Three Concerns about the Origins of Content

Philosophia 43 (3):625-638 (2015)
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In this paper I will present three reservations about the claims made by Hutto and Satnet. First of all, though TNOC is presented as drawing on teleological theories of mental content for a conception of Ur-Intentionaltiy, what is separated out after objectionable claims are removed from teleological accounts may not retain enough to give us directed intelligence. This problem raises a question about what we need in a naturalistic basis for an account of the mental. Secondly, I think that the authors’ objections to cognitive science’s supposed notion of a mental representation in fact attack a philosophers’ invention, one that sprung into vibrant being in the mid-1970’s. It is not employed in cognitive neuroscience to any significant extent and it isn’t needed by other disciplines involved in cognitive science. Finally, I worry that the account of the origin of content – namely, explanatory narrative - presents us with a too limited view of human discourse, particularly as it is needed for a social theory of mind



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