Do Constancy Mechanisms Save Distal Content?

Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):409-417 (2019)
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Abstract

In this journal, Schulte develops a novel solution to the problem of distal content: by virtue of what is a mental representation about a distal object rather than a more proximal cause of that representation? Schulte maintains that in order for a representation to have a distal content, it must be produced by a constancy mechanism, along with two other conditions. I raise three objections to his solution. First, a core component of Schulte's solution is just a restrictive version of Dretske's solution, but Schulte gives no argument for his restriction. Second, his proposed solution to a disjunction problem is ad hoc. Finally, his ‘far-out’ version of the distality problem is not a version of the distality problem at all. I conclude that Dretske's solution is preferable to Schulte's.

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Justin Garson
Hunter College (CUNY)

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