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Abstract: ABSTRACT. In his latest book, The Elm and the Expert (1994), Fodor notoriously rejects the notion of narrow content as superfluous. He envisions a scientific intentional psychology that adverts only to broad content properties in its explanations. I argue that Fodor's change in view is only apparent and that his previous position (1985-1991) is extensionally equivalent to his "new" position (1994). I show that, despite what he says narrow content is for in his (1994), Fodor himself has previously never appealed to the notion of narrow content in explaining Frege cases and cases involving the so-called deferential concepts. And for good reason: his notion of narrow content (1985-91) couldn't explain them. The only apparent change concerns his treatment of Twin Earth cases. However, I argue that the notion of broad content that his purely informational semantics delivers is, in some interesting sense, equivalent to the mapping notion of narrow content he officially gave up. For his pure informational semantics fails to avoid assigning disjunctive content to twins, since nomic covariations take care not only actual but also counterfactual contexts into account. I show that none of the attempts made by Fodor to block this consequence of his theory works. The present notion of broad content he now operates with is therefore in a position to take over all the important jobs that his previous notion of narrow content could do
Abstract: This paper is devoted to an examination of some aspects of the central issue of Cognitive Dynamics, the issue about the conditions under which intentional mental states may persist over time. I discuss two main sorts of approach to the topic: the directly referential approach, which I take as best represented in David Kaplan?s views, and the neo-Fregean approach, which I take as best represented in Gareth Evans?s views. The upshot of my discussion is twofold. On the one hand, I argue that both Kaplan?s account and Evans?s account are on the whole defective (for different sorts of reason, of course); even though there are features of each of those views which seem to me to be along the right lines. On the other, and in spite of that, I claim that a broadly Fregean theory is still to be preferred since by positing semantically efficacious modes of presentation it is clearly better equipped to deal adequately with some important phenomena in the area. In particular, I argue that the notion of a memory-based demonstrative mode of presentation of an object (a spatio-temporal particular, a region in space, a period of time, etc.) turns out to be indispensable for the purpose of accounting for the persistence of an important range of mental states with propositional content over time
Abstract: 0. Relativistic Content In standard semantics, propositional content, whether it be the content of utterances or mental states, has a truth-value relative only to a possible world. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is sitting now’ is true just in case Jim is sitting at the time of utterance in the actual world, and the content of my belief that Alice will give a talk tomorrow is true just in case Alice will give a talk on the day following the occurrence of my belief state in the actual world. Let us call propositional content which has a truth-value relative only to a possible world ‘non-relativistic content’. Non-relativistic content can be treated as either structured or unstructured. On the unstructured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set of possible worlds and bears the truth-value true just in case the actual world is a member of that set. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is working now’ at time t is the set of worlds in which Jim is working at t, and this content is true just in case the actual world is among those worlds. On the structured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set or conglomeration of properties and/or objects, where properties are features which objects possess regardless of who considers or observes them and regardless of when they are being considered or observed. Such properties are said to be (or represent) functions from possible worlds to extensions. Relative to a possible world they determine a set of objects instantiating the property. For example, relative to the actual world the property of being human determines the set of actual humans. Not all content is non-relativistic. Let us say that propositional content is relativistic just in case it possesses a truth-value only relative to a centered world. A centered world is a possible world in which an individual and a time are marked, where the marked individual..
Abstract: [[This paper appears in my anthology _Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings_ (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 608-633. It is a heavily revised version of a paper first written in 1994 and revised in 1995. Sections 1, 7, 8, and 10 are similar to the old version, but the other sections are quite different. Because the old version has been widely cited, I have made it available (in its 1995 version) at http://consc.net/papers/content95.html
Abstract: (1) Is content in the head? I believe that water is wet. My twin on Twin Earth, which is just like Earth except that H2O is replaced by the superficially identical XYZ, does not. His thoughts concern not water but twin water: I believe that water is wet, but he believes that twin water is wet. It follows that that what a subject believes is not wholly determined by the internal state of the believer. Nevertheless, the cognitive similarities between me and my twin are striking. Is there some wholly internal aspect of content that we might share?
Abstract: A content of a subject's mental state is narrow when it is determined by the subject's intrinsic properties: that is, when any possible intrinsic duplicate of the subject has a corresponding mental state with the same content. A content of a subject's mental state is..
Abstract: I say that it’s philosophically inexpensive because I think it is more convincing than any other Twin-Earth thought experiment in that it sidesteps many of the standard objections to the usual thought experiments. I also briefly discuss narrow contents and give an analysis of Putnam’s original argument
Abstract: The Mind-Body problem is the problem of saying how a person’s mental states and events relate to his bodily ones. How does Oscar’s believing that water is cold relate to the states of his body? Is it itself a bodily state, perhaps a state of his brain or nervous system? If not, does it nonetheless depend on such states? Or is his believing that water is cold independent of his bodily states? And, crucially, what are the notions of dependence and independence at issue here?
Abstract: Intentional states represent. Belief represents how we take things to be; desire represents how we would like things to be; and so on. To represent is to make a division among possibilities; it is to divide the possibilities into those that are consistent with how things are being represented to be and those that are not. I will call the possibilities consistent with how some intentional state represents things to be, its content. There is no suggestion that this is the only legitimate notion of content, but for anyone who takes seriously the representational nature of intentional states, it must be one legitimate and central notion of content. To discover that DNA has a double helix structure is to make a selection from the various possible structures
Abstract: ONE way t0 defend narrow content is to produce a sentence 0f the form ‘S believes that P’, and show that this sentence is true 0f S if and 0nly if it is true 0f any duplicate from the skin in, any doppclgangcr, of S. N0toriously, this is hard to d0. Twin Earth examples are pervasivc.1 Another way to defend narrow content; is t0 show that Only 2. narrow notion can play thc causal explanatory r01c we require 0f contcnt in 2. properly scicntiicm psychology 0r cognitive science. Notoriously, this is hard t0 d0. The considerations—mcthod010gicaI solipsism, the principle 0f autonomy, 0r what:cvcr—invokcd to show that a broad notion 0f content cannot..
Abstract: We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
Abstract: In everyday life, we typically explain what people do by attributing mental states such as beliefs and desires. Such mental states belong to a class of mental states that are _intentional_, mental states that have content. Hoping that Johnny will win, and believing that Johnny will win are of course rather different mental states that can lead to very different behaviour. But they are similar in that they both have the same content : what is being hoped for and believed is the very same thing. According to the thesis of externalism that has been defended most notably by Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge, not all of the contents of our mental states are determined by our intrinsic properties. Instead, the contents of our beliefs and desires are often determined in part by our relations to the environment. They are, so to speak, "wide" contents that are "not in our heads." Although externalism is accepted by most philosophers, many have argued that mental states with wide contents must also have a kind of content wholly determined by the intrinsic properties of the individuals who are in those states. This kind of content is called "narrow content". The aim of this paper is to distinguish between three rather different motivations for postulating narrow content. I argue that, given a certain conception of narrow content that I shall explain below, none of these three motivations succeed in establishing the existence of narrow content
Abstract: (1) Content properties are nonrelational, that is, having a content property does not entail the existence of any contingent object not identical with the thinker or a part of the thinker.2 (2) We have noninferential knowledge of our conscious thoughts, that is, for any of our..