A Theory of Practical Meaning

Philosophical Topics 45 (2):65-96 (2017)
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Abstract

This essay is divided into two parts. In the first part (§2), I introduce the idea of practical meaning by looking at a certain kind of procedural systems — the motor system — that play a central role in computational explanations of motor behavior. I argue that in order to give a satisfactory account of the content of the representations computed by motor systems (motor commands), we need to appeal to a distinctively practical kind of meaning. Defending the explanatory relevance of semantic properties in a computationalist explanation of motor behavior, my argument concludes that practical meanings play a central role in an adequate psychological theory of motor skill. In the second part of this essay (§3), I generalize and clarify the notion of practical meaning, and I defend the intelligibility of practical meanings against an important objection.

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Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University

Citations of this work

Know-How and Gradability.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):345-383.
Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):487-503.
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The Psychological Reality of Practical Representation.Carlotta Pavese - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (5):784-821.

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