Being Clear on Content - Commentary on Hutto and Satne

Philosophia 43 (3):687-699 (2015)

Dimitri Coelho Mollo
Humboldt-University, Berlin
In the target article Hutto and Satne propose a new approach to studying mental content. Although I believe there is much to commend in their proposal, I argue that it makes no space for a kind of content that is of central importance to cognitive science, and which need not be involved in beliefs and desires: I will use the expression ‘representational content’ to refer to it. Neglecting representational content leads to an undue limitation of the contribution that the neo-Cartesian approach can offer to the naturalising content project. I claim that neo-Cartesians can, on the one hand, help account for the nature of representational content and clarify what makes representational states contentful. On the other, besides explaining the natural origins of Ur-intentionality, neo-Cartesians should also take the role of accounting for the natural origins of contentful states that fall short of beliefs and desires. Finally, I argue that the only alternative for the authors is to embrace some form of non-representationalism, as Hutto elsewhere does. The success of the proposal thereby turns on the fate of the radical non-representationalist position that it accompanies
Keywords Mental representation  Mental content  Naturalising intentionality  Origins of content  Enactivism
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-015-9622-6
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Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
The Origin of Concepts.Susan Carey - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.

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