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Abstract: Let's assume there are psychological generalizations that the folk rely upon in explaining and predicting the behavior of their fellows. Let's further assume these generalizations are intentional, in that they do their explanatory and predictive work by attributing to the subjects in their domain intentional mental states such as beliefs, desires, and the like. Then we can define a broad intentional psychology as one that adverts only to broad, viz. purely denotational/truth-conditional, mental contents in its generalizations; so the sentences expressing its generalizations should be transparently read. A narrow psychology is one that is not so restricted.  Accordingly, the sentences expressing narrow generalizations will contain opaque contexts, indicated by `that'-clauses (`believes that ...', `desires that ...', and the like). Here is an example of the sort of generalization we have in mind:
(G) If S desires that P and believes that S can bring it about that P, then, ceteris paribus, S will try to bring it about that P.
In recent years, the question of whether such generalizations are broad or narrow has received considerable attention in philosophy of psychology. The general consensus among theorists has been that because generalizations like (G) are false when construed transparently, intentional psychology cannot be broad. For example, when read transparently, (G) seems to be falsified by Oedipus's story. Oedipus wished not to marry Mom and believed that he could achieve this, yet he did not avoid marrying her -- on the contrary. So Oedipus satisfied the antecedent and flouted the consequent of (G). In this way, Frege puzzles have served to motivate a narrow intentional psychology, where the intentional properties attributed to mental states are individuated more finely than denotations or truth-conditions
Abstract: Millikan and Wilson argue, for different reasons, that the essential reference to the environment in adaptationist explanations of behavior makes (psychological) individualism inconsistent with evolutionary psychology. I show that their arguments are based on misinterpretations of the role of reference to the environment in such explanations. By exploring these misinterpretations, I develop an account of explanation in evolutionary psychology that is fully consistent with individualism. This does not, however, constitute a full-fledged defense of individualism, since evolutionary psychology is only one explanatory paradigm among many in psychology
Abstract: The dispute between individualism and anti-individualism is about the individuation of psychological states, and individualism, on some accounts, is committed to the claim that psychological subjects together with their environments do not constitute integrated computational systems. Hence on this view the computational states that explain psychological states in computational accounts of mind will not involve the subject''s natural and social environment. Moreover, the explanation of a system''s interaction with the environment is, on this view, not the primary goal of computational theorizing. Recent work in computational developmental psychology (by A. Karmiloff-Smith and J. Rutkowska) as well as artificial agents or embedded artificial systems (by L.P. Kaelbling, among others) casts doubt on these claims. In these computational models, the environment does not just trigger and sustain input for computational operations, but some computational operations actually involve environmental structures
Abstract: The issue of methodological solipsism in the philosophy of mind and psychology has received enormous attention and discussion in the decade since the appearance Jerry Fodor's "Methodological Solipsism" [Fodor 1980]. But most of this discussion has focused on the consideration of the now infamous "Twin Earth" type examples and the problems they present for Fodor's notion of "narrow content". I think there is deeper and more general moral to be found in this issue, particularly in light of Fodor's more recent defense of his view in Psychosemantics [Fodor 1987]. Underlying this discussion are questions about the nature and plausibility of the claim that scientific explanation should observe a constraint of methodological individualism . My goal in what follows is to bring out this more general problem in Fodor's "internalist" account of the mental
Abstract: According to explanatory individualism, every action must be explained in terms of an agent's desire. According to explanatory nonindividualism, we sometimes act on our desires, but it is also possible for us to act on others' desires without acting on desires of our own. While explanatory nonindividualism has guided the thinking of many social scientists, it is considered to be incoherent by most philosophers of mind who insist that actions must be explained ultimately in terms of some desire of the agent. In the first part of the paper, I show that some powerful arguments designed to demonstrate the incoherence of explanatory nonindividualism fail. In the second part of the paper, I offer a nonindividualist explanation of the apparent obviousness of belief-desire psychology. I argue that there are two levels of the intelligibility of our actions. On the more fundamental (explanatory) level, the question "Why did the agent do something?" admits a variety of folk-psychological categories. But there is another (formation-of-self) level, at which the same question admits only of answers that ultimately appeal only to the agent's own desires. Explanatory individualism results from the confusion of the two levels
Abstract: This paper concerns the dialectal role of Frege Cases in the debate between Concept Cartesians and Concept Pragmatists. I take as a starting point Christopher Peacocke’s argument that, unlike Cartesianism, his ‘Fregean’ Pragmatism can account for facts about the rationality and epistemic status of certain judgments. I argue that since this argument presupposes that the rationality of thoughts turn on their content, it is thus question-begging against Cartesians, who claim that issues about rationality turn on the form, not the content, of thoughts. I then consider Jerry Fodor’s argument that ‘modes of presentation’ are not identical with Fregean senses, and argue that explanatory considerations should leads us to reject his ‘syntactic’ treatment of Frege cases. Rejecting the Cartesian treatment of Frege cases, however, is not tantamount to accepting Peacocke’s claim that reasons and rationality are central to the individuation of concepts. For I argue that we can steer a middle course between Fodor’s Cartesianism and Peacocke’s Pragmatism, and adopt a form of Pragmatism that is constrained by Fregean considerations, but at the same time denies that concepts are constitutively tied to reasons and rationality
Abstract: This paper argues that an ecological approach to psychology of the sort advanced by J. J. Gibson provides a coherent and powerful alternative to the computational, information-processing, paradigm. The paper argues for two principles. Firstly, one cannot begin to understand what internal information processing an organism must accomplish until one understands what information is available to the organism in its environment. Secondly, an organism can process information by acting on or manipulating physical structures in its environment. An attempt is made to show how these principles can be extended to cognition as a whole. It is suggested that these principles may have a foundation in evolutionary biology
Abstract: The social, behavioral, and a good chunk of the biological sciences concern the nature of individual agency, where our paradigm for an individual is a human being. Theories of economic behavior, of mental function and dysfunction, and of ontogenetic development, for example, are theories of how such individuals act, and of what internal and external factors are determinative of that action. Such theories construe individuals in distinctive ways