Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):389-415 (2005)

Georges Rey
University of Maryland, College Park
The present article articulates the strategy of much of my work to date, which has been concerned to understand how we can possibly come to have any objective understanding of the mind. Generally, I align myself with those who think the best prospect of such an understanding lies in a causal/computational/representational theory of thought (CRTT). However, there is a tendency in recent developments of this and related philosophical views to burden the crucial property of intentionality with what I call Strong Externalism, a state’s intentional content being determined by some real external phenomenon to which the state is causally related. I argue against this tendency, drawing attention to the crucial role in cognitive scientific explanations of empty concepts, such as [angel], and the “intentional inexistents” that such concepts “represent.” This obliges me to take a brief excursion into what I hope is a minimal metaphysics, defending a methodology I call the “LEXX” strategy that treats phenomena as real only insofar as they are needed in genuine explanations. After a brief discussion of the need for greater patience generally regarding a theory of intentionality, I deploy this strategy with regard to many phenomena that are the purported objects of mental states, e.g. triangles, cones, words, sentences, colors, mental images and qualia. I argue that these phenomena do not actually exist: they are mere intentional inexistents, unreal projections of the intentional content of various mental states, and not themselves needed in any genuine explanations. In a concluding section, I summarize my suggestions about how a CRTT can explain the various illusions we have in this regard, particularly those concerning consciousness and qualia
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1333-1108
DOI croatjphil2005532
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Computational Models: A Modest Role for Content.Frances Egan - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):253-259.
Computationalism in the Philosophy of Mind.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):515-532.
Phenomenal Experience: A Cartesian Theater Revival.Joseph Levine - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):209-225.
Idiolects.Alex Barber - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Word Meaning.Luca Gasparri & Diego Marconi - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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