A prospective introduction -- The received view -- Troubles with the received view -- Are propositional attitudes relations? -- Foundations of a measurement-theoretic account of the attitudes -- The basic measurement-theoretic account -- Elaboration and explication of the proposed measurement-theoretic account.
Putnam and Searle famously argue against computational theories of mind on the skeptical ground that there is no fact of the matter as to what mathematical function a physical system is computing: both conclude that virtually any physical object computes every computable function, implements every program or automaton. There has been considerable discussion of Putnam's and Searle's arguments, though as yet there is little consensus as to what, if anything, is wrong with these arguments. In the present paper we show (...) that an analogous line of reasoning can be raised against the numerical measurement of physical magnitudes, and we argue that this result is a reductio ad absurdum of the challenge to computational skepticism. We then use this reductio to get clearer about both what's wrong with Putnam's and Searle's arguments against computationalism, and what can be learned about both computational implementation and numerical measurement from the shortcomings of both sorts of skeptical argument. (shrink)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s a number of philosophers, notably Churchland, Field, Stalnaker, Dennett, and Davidson, began to argue that propositional attitude predicates are a species of measure predicate, analogous in important ways to numerical predicates by which we attribute physical magnitudes. Other philosophers, including myself, have subsequently developed the idea in greater detail. In this paper I sketch the general outlines of measurement‐theoretic accounts of propositional attitudes, explaining in the briefest terms the basic idea of such accounts, (...) why some have thought such accounts plausible, how these accounts might go, what their implications might be both for our conception of propositional attitudes and for their role in cognitive scientific theorizing, and where the potential problems with such accounts might lie. (shrink)
This paper defends the commonsense conception of linguistic competence according to which linguistic competence involves propositional knowledge of language. More specifically, the paper defends three propositions challenged by Devitt in his Ignorance af Language. First, Chomskian linguists were right to embrace this commonsense conception of linguistic cornpetence. Second, the grammars that these linguists propose make a substantive claim about the computational processes that are presumed to constitute a speaker’s linguistic competence. Third, Chomskian linguistics is indeed a subfield of psychology, in (...) the business of characterizing the linguistic competence of speakers. (shrink)
The “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches have been thought to exhaust the possibilities for doing cognitive neuroscience. We argue that neither approach is likely to succeed in providing a theory that enables us to understand how cognition is achieved in biological creatures like ourselves. We consider a promising third way of doing cognitive neuroscience, what might be called the “neural dynamic systems” approach, that construes cognitive neuroscience as an autonomous explanatory endeavor, aiming to characterize in its own terms the states and (...) processes responsible for brain-based cognition. We sketch the basic motivation for the approach, describe a particular version of the approach, so-called ‘Dynamic Causal Modeling’ (DCM), and consider a concrete example of DCM. This third way, we argue, has the potential to avoid the problems that afflict the other two approaches. (shrink)
Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988), Fodor and McLaughlin (1990) and McLaughlin (1993) challenge connectionists to explain systematicity without simply implementing a classical architecture. In this paper I argue that what makes the challenge difficult for connectionists to meet has less to do with what is to be explained than with what is to count as an explanation. Fodor et al. are prepared to admit as explanatory, accounts of a sort that only classical models can provide. If connectionists are to meet the (...) challenge, they are going to have to insist on the propriety of changing what counts as an explanation of systematicity. Once that is done, there would seem to be as yet no reason to suppose that connectionists are unable to explain systematicity. (shrink)
Many believe that the grammatical sentences of a natural language are a recursive set. In this paper I argue that the commonly adduced grounds for this belief are inconclusive, if not simply unsound. Neither the native speaker's ability to classify sentences nor his ability to comprehend them requires it. Nor is there at present any reason to think that decidability has any bearing on first-language acquisition. I conclude that there are at present no compelling theoretical grounds for requiring that transformational (...) grammars enumerate only recursive sets. Hence, the fact that proposed transformational grammars do not satisfy this requirement does not, as some have claimed, represent a shortcoming in current theory. (shrink)
The question I address here is whether there is anything about what Rattan describes as the normative and perspectival aspects of propositional attitudes that demands a relational account of the attitudes, specifically anything that cannot equally well be explained on measurement-theoretic accounts of the sort that I (and others) have defended which do not incorporate or presume a cognitive relation to a proposition. I argue that there is not.
Elaborating on views I have expressed elsewhere, I argue that the common-sense notion of linguistic competence as a kind of knowledge is both required by common-sense explanatory and justificatory practice and furthermore fully compatible with the non-intentional characterization of linguistic competence provided by current linguistic theory, which is itself non-intentional.