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Can mental representations be triggering causes?

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Abstract:

Fred Dretske’s (1988) account of the causal role of intentional mental states was widely criticized for missing the target: he explained why a type of intentional state causes the type of bodily motion it does rather than some other type, when what we wanted was an account of how the intentional properties of these states play a causal role in each singular causal relation with a token bodily motion. I argue that the non-reductive metaphysics that Dretske defends for his account of behavior can be extended to the case of intentional states, and that this extension provides a way to show how intentional properties can play the causal role that we wanted explained.

Keywords: behavior; content; intentional state; mental representation; non-reductive process

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ce.4.1.04fig

Affiliations: Rutgers University Newark

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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