About this topic
Summary Teleological accounts of mental content seek to account for the contents of our mental states in terms of the biological functions of the mechanisms that produce and use those states, and/or the functions of those states themselves. Such accounts are naturalistic because they posit the scientifically respectable, non-semantic property of biological function to explain why our mental states have the contents that they have. The main objection to teleological accounts is that they are unable to attribute determinate functions to the mechanisms that produce and use mental states, and so are unable to attribute determinate contents to those states. The major proponents of teleological accounts offer contrasting responses to this objection, which turn on differences in their respective theoretical frameworks.
Key works Millikan 1984 is the initial statement of the most influential version of the teleological account, while Millikan 1989 provides a more accessible overview. Other key papers on this version of the account are collected in Millikan 1993Papineau 1984 and Papineau 1987 introduce a rival teleological account. The indeterminacy problem for such accounts, first raised in Fodor 1990, is addressed in Neander 1995 and Papineau 1998, which also offer contrasting responses to the problem. The main papers on the notion of biological function are collected in Ariew et al 2002, while views on the current state of play in the literature on teleological accounts can be found in Macdonald & Papineau 2006
Introductions A useful overview article on teleological accounts is Schulte & Neander 2022, while a recent summary of the most influential version of the account is Millikan 1989. An accessible introduction to the rival version of the account can be found in Papineau 1987
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  1. A Teleosemantic Theory of Mental Conditionals.Brian Leahy - manuscript
    The purposes of this paper are first, to develop clearly the problem of mental conditionals for Millikan’s theory; second, to show why existing approaches to conditional semantics face serious challenges from a teleosemantic perspective; and third, to offer an account of the function of mental conditionals that meets the requirements of Millikan’s theory. We end up not only with a solution to a standing problem for teleosemantics, but also with a novel avenue for research in conditional semantics.
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  2. Distal Content in Informational Teleosemantics: Challenges from Colour Constancy and Colour Chemistry.Lance Balthazar - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In general, visual experiences represent determinately. And visual experiences, generally, represent properties of distal objects like their colour, shape, and size, but they do not, generally, represent properties of proximal states like that of incoming light or the retina. By making perceptual constancies central to perceptual representation, Peter Schulte extends Karen Neander’s Causal-Informational Teleosemantic theory in order to accommodate these facts. However, by appealing to the psychophysics and chemistry of how light-related properties interact to produce stimulation to the visual system (...)
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  3. Evolutionary Causation and Teleosemantics.Tiago Rama - forthcoming - In MInd & Life. Springer International Publishing.
    Disputes about the causal structure of natural selection have implications for teleosemantics. Etiological, mainstream teleosemantics is based on a causalist view of natural selection. The core of its solution to Brentano’s Problem lies in the solution to Kant’s Puzzle provided by the Modern Synthesis concerning populational causation. In this paper, I suggest that if we adopt an alternative, statisticalist view on natural selection, the door is open for two reflections. First, it allows for setting different challenges to etiological teleosemantics that (...)
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  4. Representation without Informative Signalling.Gerardo Alberto Viera - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Various writers have attempted to use the sender-receiver formalism to account for the representational capacities of biological systems. This paper has two goals. First, I argue that the sender-receiver approach to representation cannot be complete. The mammalian circadian system represents the time of day, yet it does not control circadian behaviours by producing signals with time of day content. Informative signalling need not be the basis of our most basic representational capacities. Second, I argue that representational capacities are primarily about (...)
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  5. The Dilemma of Ahistorical Teleosemantics.Fabian Hundertmark - 2024 - Philosophy of Science 91 (1):58-71.
    Teleosemantic theories aim to naturalize mental representation through the use of functions, typically based on past selection processes. However, the historical dependence of these theories has faced severe criticism, leading some philosophers to develop ahistorical alternatives. -/- This paper presents a new dilemma for all ahistorical teleosemantic theories, focusing in particular on the theories proposed by Timothy Schroeder and Bence Nanay. These theories require certain dispositions in the producers or consumers of mental representations. But the appeal to dispositions puts the (...)
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  6. Teleosemantics and the frogs.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):52-60.
    Some have thought that the plausibility of teleosemantics requires that it yield a determinate answer to the question of what the semantic “content” is of the “representation” triggered in the optic nerve of a frog that spots a fly. An outsize literature has resulted in which, unfortunately, a number of serious confusions and omissions that concern the way teleosemantics would have to work have appeared and been passed on uncorrected leaving a distorted and simplistic picture of the teleosemantic position. I (...)
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  7. A Teleosemantic Response to Burge’s Attack on Semantic Reductionism.Sérgio Farias de Souza Filho - 2024 - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Tyler Burge is famous for defending primitivist naturalism about mental representations, according to which mental representations are primitive natural states. Primitivist naturalism contrasts with semantic reductionism, according to which mental representations are reducible to more fundamental natural states. Burge developed the most compelling and influential attack on semantic reductionism from a primitivist naturalist point of view. My goal in this paper is to defend semantic reduc- tionism from Burge’s attack. I assess and refute his objection to the motivations for semantic (...)
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  8. A Dual Proposal Of Minimal Conditions For Intentionality.Sérgio Farias de Souza Filho - 2022 - Synthese 200 (115):1-22.
    Naturalist theories of representation have been attacked on the grounds of being too liberal on the minimal conditions for intentionality: they treat several states that are not representational as genuine representations. Behind this attack lies the problem of demarcation: what are the minimal conditions for intentionality that a state should satisfy to be genuinely representational? What are the limits of intentionality? This paper develops a dual proposal to solve this problem. First, I defend the explanatory role criterion in order to (...)
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  9. The problem with appealing to history in defining neural representations.Ori Hacohen - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (3):1-17.
    Representations seem to play a major role in many neuroscientific explanations. Philosophers have long attempted to properly define what it means for a neural state to be a representation of a specific content. Teleosemantic theories of content which characterize representations, in part, by appealing to a historical notion of function, are often regarded as our best path towards an account of neural representations. This paper points to the anti-representationalist consequences of these accounts. I argue that assuming such teleosemantic views will (...)
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  10. Teleo-Inferentialism.Ulf Hlobil - 2022 - Philosophiocal Topics 50 (1):185-211.
    The paper presents teleo-inferentialism, which is a novel meta-semantic theory that combines advantages of teleosemantics and normative inferentialism. Like normative inferentialism, teleo-inferentialism holds that contents are individuated by the norms that govern inferences in which they occur. This allows teleo-inferentialism to account for sophisticated concepts. Like teleosemantics, teleo-inferentialism explains conceptual norms in a naturalistically acceptable way by appeal to the broadly biological well-functioning of our innate capacities. As a test-case for teleo-inferentialism, I discuss how the view handles Kripkenstein-style meaning skepticism.
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  11. Teleosemantics and the free energy principle.Stephen Francis Mann & Ross Pain - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-25.
    The free energy principle is notoriously difficult to understand. In this paper, we relate the principle to a framework that philosophers of biology are familiar with: Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantics. We argue that: systems that minimise free energy are systems with a proper function; and Karl Friston’s notion of implicit modelling can be understood in terms of Millikan’s notion of mapping relations. Our analysis reveals some surprising formal similarities between the two frameworks, and suggests interesting lines of future research. We hope (...)
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  12. Teleosemantics and the Hard Problem of Content.Stephen Francis Mann & Ross Pain - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (1):22-46.
    Hutto and Myin claim that teleosemantics cannot account for mental content. In their view, teleosemantics accounts for a poorer kind of relation between cognitive states and the world but lacks the theoretical tools to account for a richer kind. We show that their objection imposes two criteria on theories of content: a truth-evaluable criterion and an intensionality criterion. For the objection to go through, teleosemantics must be subject to both these criteria and must fail to satisfy them. We argue that (...)
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  13. Kolors Without Colors, Representation Without Intentionality.Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (2):476-483.
    Over the past few decades, the dominant approach to explaining intentionality has been a naturalistic approach, one appealing only to non-mental ingredients condoned by the natural sciences. Karen Neander’s A Mark of the Mental (2017) is the latest installment in the naturalist project, proposing a detailed and systematic theory of intentionality that combines aspects of several naturalistic approaches, invoking causal relations, teleological functions, and relations of second-order similarity. In this paper, we consider the case of perceptual representations of colors, which (...)
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  14. Swampman, teleosemantics and kind essences.David Papineau - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-19.
    One powerful and influential approach to mental representation analyses representation in terms of biological functions, and biological functions in terms of histories of natural selection. This “teleosemantic” package, however, faces a familiar challenge. Surely representation depends only on the present-day structures of cognitive systems, and not on their historical provenance. “Swampman” drives the point home. Suppose a bolt of lightning creates an intrinsic duplicate of a human being in a steamy tropic swamp; will not this creature be representing its surroundings, (...)
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  15. Agential Teleosemantics.Tiago Rama - 2022 - Dissertation, Autonomous University of Barcelona
    The field of the philosophy of biology is flourishing in its aim to evaluate and rethink the view inherited from the previous century ---the Modern Synthesis. Different research areas and theories have come to the fore in the last decades in order to account for different biological phenomena that, in the first instance, fall beyond the explanatory scope of the Modern Synthesis. This thesis is anchored and motivated by this revolt in the philosophy of biology. -/- The central target in (...)
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  16. A Teleofunctionalist Solution to the Problem of Deviant Causal Chains of Actions.Jakob Roloff - 2022 - Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy (3-4):247-261.
    Donald Davidson’s causal theory of actions states that actions must be rationalized and caused by a belief-desire-pair. One problem of such a causal theory are cases of deviant causal chains. In these cases, the rationalized action is not caused in the right way but via a deviant causal chain. It therefore intuitively seems to be no action while all conditions of the causal theory are met. I argue that the problem of deviant causal chains can be solved by adding a (...)
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  17. Teleological theories of mental content.Peter Schulte & Karen Neander - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  18. Signals are minimal causes.Marc Artiga - 2021 - Synthese 198 (9):8581-8599.
    Although the definition of ‘signal’ has been controversial for some time within the life sciences, current approaches seem to be converging toward a common analysis. This powerful framework can satisfactorily accommodate many cases of signaling and captures some of its main features. This paper argues, however, that there is a central feature of signals that so far has been largely overlooked: its special causal role. More precisely, I argue that a distinctive feature of signals is that they are minimal causes. (...)
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  19. Beyond black dots and nutritious things: A solution to the indeterminacy problem.Marc Artiga - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (3):471-490.
    The indeterminacy problem is one of the most prominent objections against naturalistic theories of content. In this essay I present this difficulty and argue that extant accounts are unable to solve it. Then, I develop a particular version of teleosemantics, which I call ’explanation-based teleosemantics’, and show how this outstanding problem can be addressed within the framework of a powerful naturalistic theory.
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  20. How to do things with nonwords: pragmatics, biosemantics, and origins of language in animal communication.Dorit Bar-On - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-25.
    Recent discussions of animal communication and the evolution of language have advocated adopting a ‘pragmatics-first’ approach, according to which “a more productive framework” for primate communication research should be “pragmatics, the field of linguistics that examines the role of context in shaping the meaning of linguistic utterances”. After distinguishing two different conceptions of pragmatics that advocates of the pragmatics-first approach have implicitly relied on, I argue that neither conception adequately serves the purposes of pragmatics-first approaches to the origins of human (...)
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  21. Bargaining and descriptive content: prospects for a teleosemantic ethics.Karl Bergman - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-23.
    Teleosemantics is the view that mental content depends on etiological function. Moral adaptationism is the view that human morality is an evolved adaptation. Jointly, these two views offer new venues for naturalist metaethics. Several authors have seen, in the conjunction of these views, the promise of assigning naturalistically respectable descriptive content to moral judgments. One such author is Neil Sinclair, who has offered a blueprint for how to conduct teleosemantic metaethics with the help of moral adaptationism. In this paper, I (...)
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  22. Should the teleosemanticist be afraid of semantic indeterminacy?Karl Bergman - 2021 - Mind and Language (N/A).
    The teleosemantic indeterminacy problem has generated much discussion but no consensus. One possible solution is to accept indeterminacy as a real feature of some representations. I call this view “indeterminacy realism.” In this paper, I argue that indeterminacy realism should be treated as a serious option. By drawing an analogy with vagueness, I try to show that accepting the reality of indeterminacy would not be catastrophic for teleosemantics. I further argue that there are positive reasons to endorse indeterminacy realism. I (...)
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  23. Function and representational content through Tinbergen’s levels of analysis.James Brooks - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-12.
    Teleosemantics attempts to explain the content of mental representations through an appeal to functions, and typically attributes function to selection history. The narrowest cases focus on only evolutionary fitness benefit through natural selection, while broader theories have come to accept multiple levels of selection, including those over the course of a lifetime such as neural selection. The precise way to define function has given rise to many debates over the content of hypothetical mental representations. In this paper, I argue that (...)
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  24. Representation in Cognitive Science, by Nicholas Shea. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. 292.Todd Ganson - 2021 - Mind 130 (517).
    A central component of the cognitive revolution is a commitment to explaining behaviour by reference to internal representations of the world. This core aspect.
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  25. Adaptation and its Analogues: Biological Categories for Biosemantics.Hajo Greif - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:298-307.
    “Teleosemantic” or “biosemantic” theories form a strong naturalistic programme in the philosophy of mind and language. They seek to explain the nature of mind and language by recourse to a natural history of “proper functions” as selected-for effects of language- and thought-producing mechanisms. However, they remain vague with respect to the nature of the proposed analogy between selected-for effects on the biological level and phenomena that are not strictly biological, such as reproducible linguistic and cultural forms. This essay critically explores (...)
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  26. Explaining how to perceive the new: causal-informational teleosemantics and productive response functions.Fabian Hundertmark - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5335-5350.
    According to Karen Neander’s causal-informational teleosemantics, the contents of perceptual states depend on the etiological response functions of sensory-perceptual systems. In this paper, I argue that this theory is, despite its virtues, unable to explain how humans and other animals are capable of perceiving properties with which no sensory-perceptual system has ever been confronted. After rejecting Neander’s own proposal in terms of second-order similarity and a proposal inspired by Ruth Millikan in terms of simplicity, I offer a solution which equates (...)
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  27. Explanation and modality: on why the Swampman is still worrisome to teleosemanticists.Dongwoo Kim - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2817-2839.
    In a series of papers, Papineau argues that the Swampman scenario is not even the start of an objection to teleosemantics as a scientific reduction of belief. It is against this claim that I want to argue here. I shall argue that our intuition about the scenario questions the adequacy of the conceptual foundations of teleosemantics, namely, success semantics and the etiological conception of biological function, on which the explanatory power of the theory rests. In the course of argument, some (...)
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  28. Husserl’s Teleologie der «tiefen» Assoziationen as Foundation of the Theory of Judgment in comparison with Millikan’s Teleosemantic Theory.Andrea Lanza - 2021 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 14 (2):65-78.
    The paper inquires Husserl’s immanent teleology of conscious life, conceived as a Teleologie der «tiefen» Assoziationen. The associative genesis entails synthetical processes in the primordial-associative field, driven by the general concept of interest. The resulting syntheses ground the various forms of judgments, both judgments on experience and predicative ones in general. Since the theory’s foundation relies on pre-predicative experience, then it must encompass its teleological dimension and, in this sense, the concept of evidence – pivotal in the theory – mirrors (...)
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  29. Comment on Artiga’s “Teleosemantics and Pushmi-Pullyu Representations”.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (1):1-9.
    “Teleosemantics and Pushmi-Pullyu Representations” (call it “TP-PR,” this journal 2014 79.3, 545–566) argues that core teleosemantics, particularly as defined in Millikan (Language, thought and other biological categories, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1984, J Philos 86(6):281–297, 1989, White queen psychology and other essays for Alice, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1993, Philosophical perspectives, Ridgeview Publishing, Alascadero, 1996, Varieties of meaning, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2004–2008), seems to imply that all descriptive representations are at the same time directive and that directives are at the same time (...)
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  30. Comment on Artiga’s “Teleosemantics and Pushmi-Pullyu Representations”.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (1):409-417.
    “Teleosemantics and Pushmi-Pullyu Representations” (call it “TP-PR,” this journal 2014 79.3, 545–566) argues that core teleosemantics, particularly as defined in Millikan (Language, thought and other biological categories, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1984, J Philos 86(6):281–297, 1989, White queen psychology and other essays for Alice, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1993, Philosophical perspectives, Ridgeview Publishing, Alascadero, 1996, Varieties of meaning, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2004–2008), seems to imply that all descriptive representations are at the same time directive and that directives are at the same time (...)
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  31. On Ur-intentionality.Ludovic Soutif & Carlos Mario Márquez Sosa - 2021 - Revista de Filosofia Moderna E Contemporânea 9 (2):79-99.
    Starting from Brentano’s classical characterization of intentionality, we review the radical enactivist proposal about basic cognition and show that the underlying assumption that stripping teleosemantics of its representationalist commitments results in no explanatory loss is unwarranted. Significant features of basic cognition are lost, or so we argue, with the RECtification of teleosemantics that are retrieved by means of an alternative dubbed metaphysically non-committal content-ascriptivism.
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  32. The explanatory breadth of pushmi-pullyu representations.Mark Bauer - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (3):1-23.
    The pushmi-pullyu representation is a non-conjunctive representation with both descriptive and directive contents. Introduced by Millikan, the PPR is supposed to aid in explaining how organisms adapt behavior to environmental variance in the absence of intermediate inference. Until recently, it has led an uncontroversial theoretical life. However, Artiga has suggested that the PPR postulate conflicts with Millikan-style teleosemantics and, as a consequence, the PPR postulate should probably be set aside. I suggest here that the theoretical motivations for the PPR are (...)
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  33. Representation and the active consumer.Patrick Butlin - 2020 - Synthese 197 (10):4533-4550.
    One of the central tasks for naturalistic theories of representation is to say what it takes for something to be a representation, and some leading theories have been criticised for being too liberal. Prominent discussions of this problem have proposed a producer-oriented solution; it is argued that representations must be produced by systems employing perceptual constancy mechanisms. However, representations may be produced by simple transducers if they are consumed in the right way. It is characteristic of representations to be consumed (...)
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  34. Directive Content.Patrick Butlin - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (1):2-26.
    Representations may have descriptive content, directive content, or both, but little explicit attention has been given to the problem of distinguishing representations of these three kinds. We do not know, for instance, what determines whether a given representation is a directive instructing its consumer to perform some action or has descriptive content to the effect that the action in question has a certain value. This paper considers what it takes for a representation to have directive content. The first part of (...)
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  35. 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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  36. Neuroscience and teleosemantics.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2457-2465.
    Correctly understood, teleosemantics is the claim that “representation” is a function term. Things are called “representations” if they have a certain kind of function or telos and perform it in a certain kind of way. This claim is supported with a discussion and proposals about the function of a representation and of how representations perform that function. These proposals have been retrieved by putting together current descriptions from the literature on neural representations with earlier explorations of the features common to (...)
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  37. Teleosemantics and tetrachromacy.Brian Porter - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (1):1-22.
    Teleosemantics explains mental representation in terms of etiological history: a mental state’s representational contents are the result of natural selection, or some other selection process. Critics have argued that the “swampman” thought experiment poses a counterexample to teleosemantics. In several recent papers, Papineau has argued that a merely possible swampman cannot serve as a counterexample to teleosemantics, but has acknowledged that actual swampmen would pose a problem for teleosemantics. In this paper, I argue that there are real-world cases of swampman-like (...)
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  38. Why mental content is not like water: reconsidering the reductive claims of teleosemantics.Peter Https://Orcidorg288X Schulte - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2271-2290.
    According to standard teleosemantics, intentional states are selectional states. This claim is put forward not as a conceptual analysis, but as a ‘theoretical reduction’—an a posteriori hypothesis analogous to ‘water = H2O’. Critics have tried to show that this meta-theoretical conception of teleosemantics leads to unacceptable consequences. In this paper, I argue that there is indeed a fundamental problem with the water/H2O analogy, as it is usually construed, and that teleosemanticists should therefore reject it. Fortunately, there exists a viable alternative (...)
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  39. Can Truth‐Conditional Theorists of Content Do Without ‘That’‐Clause Ascriptions?Lionel Shapiro - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (1):1-27.
    Hartry Field has proposed a fundamental division of theories of linguistic and mental content into those that do, and those that don’t, give a central role to ‘that’-clause ascriptions. Here I investigate the commitments of theories that (in accord with Field’s position) deny ‘that’-clause ascriptions a central role, but (in contrast to Field’s position) give truth conditions a central role. Such non-oblique truth-conditionalism promises significant advantages. However, the stance is costlier than it may appear. Non-oblique truth-conditionalists, I argue, must renounce (...)
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  40. Emergence of Public Meaning from a Teleosemantic and Game Theoretical Perspective.Karim Baraghith - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):23-52.
    The generalized theory of evolution suggests that evolutionary algorithms apply to biological and cultural processes like language alike. Variation, selection and reproduction constitute abstract and formal traits of complex, open and often self-regulating systems. Accepting this basic assumption provides us with a powerful background methodology for this investigation: explaining the emergence and proliferation of semantic patterns, that become conventional. A teleosemantic theory of public (conventional) meaning (Millikan 1984; 2005) grounded in a generalized theory of evolution explains the proliferation of public (...)
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  41. Semantic Essentialism and Populations.Mark Bauer - 2019 - Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (1):59-68.
    A core feature of teleosemantic proposals has been to rely on selective history to justify semantic functional classification. Recently, Nanay and Bauer have offered ahistorical teleosemantic proposals intended to bypass the numerous criticisms arising from the dependence on history. However, part of the attraction of the traditional reliance on history is that it seemingly allowed teleosemantics to mesh with biological practice. For example, Millikan, a key advocate for the selective historical approach, argues that biological kind identity rests on historical relations. (...)
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  42. Communities of Judgment : Towards a Teleosemantic Theory of Moral Thought and Discourse.Karl Bergman - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This thesis offers a teleosemantic account of moral discourse and judgment. It develops a number of views about the function and content of moral judgments and the nature of moral discourse based on Ruth Millikan’s theory of intentional content and the functions of intentional attitudes. Non-cognitivists in meta-ethics have argued that moral judgments are more akin to desires and other motivational attitudes than to descriptive beliefs. I argue that teleosemantics allows us to assign descriptive content to motivational attitudes and hence (...)
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  43. What Biological Functions Are and Why They Matter.Justin Garson - 2019 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    The biological functions debate is a perennial topic in the philosophy of science. In the first full-length account of the nature and importance of biological functions for many years, Justin Garson presents an innovative new theory, the 'generalized selected effects theory of function', which seamlessly integrates evolutionary and developmental perspectives on biological functions. He develops the implications of the theory for contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, the philosophy of biology, and biology itself, (...)
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  44. Do Constancy Mechanisms Save Distal Content?Justin Garson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):409-417.
    In this journal, Schulte develops a novel solution to the problem of distal content: by virtue of what is a mental representation about a distal object rather than a more proximal cause of that representation? Schulte maintains that in order for a representation to have a distal content, it must be produced by a constancy mechanism, along with two other conditions. I raise three objections to his solution. First, a core component of Schulte's solution is just a restrictive version of (...)
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  45. Teleosemantics, selection and novel contents.Justin Garson & David Papineau - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):36.
    Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, (...)
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  46. A Mark of the Mental: In Defense of Informational Teleosemantics, by Karen Neander. [REVIEW]Manolo Martínez - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019.
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  47. 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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  48. Pictures, Plants, and Propositions.Alex Morgan - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (2):309-329.
    Philosophers have traditionally held that propositions mark the domain of rational thought and inference. Many philosophers have held that only conceptually sophisticated creatures like us could have propositional attitudes. But in recent decades, philosophers have adopted increasingly liberal views of propositional attitudes that encompass the mental states of various non-human animals. These views now sit alongside more traditional views within the philosophical mainstream. In this paper I argue that liberalized views of propositional attitudes are so liberal that they encompass states (...)
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  49. Naturalizing the content of desire.Peter Https://Orcidorg288X Schulte - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):161-174.
    Desires, or directive representations, are central components of human and animal minds. Nevertheless, desires are largely neglected in current debates about the naturalization of representational content. Most naturalists seem to assume that some version of the standard teleological approach, which identifies the content of a desire with a specific kind of effect that the desire has the function of producing, will turn out to be correct. In this paper I argue, first, that this common assumption is unjustified, since the standard (...)
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  50. Teleosemantik weitergedacht. Über Grundlagen, Probleme, neue Entwicklungen.Peter Schulte & Fabian Hundertmark - 2019 - Information Philosophie 3:18-31.
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