Shannon + Friston = Content: Intentionality in predictive signaling systems

Synthese 199 (1-2):2793-2816 (2021)
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What is the content of a mental state? This question poses the problem of intentionality: to explain how mental states can be about other things, where being about them is understood as representing them. A framework that integrates predictive coding and signaling systems theories of cognitive processing offers a new perspective on intentionality. On this view, at least some mental states are evaluations, which differ in function, operation, and normativity from representations. A complete naturalistic theory of intentionality must account for both types of intentional state.

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Carrie Figdor
University of Iowa


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