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The Plausibility of Teleological Content Ascriptions: A Reply to Pietroski

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Abstract: Paul Pietroski argues that evolutionary/teleological theories of content offer implausible content ascriptions in certain cases, and that this provides grounds for rejecting this class of theories. He uses a fictional example to illustrate. A close look at the example shows it fails to provoke the intuitions Pietroski is relying on - these require relatively sophisticated representers while his representers are simple, comparable to known actual organisms for which the required intuitions do not arise. Could Pietroski make his point with an amended example? I argue that the scenario required would be both evolutionarily unlikely, and such as to make intuitions unreliable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1997-12-01

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