Misrepresentation and Robustness of Meaning

According to Fodor, robustness of meaning is an essential aspect of intentionality, and his causal theory of content can account for it. Robustness of meaning refers to the fact that tokenings of a symbol are occasionally caused by instantiations of properties which are not expressed by the symbol. This, according to Fodor, is the source of the phenomenon of misrepresentation. We claim that Fodor’s treatment of content and misrepresentation is infected with a couple of flaws. After criticizing Fodor’s theory of content, we propose a new theory of content which explains how misrepresentation is possible as a result of meaning-forming causation, and extend it to account for the property of robustness of meaning
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