Mental Files

Philosophy Compass 19 (3) (2024)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The so-called ‘mental files theory’ in the philosophy of mind stems from an analogy comparing object-concepts to ‘files’, and the mind to a ‘filing system’. Though this analogy appears in philosophy of mind and language from the 1970s onward, it remains unclear to many how it should be interpreted. The central commitments of the mental files theory therefore also remain unclear. Based on influential uses of the file analogy within philosophy, I elaborate three central explanatory roles for mental files. Next, I outline several common criticisms of the file picture, which have been a source of resistance to the view. Finally, I outline several interpretations of the theory, thus highlighting that the best interpretation of the file-theory's central analogy remains a live issue.

Author's Profile

Rachel Goodman
University of Illinois, Chicago

Analytics

Added to PP
2024-03-21

Downloads
137 (#84,616)

6 months
137 (#29,392)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?