109-41.

View all 9 references / Add more references