In natural kind debates, Boyd's famous Homeostatic Property Cluster theory (HPC) is often misconstrued in two ways: Not only is it thought to make for a normative standard for natural kinds, but also to require the homeostatic mechanisms underlying nomological property clusters to be uniform. My argument for the illegitimacy of both overgeneralizations, both on systematic as well as exegetical grounds, is based on the misconstrued view's failure to account for functional kinds in science. I illustrate the combination of these (...) two misconstruals with recent entries into the natural kind debate about emotions. Finally, I examine and reject Stich's "Kornblith-Devitt method" as a potential justification of these misconstruals. (shrink)
Can scientific evidence prompt us to revise philosophical theories or folk theoretical accounts of phenomena of the mind? We will argue that it can—but only under the condition that they make a so-called ‘ontological commitment’ to something that is actually subject to empirical inquiry. In other words, scientific evidence pertaining to neuroanatomical structure or causal processes only has a refuting effect if philosophical theories and folk notions subscribe to either account. We will illustrate the importance of ‘ontological commitment’ with the (...) ‘neuroanatomical approach’ to amusement as proposed in a recent paper by Palencik :419–434, 2007). We will show that the scientific evidence presented in said neuroanatomical approach has no bearing on the conceptual issues, in that the philosophical theories and folk distinction that are criticized do not subscribe to any account of the underlying neuroanatomical structure or causal processes. Our suggestions in this paper are not limited to philosophical accounts of humor but apply to the relationship of philosophy, common sense and science in general. (shrink)
According to a classic position in analytic philosophy of mind, we must interpret agents as largely rational in order to be able to attribute intentional mental states to them. However, adopting this position requires clarifying in what way and by which criteria agents can still be irrational. In this paper I will offer one such criterion. More specifically, I argue that the kind of rationality methodologically required by intentional interpretation is to be specified in terms of psychological efficacy. Thereby, this (...) notion can be distinguished from a more commonly used notion of rationality and hence cannot be shown to be undermined by the potential prevalence of a corresponding kind of irrationality. (shrink)
Intentional Mentalism is the view that mental intentionality is primary to non-mental intentionality and that the latter is derived from the former. In this article I examine three views which have been taken to motivate Intentional Mentalism: conventionalism as invoked by Searle, Gricean pragmatism, and the language of thought hypothesis. I argue that none of these views motivates Intentional Mentalism, and that, in fact, the former two imply its rejection.