From natural function to indeterminate content

Philosophical Studies 69 (2-3):129-37 (1993)
In his recent book "Explaining Behavior," Fred Dretske has outlined a naturalized theory of intentionality. Several philosophers, including Dretske himself, view his theory as lending credence to the claim that mental state content should be construed widely. In this paper I argue that careful analysis of his theory reveals that this view is mistaken. In Dretske's theory, the notion of the function of a state plays a central role in the determination of content. It will be my contention that this notion of function cannot be used in Dretske's theory to distinguish between the wide construal of the content of an intentional state and the narrow or individualistic construal. This inability of his notion of function to discriminate between wide content and individualistic content undermines any claim that Dretske's theory endorses wide content. Instead, we are lead to the conclusion that Dretske's theory entails pervasive content indeterminacy
Keywords Indeterminacy  Intentionality  Mental States  Science  Dretske, F
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DOI 10.1007/BF00990079
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