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Teleological semantics

Mind 106 (422):279-304 (1997)

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  1. Beyond Black Dots and Nutritious Things: A Solution to the Indeterminacy Problem.Marc Artiga - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    The indeterminacy problem is one of the most prominent objections against naturalistic theories of content. In this essay I present this difficulty and argue that extant accounts are unable to solve it. Then, I develop a particular version of teleosemantics, which I call ’explanation-based teleosemantics’, and show how this outstanding problem can be addressed within the framework of a powerful naturalistic theory.
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  • Representing as Adapting.Benjamin Jarvis - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (1):17-39.
    In this paper, I recommend a creature-level theory of representing. On this theory, a creature represents some entity just in case the creature adapts its behavior to that entity. Adapting is analyzed in terms of establishing new patterns of behavior. The theory of representing as adapting is contrasted with traditional causal and informational theories of mental representation. Moreover, I examine the theory in light of Putnam-Burge style externalism; I show that Putnam-Burge style externalism follows from and is explained by it. (...)
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  • Teleología y semántica del contenido mental, una investigación sobre los problemas de la fijación del contenido desde presupuestos naturalistas.Andrés L. Jaume Rodríguez - 2011 - Cuadernos Salmantinos de Filosofía 38:303-328.
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  • Evolved Cognitive Biases and the Epistemic Status of Scientific Beliefs.Helen3 De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):411 - 429.
    Our ability for scientific reasoning is a byproduct of cognitive faculties that evolved in response to problems related to survival and reproduction. Does this observation increase the epistemic standing of science, or should we treat scientific knowledge with suspicion? The conclusions one draws from applying evolutionary theory to scientific beliefs depend to an important extent on the validity of evolutionary arguments (EAs) or evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs). In this paper we show through an analytical model that cultural transmission of scientific (...)
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  • Evolved Cognitive Biases and the Epistemic Status of Scientific Beliefs.Helen3 De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):411-429.
    Our ability for scientific reasoning is a byproduct of cognitive faculties that evolved in response to problems related to survival and reproduction. Does this observation increase the epistemic standing of science, or should we treat scientific knowledge with suspicion? The conclusions one draws from applying evolutionary theory to scientific beliefs depend to an important extent on the validity of evolutionary arguments (EAs) or evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs). In this paper we show through an analytical model that cultural transmission of scientific (...)
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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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  • Reformed and Evolutionary Epistemology and the Noetic Effects of Sin.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (1):49-66.
    Despite their divergent metaphysical assumptions, Reformed and evolutionary epistemologists have converged on the notion of proper basicality. Where Reformed epistemologists appeal to God, who has designed the mind in such a way that it successfully aims at the truth, evolutionary epistemologists appeal to natural selection as a mechanism that favors truth-preserving cognitive capacities. This paper investigates whether Reformed and evolutionary epistemological accounts of theistic belief are compatible. We will argue that their chief incompatibility lies in the noetic effects of sin (...)
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  • Teleosemantics and Productivity.Manolo Martinez - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (1):47-68.
    There has been much discussion of so-called teleosemantic approaches to the naturalization of content. Such discussion, though, has been largely confined to simple, innate mental states with contents such as ?There is a fly here.? Even assuming we can solve the issues that crop up at this stage, an account of the content of human mental states will not get too far without an account of productivity: the ability to entertain indefinitely many thoughts. The best-known teleosemantic theory, Millikan's biosemantics, offers (...)
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  • Common Minds, Uncommon Thoughts: A Philosophical Anthropological Investigation of Uniquely Human Creative Behavior, with an Emphasis on Artistic Ability, Religious Reflection, and Scientific Study.Johan De Smedt - unknown
    The aim of this dissertation is to create a naturalistic philosophical picture of creative capacities that are specific to our species, focusing on artistic ability, religious reflection, and scientific study. By integrating data from diverse domains within a philosophical anthropological framework, I have presented a cognitive and evolutionary approach to the question of why humans, but not other animals engage in such activities. Through an application of cognitive and evolutionary perspectives to the study of these behaviors, I have sought to (...)
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  • Semanticity: Which Way to Turn?Andrew Sneddon - 2002 - Philosophia 29 (1-4):211-239.
    In "What Minds Can Do" (1997), Pierre Jacob argues for the cognitive turn in the philosophy of mind. He formulates this in contrast with the linguistic turn, which privileges linguistic semanticity over mental semanticity. Jacob argues that the order of privilege should be the other way around. I argue for a third option, which I call the ecological turn, which dissolves the bifurcation explored by Jacob.
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  • Normativity Without Artifice.Mark Bauer - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (2):239-259.
    To ascribe a telos is to ascribe a norm or standard of performance. That fact underwrites the plausibility of, say, teleological theories of mind. Teleosemantics, for example, relies on the normative character of teleology to solve the problem of “intentional inexistence”: a misrepresentation is just a malfunction. If the teleological ascriptions of such theories to natural systems, e.g., the neurological structures of the brain, are to be literally true, then it must be literally true that norms can exist independent of (...)
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  • Ahistorical Teleosemantics: An Alternative to Nanay.Mark Bauer - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (2):158-176.
    The dominant view in teleosemantics is that semantic functions are historically determined. That reliance on history has been subject to repeated criticism. To sidestep such criticisms, Nanay has recently offered an ahistorical alternative that swaps out historical properties for modal properties. Nanay's ahistorical modal alternative suffers, I think, serious problems of its own. I suggest here another ahistorical alternative for teleosemantics. The motivation for both the historical view and Nanay's is to provide a naturalistic basis to characterize some item as (...)
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  • Arguing About Representation.Mark Rowlands - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4215-4232.
    The question of whether cognition requires representations has engendered heated discussion during the last two decades. I shall argue that the question is, in all likelihood, a spurious one. There may or may not be a fact of the matter concerning whether a given item qualifies as a representation. However, even if there is, attempts to establish whether cognition requires representation have neither practical nor theoretical utility.
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  • High-Level Enactive and Embodied Cognition in Expert Sport Performance.Kevin Krein & Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza - 2017 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 11 (3):370-384.
    Mental representation has long been central to standard accounts of action and cognition generally, and in the context of sport. We argue for an enactive and embodied account that rejects the idea that representation is necessary for cognition, and posit instead that cognition arises, or is enacted, in certain types of interactions between organisms and their environment. More specifically, we argue that enactive theories explain some kinds of high-level cognition, those that underlie some of the best performances in sport and (...)
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  • The Explanatory Need for Mental Representations in Cognitive Science.Barbara von Eckardt - 2003 - Mind and Language 18 (4):427-439.
    Ramsey (1997) argues that connectionist representations 'do not earn their explanatory keep'. The aim of this paper is to examine the argument Ramsey gives to support that conclusion. In doing so, I identify two kinds of explanatory need—need relative to a possible explanation and need relative to a true explanation and argue that internal representations are not needed for either connectionist or nonconnectionist possible explanations but that it is quite likely that they are needed for true explanations. However, to show (...)
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  • The Normativity of Action.Mark Rowlands - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (3):401-416.
    The concept of action is playing an increasingly prominent role in attempts to explain how subjects can represent the world. The idea is that at least some of the role traditionally assigned to internal representations can, in fact, be played by the ability of subjects to act on the world, and the exercise of that ability on appropriate occasions. This paper argues that the appeal to action faces a serious dilemma. If the concept of action employed is a representational one, (...)
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