Naturalizing the content of desire

Philosophical Studies 176 (1):161-174 (2019)

Peter Schulte
Bielefeld University
Desires, or directive representations, are central components of human and animal minds. Nevertheless, desires are largely neglected in current debates about the naturalization of representational content. Most naturalists seem to assume that some version of the standard teleological approach, which identifies the content of a desire with a specific kind of effect that the desire has the function of producing, will turn out to be correct. In this paper I argue, first, that this common assumption is unjustified, since the standard approach is in fact deeply problematic. Secondly, I propose an alternative account of the content of desires which, while generating plausible and determinate content ascriptions, avoids the main problem that plagues the standard approach, and is also preferable on other grounds.
Keywords Mental content  Teleosemantics  Success semantics  Naturalizing content
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-1010-6
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References found in this work BETA

Biosemantics.Ruth G. Millikan - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (July):281-97.
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Biosemantics.Ruth Millikan - 1989 - In Brian P. McLaughlin & Ansgar Beckerman (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 281--297.

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