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  1. Neural Representations Observed.Eric Thomson & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):191-235.
    The historical debate on representation in cognitive science and neuroscience construes representations as theoretical posits and discusses the degree to which we have reason to posit them. We reject the premise of that debate. We argue that experimental neuroscientists routinely observe and manipulate neural representations in their laboratory. Therefore, neural representations are as real as neurons, action potentials, or any other well-established entities in our ontology.
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  • Niche Construction and Teleology: Organisms as Agents and Contributors in Ecology, Development, and Evolution.Bendik Hellem Aaby & Hugh Desmond - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-20.
    Niche construction is a concept that captures a wide array of biological phenomena, from the environmental effects of metabolism to the creation of complex structures such as termite mounds and beaver dams. A central point in niche construction theory is that organisms do not just passively undergo developmental, ecological, or evolutionary processes, but are also active participants in them Evolution: From molecules to men, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983; Laland KN, Odling-Smee J, Feldman MW, In: KN Laland and T Uller (...)
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  • Retiring the “Cinderella View”: The Spinal Cord as an Intrabodily Cognitive Extension.Marco Facchin, Marco Viola & Elia Zanin - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-25.
    Within the field of neuroscience, it is assumed that the central nervous system is divided into two functionally distinct components: the brain, which does the cognizing, and the spinal cord, which is a conduit of information enabling the brain to do its job. We dub this the “Cinderella view” of the spinal cord. Here, we suggest it should be abandoned. Marshalling recent empirical findings, we claim that the spinal cord is best conceived as an intrabodily cognitive extension: a piece of (...)
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  • Causes with Material Continuity.Lauren N. Ross - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-17.
    Recent philosophical work on causation has focused on distinctions across types of causal relationships. This paper argues for another distinction that has yet to receive attention in this work. This distinction has to do with whether causal relationships have “material continuity,” which refers to the reliable movement of material from cause to effect. This paper provides an analysis of material continuity and argues that causal relationships with this feature are associated with a unique explanatory perspective, are studied with distinct causal (...)
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  • Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Intentionality.Alex Morgan & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):119-139.
    We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitive neuroscience and argue that cognitive neuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of information and biological function. (...)
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  • Sensory Malfunctions, Limitations, and Trade-Offs.Todd Ganson - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1705-1713.
    Teleological accounts of sensory normativity treat normal functioning for a species as a standard: sensory error involves departure from normal functioning for the species, i.e. sensory malfunction. Straightforward reflection on sensory trade-offs reveals that normal functioning for a species can exhibit failures of accuracy. Acknowledging these failures of accuracy is central to understanding the adaptations of a species. To make room for these errors we have to go beyond the teleological framework and invoke the notion of an ideal observer from (...)
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  • Experience and Justification: Revisiting McDowell’s Empiricism.Daniel Kalpokas - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):715-738.
    In this paper I try to defend McDowell’s empiricism from a certain objection made by Davidson, Stroud and Glüer. The objection states that experiences cannot be reasons because they are—as McDowell conceives them—inert. I argue that, even though there is something correct in the objection, that is not sufficient for rejecting the epistemological character that McDowell attributes to experiences. My strategy consists basically in showing that experiences involve a constitutive attitude of acceptance of their contents.
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  • Some Prerequisites for a Study of the Evolution of Cognition in the Animal Kingdom.Jacques Gervet, Alain Gallo, Raphael Chalmeau & Muriel Soleilhavoup - 1996 - Acta Biotheoretica 44 (1):37-57.
    A distinction is made between two definitions of animal cognition: the one most frequently employed in cognitive sciences considers cognition as extracting and processing information; a more phenomenologically inspired model considers it as attributing to a form of the outside world a significance, linked to the state of the animal. The respective fields of validity of these two models are discussed along with the limitations they entail, and the questions they pose to evolutionary biologists are emphasized. This is followed by (...)
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  • Two Improvements to the Intentional Stance Theory: Hutto and Satne on Naturalizing Content.Marc Slors - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):579-591.
    In this paper I assess the extent to which Daniel Dennett’s Intentional Stance Theory fits into the overall proposal for a programme on naturalizing mental content outlined by Daniel Hutto and Glenda Satne in this issue. I argue that in order to fit the proposal, two changes need to be made: the reality of intentional states should not be grounded in the reality of behavioral patterns but in the ascription-independent status of Ur-intentionality that is the at the root of all (...)
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  • Semantic Information and the Correctness Theory of Truth.Luciano Floridi - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (2):147–175.
    Semantic information is usually supposed to satisfy the veridicality thesis: p qualifies as semantic information only if p is true. However, what it means for semantic information to be true is often left implicit, with correspondentist interpretations representing the most popular, default option. The article develops an alternative approach, namely a correctness theory of truth (CTT) for semantic information. This is meant as a contribution not only to the philosophy of information but also to the philosophical debate on the nature (...)
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  • Explaining Computation Without Semantics: Keeping It Simple.Nir Fresco - 2010 - Minds and Machines 20 (2):165-181.
    This paper deals with the question: how is computation best individuated? -/- 1. The semantic view of computation: computation is best individuated by its semantic properties. 2. The causal view of computation: computation is best individuated by its causal properties. 3. The functional view of computation: computation is best individuated by its functional properties. -/- Some scientific theories explain the capacities of brains by appealing to computations that they supposedly perform. The reason for that is usually that computation is individuated (...)
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  • Rationality, Biology and Optimality.Carolyn Price - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):613-634.
    A historical theory of rational norms claims that, if we are supposed to think rationally, this is because it is biologically normal for us to do so. The historical theorist is committed to the view that we are supposed to think rationally only if, in the past, adult humans sometimes thought rationally. I consider whether there is any plausible model of rational norms that can be adopted by the historical theorist that is compatible with the claim that adult human beings (...)
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  • Intentionality, Mind and Folk Psychology.Winand H. Dittrich & Stephen E. G. Lea - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1):39-41.
    The comment addresses central issues of a "theory theory" approach as exemplified in Gopnik' and Goldman's BBS-articles. Gopnik, on the one hand, tries to demonstrate that empirical evidence from developmental psychology supports the view of a "theory theory" in which common sense beliefs are constructed to explain ourselves and others. Focusing the informational processing routes possibly involved we would like to argue that his main thesis (e.g. idea of intentionality as a cognitive construct) lacks support at least for two reasons: (...)
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  • Mind-Wandering and the Field of Consciousness.Peter Crout - 2020 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 27 (1-2):7-33.
    In this article I develop a phenomenological model of the dynamics of mind-wandering based on Aron Gurwitsch's (1964) field theory of consciousness. Specifically, I articulate these dynamics in terms of conscious field transformations resulting from particular interactions between the attentional focus, contextual background, and non-contextual background -- structures that Gurwitsch understood as invariantly present. According to the model, during guided thought the conscious context that escorts the focus of attention behaves like an autonomous self-defining system, as the primary determinant of (...)
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  • Why Jonas Olson Cannot Believe the Error Theory Either.Bart Streumer - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (4):419-436.
    Jonas Olson writes that "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson should say that reasons for belief are irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then explain why I think Olson's objections to this argument fail. I end by (...)
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  • Explaining Ideology: Mechanisms and Metaphysics.Matteo Bianchin - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):313-337.
    Ideology is commonly defined along functional, epistemic, and genetic dimensions. This article advances a reasonably unified account that specifies how they connect and locates the mechanisms at work. I frame the account along a recent distinction between anchoring and grounding, endorse an etiological reading of functional explanations, and draw on current work about the epistemology of delusion, looping effects, and structuring causes to explain how ideologies originate, reproduce, and possibly collapse. This eventually allows articulating how the legitimating function of ideologies (...)
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  • Causation, Action, and Free Will.Alfred Mele - 2009 - In H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock & P. Menzies (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
    Many issues at the heart of the philosophy of action and of philosophical work on free will are framed partly in terms of causation. The leading approach to understanding both the nature of action and the explanation or production of actions emphasizes causation. What may be termed standardcausalism is the conjunction of the following two theses: firstly, an event's being an action depends on how it was caused; and secondly, proper explanations of actions are causal explanations. Important questions debated in (...)
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  • Consequentialism or Deontology?Georg Spielthenner - 2005 - Philosophia 33 (1-4):217-235.
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  • Dennett’s Overlooked Originality.David Beisecker - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (1):43-55.
    No philosopher has worked harder than Dan Dennett to set the possibility of machine mentality on firm philosophical footing. Dennett’s defense of this possibility has both a positive and a negative thrust. On the positive side, he has developed an account of mental activity that is tailor-made for the attribution of intentional states to purely mechanical contrivances, while on the negative side, he pillories as mystery mongering and skyhook grasping any attempts to erect barriers to the conception of machine mentality (...)
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  • Naturalizing Subjective Character.Uriah Kriegel - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):23-57.
    . When I have a conscious experience of the sky, there is a bluish way it is like for me to have that experience. We may distinguish two aspects of this "bluish way it is like for me": the bluish aspect and the for-me aspect. Let us call the bluish aspect of the experience its qualitative character and the for-me aspect its subjective character . What is this elusive for-me-ness, or subjective character , of conscious experience? In this paper, I (...)
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  • Real Narrow Content.Uriah Kriegel - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (3):304–328.
    The purpose of the present paper is to develop and defend an account of narrow content that would neutralize the commonplace charge that narrow content.
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  • Self-Representationalism and the Explanatory Gap.Uriah Kriegel - 2011 - In J. Liu & J. Perry (eds.), Consciousness and the Self: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.
    According to the self-representational theory of consciousness – self- representationalism for short – a mental state is phenomenally conscious when, and only when, it represents itself in the right way. In this paper, I consider how self- representationalism might address the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal consciousness and physical properties. I open with a presentation of self- representationalism and the case for it (§1). I then present what I take to be the most promising self-representational approach to the explanatory gap (...)
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  • Phenomenal Intentionality.Uriah Kriegel (ed.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Phenomenal intentionality is supposed to be a kind of directedness of the mind onto the world that is grounded in the conscious feel of mental life. This book of new essays explores a number of issues raised by the notion of phenomenal intentionality.
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  • Piaget Among the Evolutionary Naturalists.Werner Callebaut - 1994 - Philosophica 54.
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  • Enactivism, From a Wittgensteinian Point of View.Daniel D. Hutto - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):281-302.
    Enactivists seek to revolutionize the new sciences of the mind. In doing so, they promote adopting a thoroughly anti-intellectualist starting point, one that sees mentality as rooted in engaged, embodied activity as opposed to detached forms of thought. In advocating the so-called embodied turn, enactivists touch on recurrent themes of central importance in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. More than this, today's enactivists characterize the nature of minds and how they fundamentally relate to the world in ways that not only echo but (...)
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  • Dretske on the Causation of Behavior.Constantine Sandis - 2008 - Behavior and Philosophy 36:71-86.
    In two recent articles and an earlier book Fred Dretske appeals to a distinction between triggering and structuring causes with the aim of establishing that psychological explanations of behavior differ from non-psychological ones. He concludes that intentional human behavior is triggered by electro-chemical events but structured by representational facts. In this paper I argue that while this underrated causalist position is considerably more persuasive than the standard causalist alternative, Dretske’s account fails to provide us with a coherent analysis of intentional (...)
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  • The Informational Turn in Philosophy.Frederick Adams - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (4):471-501.
    This paper traces the application of information theory to philosophical problems of mind and meaning from the earliest days of the creation of the mathematical theory of communication. The use of information theory to understand purposive behavior, learning, pattern recognition, and more marked the beginning of the naturalization of mind and meaning. From the inception of information theory, Wiener, Turing, and others began trying to show how to make a mind from informational and computational materials. Over the last 50 years, (...)
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  • The Brain as a Model-Making Machine.Dan Ryder - manuscript
    In this paper, I will introduce you to a new theory of mental representation, emphasizing two important features. First, the theory coheres very well with folk psychology; better, I believe, than its competitors (e.g. Cummins, 1996; Dretske, 1988; Fodor, 1987 and Millikan, 1989, with which it has the most in common), though I will do little by way of direct comparison in this paper. Second, it receives support from current neuroscience. While other theories may be consistent with current neuroscience, none (...)
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  • Semantic Information and the Network Theory of Account.Luciano Floridi - 2012 - Synthese 184 (3):431-454.
    The article addresses the problem of how semantic information can be upgraded to knowledge. The introductory section explains the technical terminology and the relevant background. Section 2 argues that, for semantic information to be upgraded to knowledge, it is necessary and sufficient to be embedded in a network of questions and answers that correctly accounts for it. Section 3 shows that an information flow network of type A fulfils such a requirement, by warranting that the erotetic deficit, characterising the target (...)
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  • On Thinking of Kinds: A Neuroscientific Perspective.Dan Ryder - 2006 - In Graham Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 115-145.
    Reductive, naturalistic psychosemantic theories do not have a good track record when it comes to accommodating the representation of kinds. In this paper, I will suggest a particular teleosemantic strategy to solve this problem, grounded in the neurocomputational details of the cerebral cortex. It is a strategy with some parallels to one that Ruth Millikan has suggested, but to which insufficient attention has been paid. This lack of attention is perhaps due to a lack of appreciation for the severity of (...)
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  • Is Knowledge a Natural Kind?Tuomas K. Pernu - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):371 - 386.
    The project of treating knowledge as an empirical object of study has gained popularity in recent naturalistic epistemology. It is argued here that the assumption that such an object of study exists is in tension with other central elements of naturalistic philosophy. Two hypotheses are considered. In the first, “knowledge” is hypothesized to refer to mental states causally responsible for the behaviour of cognitive agents. Here, the relational character of truth creates a problem. In the second hypothesis “knowledge” is hypothesized (...)
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  • Phenomenological Naturalism.David Suarez - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):437-453.
    Naturalists seek to ground what exists in a set of fundamental metaphysical principles that they call ‘nature’. But metaphysical principles can’t function as fundamental explanatory grounds, since their ability to explain anything depends on the intelligibility granted by transcendental structures. What makes metaphysical principles intelligible, what unifies them, and allows them to characterize the being of worldly objects are the transcendental structures through which worldly objects are manifest. This means that the search for fundamental explanatory grounds must go deeper than (...)
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  • Teleosemantics, Infotel-Semantics and Circularity.Marc Artiga - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):583-603.
    Peter Godfrey-Smith and Nicholas Shea have argued that standard versions of teleosemantics render explanations of successful behavior by appealing to true beliefs circular and, consequently, non-explanatory. As an alternative, Shea has recently suggested an original teleosemantic account (that he calls ?Infotel-semantics?), which is supposed to be immune to the problem of circularity. The paper argues that the standard version of teleosemantics has a satisfactory reply to the circularity objection and that, in any case, Infotel-semantics is not better off than standard (...)
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  • Too Close for Comfort? Psychosemantics and the Distal.Dan Ryder - unknown
    What makes a mental representation about what it's about? The majority view among naturalists seems to be that representation has something to do with causation, or information, or correlation, or some other related notion. But such "information-based" views (e.g. Fodor, Prinz, Stalnaker, Usher, Mandik, Tye, and lots of other people who gesture towards this kind of theory1) cannot accommodate representation of the distal.
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  • Why We View the Brain as a Computer.Oron Shagrir - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):393-416.
    The view that the brain is a sort of computer has functioned as a theoretical guideline both in cognitive science and, more recently, in neuroscience. But since we can view every physical system as a computer, it has been less than clear what this view amounts to. By considering in some detail a seminal study in computational neuroscience, I first suggest that neuroscientists invoke the computational outlook to explain regularities that are formulated in terms of the information content of electrical (...)
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  • Continuities and Discontinuities Between Humans, Intelligent Machines, and Other Entities.Johnny Hartz Søraker - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (1):31-46.
    When it comes to the question of what kind of moral claim an intelligent or autonomous machine might have, one way to answer this is by way of comparison with humans: Is there a fundamental difference between humans and other entities? If so, on what basis, and what are the implications for science and ethics? This question is inherently imprecise, however, because it presupposes that we can readily determine what it means for two types of entities to be sufficiently different—what (...)
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  • Moore’s Paradox in Belief and Desire.John N. Williams - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (1):1-23.
    Is there a Moore ’s paradox in desire? I give a normative explanation of the epistemic irrationality, and hence absurdity, of Moorean belief that builds on Green and Williams’ normative account of absurdity. This explains why Moorean beliefs are normally irrational and thus absurd, while some Moorean beliefs are absurd without being irrational. Then I defend constructing a Moorean desire as the syntactic counterpart of a Moorean belief and distinguish it from a ‘Frankfurt’ conjunction of desires. Next I discuss putative (...)
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  • Conceivability, Possibility, and the Mind-Body Problem.Katalin Balog - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
    This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called “the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As (...)
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  • Neural Constraints in Cognitive Science.Keith Butler - 1994 - Minds and Machines 4 (2):129-62.
    The paper is an examination of the ways and extent to which neuroscience places constraints on cognitive science. In Part I, I clarify the issue, as well as the notion of levels in cognitive inquiry. I then present and address, in Part II, two arguments designed to show that facts from neuroscience are at a level too low to constrain cognitive theory in any important sense. I argue, to the contrary, that there are several respects in which facts from neurophysiology (...)
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  • Emdedded Systems Vs. Individualism.Michael Losonsky - 1995 - Minds and Machines 5 (3):357-71.
    The dispute between individualism and anti-individualism is about the individuation of psychological states, and individualism, on some accounts, is committed to the claim that psychological subjects together with their environments do not constitute integrated computational systems. Hence on this view the computational states that explain psychological states in computational accounts of mind will not involve the subject''s natural and social environment. Moreover, the explanation of a system''s interaction with the environment is, on this view, not the primary goal of computational (...)
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  • The Nature of Thought.Fred Dretske - 1993 - Philosophical Studies 70 (2):185-99.
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  • Explaining Imagination.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    ​Imagination will remain a mystery—we will not be able to explain imagination—until we can break it into parts we already understand. Explaining Imagination is a guidebook for doing just that, where the parts are other ordinary mental states like beliefs, desires, judgments, and decisions. In different combinations and contexts, these states constitute cases of imagining. This reductive approach to imagination is at direct odds with the current orthodoxy, according to which imagination is a sui generis mental state or process—one with (...)
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  • The Disappearing Agent as an Exclusion Problem.Johannes Himmelreich - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The disappearing agent problem is an argument in the metaphysics of agency. Proponents of the agent-causal approach argue that the rival event-causal approach fails to account for the fact that an agent is active. This paper examines an analogy between this disappearing agent problem and the exclusion problem in the metaphysics of mind. I develop the analogy between these two problems and survey existing solutions. I suggest that some solutions that have received significant attention in response to the exclusion problem (...)
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  • Can Tracking Representationalism Make Sense of Synesthesia?Casey Landers - unknown
    Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which a single stimulus typically associated with one sensory modality automatically and involuntarily produces sensations not typically associated with that modality. I argue that synesthesia elucidates how two naturalistic theories of representation and phenomenal experience conflict. Strong representationalism holds that what an experience is like is determined by the experience’s representational content. Informational semantics holds that representational content is determined by causal co-variation between a representation and an external object or property. I argue that (...)
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  • Um Exame de Objeções a Ryle Sobre o Funcionamento Dos Termos Psicológicos Intencionais.Filipe Lazzeri & Jorge Oliveira-Castro - 2010 - Abstracta 6 (1):42-64.
    This paper briefly presents an account, partially based upon Ryle’s approach, of the functions of intentional psychological terms as they are used in ordinary language. According to this account, intentional psychological terms describe known patterns of behavior that are determined by selective mechanisms of causation. That is, these terms describe relations between certain responses, selected on the basis of the consequences they produce in the environment, and contexts of their occurrence, to which they become associated. Intentional psychological terms do not (...)
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  • Origins of the Qualitative Aspects of Consciousness: Evolutionary Answers to Chalmers' Hard Problem.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2013 - In Liz Swan (ed.), Origins of Mind. Springer. pp. 259--269.
    According to David Chalmers, the hard problem of consciousness consists of explaining how and why qualitative experience arises from physical states. Moreover, Chalmers argues that materialist and reductive explanations of mentality are incapable of addressing the hard problem. In this chapter, I suggest that Chalmers’ hard problem can be usefully distinguished into a ‘how question’ and ‘why question,’ and I argue that evolutionary biology has the resources to address the question of why qualitative experience arises from brain states. From this (...)
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  • Do Actions Occur Inside the Body?Helen Steward - 2000 - Mind and Society 1 (2):107-125.
    The paper offers a critical examination of Jennifer Hornsby's view that actions are internal to the body. It focuses on three of Hornsby's central claims: (P) many actions are bodily movements (in a special sense of the word “movement”) (Q) all actions are tryings; and (R) all actions occur inside the body. It is argued, contra Hornsby, that we may accept (P) and (Q) without accepting also the implausible (R). Two arguments are first offered in favour of the thesis (Contrary-R): (...)
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  • Group Action Without Group Minds.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...)
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  • SINBaD Neurosemantics: A Theory of Mental Representation.Dan Ryder - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (2):211-240.
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  • Radicalizing Numerical Cognition.Karim Zahidi - 2020 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):529-545.
    In recent decades, non-representational approaches to mental phenomena and cognition have been gaining traction in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. In these alternative approach, mental representations either lose their central status or, in its most radical form, are banned completely. While there is growing agreement that non-representational accounts may succeed in explaining some cognitive capacities, there is widespread skepticism about the possibility of giving non-representational accounts of cognitive capacities such as memory, imagination or abstract thought. In this paper, I (...)
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