Indicator semantics and Dretske's function

Philosophical Psychology 7 (3):367-82 (1994)
Valerie G. Hardcastle
University of Cincinnati
In his Explaining Behavior, Fred Dretske uses a reliabilist theory of representation to try to vindicate the use of intentional explanation for behaviour against latter-day elitninativism. Although Dretske's indicator semantics turns on the notion of function, he himself never explicitly defines what function means. Dretske's reticence in discussing function may ultimately be an error, for, as I argue, his implicit understanding of what a function amounts to does not fit with data from op rant conditioning. Still, this need not be a deep flaw in Dretske and I offer one way in which we may patch up the notion of function via the changes known to occur with learning in the brain. Ultimately, I conclude that the only facts needed to explain behaviour are (1) the conditions in the world that are paired with neuronal circuit activation (as picked out by goals in some circumstances); and (2) what motor output that condition triggers
Keywords Behavior  Language  Psychology  Science  Semantics  Dretske, F
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089408573130
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,097
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #307,246 of 2,313,457 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #549,066 of 2,313,457 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature