Why broad content can’t influence behaviour

Synthese 194 (8):3005–3020 (2017)
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This article examines one argument in favour of the position that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers over behaviour. This argument states that we establish that the relational properties of mental states do not have causal powers by considering cases where intrinsic properties remain the same but relational properties vary to see whether, under such circumstances, behaviour would ever vary. The individualist argues that behaviour will not vary with relational properties alone, which means that they don’t have causal powers. Four replies are presented which all reject the premise that under such conditions behaviour can never be different, and each of these are refuted. The article concludes by arguing that knowing about the relational properties of mental states gives no predictive advantage over (and, in fact, is predictively worse than) knowing about the intrinsic properties of mental states plus context.
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Knowledge and Its Limits.Williamson, Timothy

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