Still Unsuccessful: The Unsolved Problems of Success Semantics


Abstract
Success semantics is a theory of content that characterizes the truth-conditions of mental representations in terms of the success-conditions of the actions derived from them. Nanay : 151-165, 2013) and Dokic and Engel have revised this theory in order to defend it from the objections that assailed its previous incarnations. I argue that both proposals have seemingly decisive flaws. More specifically, these revised versions of the theory fail to deal adequately with the open-ended possibility of unforeseen obstacles for the success of our actions. I suggest that the problem of ignored obstacles undermines success semantics quite generally, including alternative formulations such as Blackburn’s.
Keywords success semantics   naturalistic theories of content   mental representation   Frank Ramsey   teleosemantics
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DOI 10.1387/theoria.17736
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