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  1. Information, Constraint and Meaning. From the Pre-Biotic World to a Possible Post Human One. An Evolutionary Approach (IS4SI 2017).Christophe Menant - manuscript
    The presentation proposes to complement an existing development on meaning generation for animals, humans and artificial agents by looking at what could have existed at pre-biotic times and what could be a post-human meaning generation. The core of the approach is based on an existing model for meaning generation: the Meaning Generator System (MGS). The MGS is part of an agent submitted to an internal constraint. The MGS generates a meaning when it receives an information that has a connection with (...)
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  2. Introduction to a Systemic Theory of Meaning - March 2020 Update.Christophe Menant - manuscript
    Information and meaning are present everywhere around us and within ourselves. Specific studies have been implemented to link information and meaning (Linguistic, Biosemiotic, Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Artificial Intelligence... ). No general coverage is available for the notion of meaning. We propose to complement this lack by a system approach to meaning generation in an evolutionary background. That short paper is a summary of the system approach where a Meaning Generator System (MGS) based on internal constraint satisfaction has been introduced. The (...)
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  3. An Alternative to the Causal Theory of Perception.Todd Ganson - forthcoming - Tandf: Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-13.
    Proponents of the causal theory of perception have applied the theory to questions about which particular objects or events are perceived, which parts are perceived, and which properties are perceived. In each case they insist that successful perception is causally dependent on what is perceived. The causal theory rests on an important insight regarding the information-carrying role of perception. In order to succeed in this role, perception cannot be grounded in spurious correlations. But we can respect this insight without embracing (...)
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  4. Natural Information, Factivity and Nomicity.Ben Baker - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-21.
    Biological and cognitive sciences rely heavily on the idea of information transmitted between natural events or processes. This paper critically assesses some current philosophical views of natural information and defends a view of natural information as Nomic and Factive. Dretske offered a Factive view of information, and recent work on the topic has tended to reject this aspect of his view in favor of a non-Factive, probabilistic approach. This paper argues that the reasoning behind this move to non-Factivity is flawed (...)
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  5. Nature's Operating System.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
  6. Informational Theories of Content and Mental Representation.Marc Artiga & Miguel Ángel Sebastián - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):613-627.
    Informational theories of semantic content have been recently gaining prominence in the debate on the notion of mental representation. In this paper we examine new-wave informational theories which have a special focus on cognitive science. In particular, we argue that these theories face four important difficulties: they do not fully solve the problem of error, fall prey to the wrong distality attribution problem, have serious difficulties accounting for ambiguous and redundant representations and fail to deliver a metasemantic theory of representation. (...)
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  7. A Role for Representations in Inflexible Behavior.Todd Ganson - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (4):1-18.
    Representationalists have routinely expressed skepticism about the idea that inflexible responses to stimuli are to be explained in representational terms. Representations are supposed to be more than just causal mediators in the chain of events stretching from stimulus to response, and it is difficult to see how the sensory states driving reflexes are doing more than playing the role of causal intermediaries. One popular strategy for distinguishing representations from mere causal mediators is to require that representations are decoupled from specific (...)
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  8. Can Informational Theories Account for Metarepresentation?Miguel Ángel Sebastián & Marc Artiga - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):81-94.
    In this essay we discuss recent attempts to analyse the notion of representation, as it is employed in cognitive science, in purely informational terms. In particular, we argue that recent informational theories cannot accommodate the existence of metarepresentations. Since metarepresentations play a central role in the explanation of many cognitive abilities, this is a serious shortcoming of these proposals.
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  9. Neo-Naturalism, Conciliatory Explanations, and Spatiotemporal Surprises.Uziel Awret - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    Some materialists believe that physics is rich enough to bridge Levine's Explanatory Gap1, while others believe that it is not. Here I promote an intermediate position holding that physics is rich enough to explain why this gap seems more intractable than similar inter-theoretic explanatory gaps, without providing a full-blown “physical” explanation of consciousness. At a minimum, such an approach needs to explore the prospects of empirical discoveries that can diminish the power of anti-physicalist arguments like Chalmers's “conceivability argument”2 and Jackson's (...)
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  10. Are there epistemic conditions necessary for demonstrative thought?Michael Barkasi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6111-6138.
    Starting with Gareth Evans, there’s an important tradition of theorizing about perception-based demonstrative thought which assigns necessary epistemic conditions to it. Its core idea is that demonstrative reference in thought is grounded in information links, understood as links which carry reliable information about their targets and which a subject exploits for demonstrative reference by tokening the mental files fed by these links. Perception, on these views, is not fundamental to perception-based demonstrative thought but is only the information link exploited in (...)
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  11. Representations Are Rate-Distortion Sweet Spots.Manolo Martínez - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1214-1226.
    Information is widely perceived as essential to the study of communication and representation; still, theorists working on these topics often take themselves not to be centrally concerned with "Shannon information", as it is often put, but with some other, sometimes called "semantic" or "nonnatural",kind of information. This perception is wrong. Shannon's theory of information is the only one we need. -/- I intend to make good on this last assertion by canvassing a fully (Shannon) informational answer to the metasemantic question (...)
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  12. Review of A Mark of the Mental. [REVIEW]Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (3):378-385.
    Karen Neander's A Mark of the Mental is a noteworthy and novel contribution to the long-running project of naturalizing intentionality. The aim of the book is to “solve the part of Brentano’s problem that is within reach” (3). Brentano's problem is the problem of explaining intentionality; the part of this problem that is supposedly within reach is that of explaining nonconceptual sensory-perceptual intentionality; and Neander aims to solve it via an informational teleosemantic theory. In this review, we provide a chapter-by-chapter (...)
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  13. How Emotions Know: Naturalizing Epistemology Via Emotions.Cecilea Mun - 2019 - In Laura Candiotto (ed.), The Value of Emotions for Knowledge. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 27-50.
    In this chapter, I argue that we can understand how original intentionality (i.e., a genuine mental life) fits into a natural and scientific understanding of the world through an understanding of the import of the intentionality of emotions to our knowledge of the world in which we live. To do so, I first argue that emotions demonstrate our original intentionality (i.e., a genuine mental life). I then explain how the intentionality of emotions is necessary for us to have knowledge of (...)
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  14. Disjunction and Distality: The Hard Problem for Purely Probabilistic Causal Theories of Mental Content.William Roche - 2019 - Synthese 198 (8):7197-7230.
    The disjunction problem and the distality problem each presents a challenge that any theory of mental content must address. Here we consider their bearing on purely probabilistic causal theories. In addition to considering these problems separately, we consider a third challenge—that a theory must solve both. We call this “the hard problem.” We consider 8 basic ppc theories along with 240 hybrids of them, and show that some can handle the disjunction problem and some can handle the distality problem, but (...)
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  15. The Senses as Signalling Systems.Todd Ganson - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):519-531.
    A central goal of philosophy of perception is to uncover the nature of sensory capacities. Ideally, we would like an account that specifies what conditions need to be met in order for an organism to count as having the capacity to sense or perceive its environment. And on the assumption that sensory states are the kinds of things that can be accurate or inaccurate, a further goal of philosophy of perception is to identify the accuracy conditions for sensory states. In (...)
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  16. Mindless Accuracy: On the Ubiquity of Content in Nature.Alex Morgan - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5403-5429.
    It is widely held in contemporary philosophy of mind that states with underived representational content are ipso facto psychological states. This view—the Content View—underlies a number of interesting philosophical projects, such as the attempt to pick out a psychological level of explanation, to demarcate genuinely psychological from non-psychological states, and to limn the class of states with phenomenal character. The most detailed and influential theories of underived representation in philosophy are the tracking theories developed by Fodor, Dretske, Millikan and others. (...)
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  17. Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Intentionality.Alex Morgan & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (1):119-139.
    We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitive neuroscience and argue that cognitive neuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of information and biological function. (...)
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  18. Representation and Mental Representation.Robert D. Rupert - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (2):204-225.
    This paper engages critically with anti-representationalist arguments pressed by prominent enactivists and their allies. The arguments in question are meant to show that the “as-such” and “job-description” problems constitute insurmountable challenges to causal-informational theories of mental content. In response to these challenges, a positive account of what makes a physical or computational structure a mental representation is proposed; the positive account is inspired partly by Dretske’s views about content and partly by the role of mental representations in contemporary cognitive scientific (...)
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  19. Information Flow in the Brain: Ordered Sequences of Metastable States.Andrew A. Fingelkurts & Alexander A. Fingelkurts - 2017 - Information 8 (1):22.
    In this brief overview paper, we analyse information flow in the brain. Although Shannon’s information concept, in its pure algebraic form, has made a number of valuable contributions to neuroscience, information dynamics within the brain is not fully captured by its classical description. These additional dynamics consist of self-organisation, interplay of stability/instability, timing of sequential processing, coordination of multiple sequential streams, circular causality between bottom-up and top-down operations, and information creation. Importantly, all of these processes are dynamic, hierarchically nested and (...)
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  20. On the Norms of Visual Argument: A Case for Normative Non-Revisionism.David Godden - 2017 - Argumentation 31 (2):395-431.
    Visual arguments can seem to require unique, autonomous evaluative norms, since their content seems irreducible to, and incommensurable with, that of verbal arguments. Yet, assertions of the ineffability of the visual, or of visual-verbal incommensurability, seem to preclude counting putatively irreducible visual content as functioning argumentatively. By distinguishing two notions of content, informational and argumentative, I contend that arguments differing in informational content can have equivalent argumentative content, allowing the same argumentative norms to be rightly applied in their evaluation.
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  21. A Mark of the Mental: A Defence of Informational Teleosemantics.Karen Neander - 2017 - Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.
    Drawing on insights from causal theories of reference, teleosemantics, and state space semantics, a theory of naturalized mental representation. In A Mark of the Mental, Karen Neander considers the representational power of mental states—described by the cognitive scientist Zenon Pylyshyn as the “second hardest puzzle” of philosophy of mind. The puzzle at the heart of the book is sometimes called “the problem of mental content,” “Brentano's problem,” or “the problem of intentionality.” Its motivating mystery is how neurobiological states can have (...)
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  22. Can Bohmian Quantum Information Help Us to Understand Consciousness?Paavo Pylkkänen - 2016 - In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). Springer Publishing Company. pp. 76-87.
    The paper explores whether David Bohm’ s proposal about quantum theoretical active information, and the mind-matter scheme he developed on the basis of it, can help us to explain consciousness. Here it is important to acknowledge that other researchers in philosophy of mind and consciousness studies have also made use of the concept of information in their theories of mind and consciousness. For example, Dretske and Barwise and Seligman have explored the possibility that information in the sense of factual semantic (...)
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  23. Information-Theoretic Philosophy of Mind.Jason Winning & William Bechtel - 2016 - In Luciano Floridi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Information. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 347-360.
  24. Placement, Grounding, and Mental Content.Kelly Trogdon - 2015 - In C. Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook on Philosophical Methods. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 481-496.
    Grounding-theoretic reformulation of Fodor's theory of content that addresses recalcitrant Quinean concerns.
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  25. Teleosemantics, Infotel-Semantics and Circularity.Marc Artiga - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):583-603.
    Peter Godfrey-Smith and Nicholas Shea have argued that standard versions of teleosemantics render explanations of successful behavior by appealing to true beliefs circular and, consequently, non-explanatory. As an alternative, Shea has recently suggested an original teleosemantic account (that he calls ?Infotel-semantics?), which is supposed to be immune to the problem of circularity. The paper argues that the standard version of teleosemantics has a satisfactory reply to the circularity objection and that, in any case, Infotel-semantics is not better off than standard (...)
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  26. Propositional Content in Signalling Systems.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):493-512.
    Skyrms, building on the work of Dretske, has recently developed a novel information-theoretic account of propositional content in simple signalling systems. Information-theoretic accounts of content traditionally struggle to accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation, and I show that Skyrms’s account is no exception. I proceed to argue, however, that a modified version of Skyrms’s account can overcome this problem. On my proposed account, the propositional content of a signal is determined not by the information that it actually carries, but by the (...)
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  27. The Semantic Problem(s) with Research on Animal Mind‐Reading.Cameron Buckner - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (5):566-589.
    Philosophers and cognitive scientists have worried that research on animal mind-reading faces a ‘logical problem’: the difficulty of experimentally determining whether animals represent mental states (e.g. seeing) or merely the observable evidence (e.g. line-of-gaze) for those mental states. The most impressive attempt to confront this problem has been mounted recently by Robert Lurz. However, Lurz' approach faces its own logical problem, revealing this challenge to be a special case of the more general problem of distal content. Moreover, participants in this (...)
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  28. The Logic of Knowledge and the Flow of Information.Simon D’Alfonso - 2014 - Minds and Machines 24 (3):307-325.
    In this paper I look at Fred Dretske’s account of information and knowledge as developed in Knowledge and The Flow of Information. In particular, I translate Dretske’s probabilistic definition of information to a modal logical framework and subsequently use this to explicate the conception of information and its flow which is central to his account, including the notions of channel conditions and relevant alternatives. Some key products of this task are an analysis of the issue of information closure and an (...)
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  29. The Open-Endedness Objection Against Sophisticated Dispositionalism.Sergio Farias de SouzaFilho - 2014 - Perspectiva Filosófica 41 (1):49-56.
    Sophisticated dispositionalism proposes a naturalist reduction of mental content by claiming that the semantic content of a mental symbol is determined by the causes of the occurrence of this symbol under ideal conditions, i.e., conditions under which only the referent of a symbol can cause its tokening. However, Paul Boghossian developed the open-endedness objection in order to show that it is not possible to specify these ideal conditions in non-semantic terms, entailing that the naturalist reduction of mental content proposed by (...)
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  30. Debunking Enactivism: A Critical Notice of Hutto and Myin’s Radicalizing Enactivism. [REVIEW]Mohan Matthen - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (1):118-128.
    In this review of Hutto and Myin's Radicalizing Enactivism, I question the adequacy of a non-representational theory of mind. I argue first that such a theory cannot differentiate cognition from other bodily engagements such as wrestling with an opponent. Second, I question whether the simple robots constructed by Rodney Brooks are adequate as models of multimodal organisms. Last, I argue that Hutto and Myin pay very little attention to how semantically interacting representations are needed to give an account of choice (...)
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  31. Naturalizing Intentionality: Tracking Theories Versus Phenomenal Intentionality Theories.Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (5):325-337.
    This paper compares tracking and phenomenal intentionality theories of intentionality with respect to the issue of naturalism. Tracking theories explicitly aim to naturalize intentionality, while phenomenal intentionality theories generally do not. It might seem that considerations of naturalism count in favor of tracking theories. We survey key considerations relevant to this claim, including some motivations for and objections to the two kinds of theories. We conclude by suggesting that naturalistic considerations may in fact support phenomenal intentionality theories over tracking theories.
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  32. In Memoriam: Fred Dretske.Fred Adams - 2013 - The Philosophers' Magazine 63:9-10.
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  33. Mind, Matter, Meaning and Information.Robin Faichney - 2013 - TripleC - Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation 11 (1):36-45.
    This article aims to show how mind, matter and meaning might be united in one theory using certain concepts of information, building on ideas of empathy and intentionality. The concept of intentionality in philosophy of mind (“aboutness”), which is “the ineliminable mark of the mental” according to Brentano, can be viewed as the relationship between model and object, and empathy can be viewed as a form of mental modelling, so that the inclination to attribute mentality can be identified with the (...)
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  34. Two Notions of Mental Representation.Uriah Kriegel - 2013 - In U. Kriegel (ed.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind. Routledge. pp. 161-179.
    The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
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  35. Reliable Misrepresentation and Tracking Theories of Mental Representation.Angela Mendelovici - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):421-443.
    It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them.
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  36. Toward an Informational Teleosemantics.Karen Neander - 2013 - In Dan Ryder, Justine Kingsbury & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Millikan and Her Critics. Wiley. pp. 21--40.
  37. Informational Semantics and Frege Cases.Matthew Rellihan - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (3):267-294.
    One of the most important objections to information-based semantic theories is that they are incapable of explaining Frege cases. The worry is that if a concept’s intentional content is a function of its informational content, as such theories propose, then it would appear that coreferring expressions have to be synonymous, and if this is true, it’s difficult to see how an agent could believe that a is F without believing that b is F whenever a and b are identical. I (...)
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  38. From Interface to Correspondence: Recovering Classical Representations in a Pragmatic Theory of Semantic Information.Orlin Vakarelov - 2013 - Minds and Machines (3):1-25.
    One major fault line in foundational theories of cognition is between the so-called “representational” and “non-representational” theories. Is it possible to formulate an intermediate approach for a foundational theory of cognition by defining a conception of representation that may bridge the fault line? Such an account of representation, as well as an account of correspondence semantics, is offered here. The account extends previously developed agent-based pragmatic theories of semantic information, where meaning of an information state is defined by its interface (...)
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  39. Semantic Information and the Network Theory of Account.Luciano Floridi - 2012 - Synthese 184 (3):431-454.
    The article addresses the problem of how semantic information can be upgraded to knowledge. The introductory section explains the technical terminology and the relevant background. Section 2 argues that, for semantic information to be upgraded to knowledge, it is necessary and sufficient to be embedded in a network of questions and answers that correctly accounts for it. Section 3 shows that an information flow network of type A fulfils such a requirement, by warranting that the erotetic deficit, characterising the target (...)
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  40. The Philosophy of Information - a Simple Introduction.Phyllis Illari - 2012 - Society for the Philosophy of Information.
    This book serves as the main reference for an undergraduate course on Philosophy of Information. The book is written to be accessible to the typical undergraduate student of Philosophy and does not require propaedeutic courses in Logic, Epistemology or Ethics. Each chapter includes a rich collection of references for the student interested in furthering her understanding of the topics reviewed in the book. -/- The book covers all the main topics of the Philosophy of Information and it should be considered (...)
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  41. Information and Consciousness.David Gamez - 2011 - Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics (2):215-234.
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  42. Concept Referentialism and the Role of Empty Concepts.Kevan Edwards - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (1):89-118.
    This paper defends a reference-based approach to concept individuation against the objection that such an approach is unable to make sense of concepts that fail to refer. The main line of thought pursued involves clarifying how the referentialist should construe the relationship between a concept's (referential) content and its role in mental processes. While the central goal of the paper is to defend a view aptly titled Concept Referentialism , broader morals are drawn regarding reference-based approaches in general. The paper (...)
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  43. “Assertion” and Intentionality.Jason Stanley - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):87-113.
    Robert Stalnaker argues that his causal-pragmatic account of the problem of intentionality commits him to a coarse-grained conception of the contents of mental states, where propositions are represented as sets of possible worlds. Stalnaker also accepts the "direct reference" theory of names, according to which co-referring names have the same content. Stalnaker's view of content is thus threatened by Frege's Puzzle. Stalnaker's classic paper "Assertion" is intended to provide a response to this threat. In this paper, I evaluate Stalnaker's claim (...)
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  44. Problems of Representation II: Naturalizing Content.Dan Ryder - 2009 - In Francisco Garzon & John Symons (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge.
    John is currently thinking that the sun is bright. Consider his occurrent belief or judgement that the sun is bright. Its content is that the sun is bright. This is a truth- evaluable content (which shall be our main concern) because it is capable of being true or false. In virtue of what natural, scientifically accessible facts does John’s judgement have this content? To give the correct answer to that question, and to explain why John’s judgement and other contentful mental (...)
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  45. Empirical Modeling and Information Semantics.Gordana Dodig Crnkovic - 2008 - Mind & Society.
  46. Information and Knowledge: A Constructive Type-Theoretical Approach.G. Primiero - 2007 - Springer.
    The constructive reformulation of the semantic theory suggests two basic principles to be assumed: first, the distinction between proper knowledge, expressed in judgemental form, and the assertion conditions for such knowledge; second, ...
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  47. Does Informational Semantics Commit Euthyphro's Fallacy?Jason Bridges - 2006 - Noûs 40 (3):522-547.
    In this paper, I argue that informational semantics, the most well-known and worked-out naturalistic account of intentional content, conflicts with a fundamental psychological principle about the conditions of belief-formation. Since this principle is an important premise in the argument for informational semantics, the upshot is that the view is self-contradictory??indeed, it turns out to be guilty of a sophisticated version of the fallacy famously committed by Euthyphro in the eponymous Platonic dialogue. Criticisms of naturalistic accounts of content typically proceed piecemeal (...)
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  48. An Objective Counterfactual Theory of Information.Jonathan Cohen & Aaron Meskin - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3):333 – 352.
    We offer a novel theory of information that differs from traditional accounts in two respects: (i) it explains information in terms of counterfactuals rather than conditional probabilities, and (ii) it does not make essential reference to doxastic states of subjects, and consequently allows for the sort of objective, reductive explanations of various notions in epistemology and philosophy of mind that many have wanted from an account of information.
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  49. Information Flow and Impossible Situations.Sebastian Sequoiah-Grayson - 2006 - Logique Et Analyse 49 (196):371-398.
  50. Concepts, Introspection, and Phenomenal Consciousness: An Information-Theoretical Approach.Murat Aydede & Guven Guzeldere - 2005 - Noûs 39 (2):197-255.
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic structure that closely (...)
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