Causal Theories of Intentionality

In Hal Pashler (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This entry surveys a range of proposed solutions to the problem of intentionality, that is, the problem of explaining how human thoughts can be about, or be directed toward, objects. The family of solutions described here takes the content of a mental representation—what that concept represents or is about—to be a function of causal relations between mental representations and their typically external objects. This emphasis on causal relations should be understood broadly, however, so as to cover theories couched in terms of law-like natural relations or the law-governed way in which one natural event carries information about another.

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Robert D. Rupert
University of Colorado, Boulder

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