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A Theory of Content and Other Essays

MIT Press (1990)

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  1. SINBaD Neurosemantics: A Theory of Mental Representation.Dan Ryder - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (2):211-240.
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  • Three Conceptions of Explaining How Possibly—and One Reductive Account.Johannes Persson - 2009 - In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. pp. 275--286.
    Philosophers of science have often favoured reductive approaches to how-possibly explanation. This article identifies three alternative conceptions making how-possibly explanation an interesting phenomenon in its own right. The first variety approaches “how possibly X?” by showing that X is not epistemically impossible. This can sometimes be achieved by removing misunderstandings concerning the implications of one’s current belief system but involves characteristically a modification of this belief system so that acceptance of X does not result in contradiction. The second variety offers (...)
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  • Biological Teleology, Reductionism, and Verbal Disputes.Sandy C. Boucher - 2021 - Foundations of Science 26 (4):859-880.
    The extensive philosophical discussions and analyses in recent decades of function-talk in biology have done much to clarify what biologists mean when they ascribe functions to traits, but the basic metaphysical question—is there genuine teleology and design in the natural world, or only the appearance of this?—has persisted, as recent work both defending, and attacking, teleology from a Darwinian perspective, attest. I argue that in the context of standard contemporary evolutionary theory, this is for the most part a verbal, rather (...)
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  • A Continuum of Intentionality: Linking the Biogenic and Anthropogenic Approaches to Cognition.Matthew Sims - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-31.
    Biogenic approaches investigate cognition from the standpoint of evolutionary function, asking what cognition does for a living system and then looking for common principles and exhibitions of cognitive strategies in a vast array of living systems—non-neural to neural. One worry which arises for the biogenic approach is that it is overly permissive in terms of what it construes as cognition. In this paper I critically engage with a recent instance of this way of criticising biogenic approaches in order to clarify (...)
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  • The Phenomenal Intentionality Research Program.Uriah Kriegel - 2013 - In U. Kriegel (ed.), Phenomenal Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
    We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
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  • Review of P.O. Haikonen's The Cognitive Approach to Conscious Machines[REVIEW]Mitch Parsell - 2005 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 11.
    Haikonen (2003) is an attempt to explicate a platform for modelling consciousness. The book sets out the foundational concepts behind Haikonen’s work in the area and proposes a particular modelling environment. This is developed in three parts: part 1 offers a brief analysis of the state of play in cognitive modelling; part 2 an extended treatment of the phenomena to be explained; part 3 promises a synthesis of the two preceding discussions to provide the necessary background and detail for the (...)
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  • Animal Cognition and Animal Minds.Colin Allen - 1997 - In Martin Carrier & Peter K. Machamer (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press.
    Psychology, according to a standard dictionary definition, is the science of mind and behavior. For a major part of the twentieth century, (nonhuman) animal psychology was on a behavioristic track that explicitly denied the possibility of a science of animal mind. While many comparative psychologists remain wedded to behavioristic methods, they have more recently adopted a cognitive, information-processing approach that does not adhere to the strictures of stimulus-response explanations of animal behavior. Cognitive ethologists are typically willing to go much further (...)
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  • Misrepresentation and Robustness of Meaning.Tevfik Aytekin–Erdinç Sayan - 2010 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 17 (1):21-38.
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  • Does Informational Semantics Commit Euthyphro's Fallacy?Jason Bridges - 2006 - Noûs 40 (3):522-547.
    In this paper, I argue that informational semantics, the most well-known and worked-out naturalistic account of intentional content, conflicts with a fundamental psychological principle about the conditions of belief-formation. Since this principle is an important premise in the argument for informational semantics, the upshot is that the view is self-contradictory??indeed, it turns out to be guilty of a sophisticated version of the fallacy famously committed by Euthyphro in the eponymous Platonic dialogue. Criticisms of naturalistic accounts of content typically proceed piecemeal (...)
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  • A Dilemma for Asymmetric Dependence.Joseph Mendola - 2003 - Noûs 37 (2):232-257.
    Accounts of mental content rooted in asymmetric dependence hold, crudely speaking, that the content of a mental representation is the cause of that representation on which all its other causes depend.1 To speak somewhat less crudely, such accounts, hereafter.
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  • Sensory Awareness is Not a Wide Physical Relation: An Empirical Argument Against Externalist Intentionalism.Adam Pautz - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):205-240.
    Phenomenal intentionality is a singular form of intentionality. Science shows it is internally-determined. So standard externalist models for reducing intentionality don't apply to it.
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  • Do ‘Objectivist’ Features of Moral Discourse and Thinking Support Moral Objectivism?Gunnar Björnsson - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):367-393.
    Many philosophers think that moral objectivism is supported by stable features of moral discourse and thinking. When engaged in moral reasoning and discourse, people behave ‘as if’ objectivism were correct, and the seemingly most straightforward way of making sense of this is to assume that objectivism is correct; this is how we think that such behavior is explained in paradigmatically objectivist domains. By comparison, relativist, error-theoretic or non-cognitivist accounts of this behavior seem contrived and ad hoc. After explaining why this (...)
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  • The Normativity of Meaning: Guidance and Justification.Matthew Jones - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):425-443.
    The thesis that meaning is normative has come under much scrutiny of late. However, there are aspects of the view that have received comparatively little critical attention which centre on meaning’s capacity to guide and justify linguistic action. Call such a view ‘justification normativity’. I outline Zalabardo’s account of JN and his corresponding argument against reductive-naturalistic meaning-factualism and argue that the argument presents a genuine challenge to account for the guiding role of meaning in linguistic action. I then present a (...)
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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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  • Book Symposium: Truth as One and Many : Truth as One and Very Many.Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (1):105-114.
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Volume 20, Issue 1, Page 105-114, February 2012.
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  • Real Acquaintance and Physicalism.Philip Goff - 2015 - In Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.), Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception and Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
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  • Conditionals, Meaning, and Mood.William Starr - 2010 - Dissertation, Rutgers University
    This work explores the hypothesis that natural language is a tool for changing a language user's state of mind and, more specifically, the hypothesis that a sentence's meaning is constituted by its characteristic role in fulfilling this purpose. This view contrasts with the dominant approach to semantics due to Frege, Tarski and others' work on artificial languages: language is first and foremost a tool for representing the world. Adapted to natural language by Davidson, Lewis, Montague, et. al. this dominant approach (...)
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  • The Fallacy of the Homuncular Fallacy.Carrie Figdor - 2018 - Belgrade Philosophical Annual 31:41-56.
    A leading theoretical framework for naturalistic explanation of mind holds that we explain the mind by positing progressively "stupider" capacities ("homunculi") until the mind is "discharged" by means of capacities that are not intelligent at all. The so-called homuncular fallacy involves violating this procedure by positing the same capacities at subpersonal levels. I argue that the homuncular fallacy is not a fallacy, and that modern-day homunculi are idle posits. I propose an alternative view of what naturalism requires that reflects how (...)
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  • Observational Concepts and Experience.Ivan V. Ivanov - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Warwick
    The thesis is intended to contribute to the growing understanding of the indispensable role played by phenomenal consciousness in human cognition, and specifically in making our concepts of the external world available. The focus falls on so called observational concepts, a type of rudimentary, perceptually-based objective concepts in our repertoire — picking out manifest properties such as colors and shapes. A theory of such concepts gets provided, and, consequently, the exact role that perceptual consciousness plays in making concepts of this (...)
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  • Inverted Qualia.Alex Byrne - 2004 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Qualia inversion thought experiments are ubiquitous in contemporary philosophy of mind. The most popular kind is one or another variant of Locke's hypothetical case of.
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  • The Sellars's Functionalism: A Historical Research.Marcelo Masson Maroldi - 2009
    Philosopher Wilfrid Sellars was one of the contemporary functionalism precursors when he conceived mental states as theoretical entities identified with functional states, conception defended mainly in his most relevant work Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, broadly discussed on the academic context of analytical tradition. On this book, Sellars introduces his explanation of mental, gathering on the same thesis private events, intententionality , a public language and a system based on rules defined intersubjectivity Therefore, this work intends to show how (...)
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  • Fictional Objects Within the Theory of Mental Files: Problems and Prospects.Zoltán Vecsey - 2020 - Espes. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics 9 (2):32-48.
    A recent version of the mental file framework argues that the antirealist theory of fictional objects can be reconciled with the claim that fictional utterances involving character names express propositions that are true in the real world. This hybrid view rests on the following three claims: character names lack referents but express a mode of presentation, fictional utterances introduce oblique contexts where character names refer to their modes of presentation, and modes of presentation are mental files. In this critical paper, (...)
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  • Linguistic Hijacking.Derek Anderson - 2020 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 6 (3).
    This paper introduces the concept of linguistic hijacking, the phenomenon wherein politically significant terminology is co-opted by dominant groups in ways that further their dominance over marginalized groups. Here I focus on hijackings of the words “racist” and “racism.” The model of linguistic hijacking developed here, called the semantic corruption model, is inspired by Burge’s social externalism, in which deference plays a key role in determining the semantic properties of expressions. The model describes networks of deference relations, which support competing (...)
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  • Conscious Experience Versus Conscious Thought.Peter Carruthers - 2005 - In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Consciousness and Self-Reference. MIT Press.
    Are there different constraints on theories of conscious experience as against theories of conscious propositional thought? Is what is problematic or puzzling about each of these phenomena of the same, or of different, types? And to what extent is it plausible to think that either or both conscious experience and conscious thought involve some sort of selfreference? In pursuing these questions I shall also explore the prospects for a defensible form of eliminativism concerning conscious thinking, one that would leave the (...)
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  • Color Relationalism and Color Phenomenology.Jonathan Cohen - 2010 - In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press. pp. 13.
    Color relationalism is the view that colors are constituted in terms of relations between subjects and objects. The most historically important form of color relationalism is the classic dispositionalist view according to which, for example red is the disposition to look red to standard observers in standard conditions (mutatis mutandis for other colors).1 However, it has become increasingly apparent in recent years that a commitment to the relationality of colors bears interest that goes beyond dispositionalism (Cohen, 2004; Matthen, 1999, 2001, (...)
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  • Colors, Functions, Realizers, and Roles.Jonathan Cohen - 2005 - Philosophical Topics 33 (1):117-140.
    You may speak of a chain, or if you please, a net. An analogy is of little aid. Each cause brings about future events. Without each the future would not be the same. Each is proximate in the sense it is essential. But that is not what we mean by the word. Nor on the other hand do we mean sole cause. There is no such thing.
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  • Realization and Causal Powers.Umut Baysan - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    In this thesis, I argue that physicalism should be understood to be the view that mental properties are realized by physical properties. In doing this, I explore what the realization relation might be. Since realization is the relation that should help us formulate physicalism, I suggest that the theoretical role of realization consists in explaining some of the things that physicalists wish to explain. These are: How are mental properties metaphysically necessitated by physical properties? How are mental properties causally efficacious? (...)
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  • Precis Of.D. M. Wegner - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27.
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  • What is the Sceptical Solution?Alexander Miller - 2020 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 8 (2).
    In chapter 3 of Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Kripke’s Wittgenstein offers a “sceptical solution" to the sceptical paradox about meaning developed in chapter 2 (according to which there are no facts in virtue of which ascriptions of meaning such as “Jones means addition by ‘+’” can be true). Although many commentators have taken the sceptical solution to be broadly analogous to non-factualist theories in other domains, such as non-cognitivism or expressivism in metaethics, the nature of the sceptical solution (...)
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  • Coping with Informational Atomism - One of Jerry Fodor’s Legacies.Pierre Jacob - 2020 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 11 (1):19-41.
    : Fodor was passionately unwilling to compromise. Of his several commitments, I focus here on informational atomism. Fodor staunchly rejected semantic holism for two conspiring reasons. He took it to threaten his commitment to the nomic character of psychological explanation. He also took it to pave the way towards relativism, which he found deeply offensive. In this paper, I reconstruct the strands of Fodor’s commitment to the computational version of the representational theory of mind that led him to informational atomism. (...)
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  • Interaction and Self-Correction.Glenda L. Satne - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5.
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  • Indeterminacy and the Mind-Body Problem.Katalin Balog - manuscript
    This paper is an examination of the mind’s relationship to the physical world, in light of the dialectic between anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist responses. Having developed a master argument against the anti-physicalist, I then notice that there is a puzzling symmetry between dualist attacks on physicalism and physicalist replies. Each position can be developed in a way to defend itself from attacks from the other position. My suggestion is that the reason for the seeming unresolvability of the problem is that (...)
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  • Problem Umysł-Ciało-Ciało.Evan Thompson & Robert Hanna - 2012 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 3 (T).
    Robert Hanna and Evan Thompson offer a solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem. The solution, in a nutshell, is that the living and lived body is metaphysically and conceptually basic, in the sense that one’s consciousness, on the one hand, and one’s corporeal being, on the other, are nothing but dual aspects of one’s lived body. One’s living and lived body can be equated with one’s being as an animal; therefore, this solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem amounts to an “animalist” version (...)
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  • In Defence of Narrow Mindedness.Frances Egan - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (2):177-94.
    Externalism about the mind holds that the explanation of our representational capacities requires appeal to mental states that are individuated by reference to features of the environment. Externalists claim that ‘narrow’ taxonomies cannot account for important features of psychological explanation. I argue that this claim is false, and offer a general argument for preferring narrow taxonomies in psychology.
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  • Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):567-591.
    I assume that there exists a general phenomenon, the phenomenon of the explanatory gap, surrounding consciousness, normativity, intentionality, and more. Explanatory gaps are often thought to foreclose reductive possibilities wherever they appear. In response, reductivists who grant the existence of these gaps have offered countless local solutions. But typically such reductivist responses have had a serious shortcoming: because they appeal to essentially domain-specific features, they cannot be fully generalized, and in this sense these responses have been not just local but (...)
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  • Esprit sans frontières.Louis Chartrand - 2014 - Dissertation, Université du Québec À Montréal
    La plupart des auteur-es ayant abordé le problème de l'extension du cognitif, tel qu'il a émergé des débats autour de la thèse de l'esprit étendu, ont supposé que cette extension devait prendre la forme d'un espace régulier, qui peut être ceint par des frontières. Cependant, la littérature en question ne traite pas explicitement de cette supposition, de sorte que, malgré son influence, il n'y a pas d'évaluation de sa véracité ou de sa légitimité. Dans ce mémoire, cette hypothèse est remise (...)
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  • Classical Computational Models.Richard Samuels - 2018 - In Mark Sprevak & Matteo Colombo (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind. Oxford, UK: pp. 103-119.
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  • Deflationism: The Best Thing Since Pizza and Quite Possibly Better.Christopher Hill - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3169-3180.
    I defend the deflationary theory of truth and reference I have proposed from the objections raised in Vann McGee’s “Thought, Thoughts, and Deflationism,” trying where possible to use arguments that other deflationists might find useful.
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  • Scientific Models as Information Carrying Artifacts.Anna-Mari Rusanen & Otto Lappi - unknown
    We present an information theoretic account of models as scientific representations, where scientific models are understood as information carrying artifacts. We propose that the semantics of models should be based on this information coupling of the model to the world. The information theoretic account presents a way of avoiding the need to refer to agents' intentions as constitutive of the semantics of scientific representations, and it provides a naturalistic account of model semantics, which can deal with the problems of asymmetry, (...)
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  • The Cognitive View in Cognitive Science.Wolfram Schmitt - unknown
    I believe that there are only a select few topics, which arouse a similar level of interest and curiosity among academics and laymen alike, as does the study of mind and brain. Although mind and brain have been capturing the attention of philosophers for centuries, it is the "scientific investigation" of age old philosophical queries by socalled cognitive scientists, which is distinctive of the developments of the last few decades and which, in times to come, may well be considered the (...)
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  • Reliable Misrepresentation and Tracking Theories of Mental Representation.Angela Mendelovici - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):421-443.
    It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
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  • Psychological and Computational Models of Language Comprehension: In Defense of the Psychological Reality of Syntax.David Pereplyotchik - 2011 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):31-72.
    In this paper, I argue for a modified version of what Devitt calls the Representational Thesis. According to RT, syntactic rules or principles are psychologically real, in the sense that they are represented in the mind/brain of every linguistically competent speaker/hearer. I present a range of behavioral and neurophysiological evidence for the claim that the human sentence processing mechanism constructs mental representations of the syntactic properties of linguistic stimuli. I then survey a range of psychologically plausible computational models of comprehension (...)
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  • Conscious Thought and the Cognitive Fine-Tuning Problem.Philip Goff - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):98-122.
    Cognitive phenomenalism is the view that occurrent thoughts are identical with, or constituted of, cognitive phenomenology. This paper raises a challenge for this view: the cognitive fine-tuning problem. In broad brushstrokes the difficulty is that, for the cognitive phenomenalist, there is a distinction between three kinds of fact: cognitive phenomenal facts, sensory phenomenal facts, and functional facts. This distinction gives rise to the challenge of explaining why, in actuality, these three phenomena tend to be matched together in ways that respect (...)
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  • Noise and Perceptual Indiscriminability.Benj Hellie - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):481-508.
    Perception represents colours inexactly. This inexactness results from phenomenally manifest noise, and results in apparent violations of the transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability. Whether these violations are genuine depends on what is meant by 'transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability'.
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  • Reductive Explanation and the "Explanatory Gap".Peter Carruthers - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):153-174.
    Can phenomenal consciousness be given a reductive natural explanation? Exponents of an.
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  • A Tale of Two Froggies.Colin Allen - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (Supplement):105-115.
    There once was an ugly duckling. Except he wasn’t a duckling at all, and once he realized his error he lived happily ever after. And there you have an early primer from the animal literature on the issue of misrepresentation -- perhaps one of the few on this topic to have a happy ending. Philosophers interested in misrepresentation have turned their attention to a different fairy tale animal: the frog. No one gets kissed in this story and the controversial issue (...)
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  • Teleosemantics and Indeterminacy.Manolo Martínez - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):427-453.
    In the first part of the paper, I present a framework for the description and evaluation of teleosemantic theories of intentionality, and use it to argue that several different objections to these theories (the various indeterminacy and adequacy problems) are, in a certain precise sense, manifestations of the same underlying issue. I then use the framework to show that Millikan's biosemantics, her own recent declarations to the contrary notwithtanding, presents indeterminacy. In the second part, I develop a novel teleosemantic proposal (...)
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  • The Evolution and Development of Visual Perspective Taking.Ben Phillips - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):183-204.
    I outline three conceptions of seeing that a creature might possess: ‘the headlamp conception,’ which involves an understanding of the causal connections between gazing at an object, certain mental states, and behavior; ‘the stage lights conception,’ which involves an understanding of the selective nature of visual attention; and seeing-as. I argue that infants and various nonhumans possess the headlamp conception. There is also evidence that chimpanzees and 3-year-old children have some grasp of seeing-as. However, due to a dearth of studies, (...)
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  • Is Mental Content Prior to Linguistic Meaning?: Stalnaker on Intentionality.Jeff Speaks - 2006 - Noûs 40 (3):428-467.
    Since the 1960's, work in the analytic tradition on the nature of mental and linguistic content has converged on the views that social facts about public language meaning are derived from facts about the thoughts of individuals, and that these thoughts are constituted by properties of the internal states of agents. I give a two-part argument against this picture of intentionality: first, that if mental content is prior to public language meaning, then a view of mental content much like the (...)
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  • Why the Exclusion Problem Seems Intractable and How, Just Maybe, to Tract It.Karen Bennett - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):471-97.
    The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...)
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