Semantic externalism and the mechanics of thought

Minds and Machines 19 (1):1-24 (2009)
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Abstract

I review a widely accepted argument to the conclusion that the contents of our beliefs, desires and other mental states cannot be causally efficacious in a classical computational model of the mind. I reply that this argument rests essentially on an assumption about the nature of neural structure that we have no good scientific reason to accept. I conclude that computationalism is compatible with wide semantic causal efficacy, and suggest how the computational model might be modified to accommodate this possibility.

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Carrie Figdor
University of Iowa

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