Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Ratio: Vol. 16, No. 2, June 2003

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Ratio: Vol. 16, No. 2, June 2003

Article excerpt

Is Representation Rife? DAVID PAPINEAU

This paper applies a teleosemantic perspective to the question of whether there is genuine representation outside the familiar realm of belief-desire psychology. The author first explains how teleosemantics accounts for the representational powers of beliefs and desires themselves. He then asks whether biological states which are simpler than beliefs and desires can also have representational powers. His conclusion is that such biologically simple states can be ascribed representational contents, but only in a system-relative way: such states must be ascribed varying contents when viewed as components in different biological systems. He concludes by arguing that the genetic code does not even embody this kind of system-relative representation.

'(I Am) Thinking', JOHN HALDANE

The activity of thought is deeply perplexing. Anyone resistant to its consignment to the domain of subpersonal psychology, or to quasi-behaviouristic elimination, needs to address such matters as why it is that thinking seems to elude capture in consciousness, and what the nature of serf-ascription may be. This paper takes up from an earlier discussion by Claudio Costa ("I'm Thinking," Ratio [2001]) and argues that his account of thinking is flawed. It also argues, in opposition to Costa, that self-reflexivity is real and is required to account for the ownership of thoughts. Finally, it identifies an argument from self-awareness to the conclusion that the subject of thought is not a material object.

Substantial Change and Spatiotemporal Coincidence, E. J. LOWE

Substantial change occurs when a persisting object of some kind either begins or ceases to exist. Typically, this happens when one or more persisting objects of another kind or kinds are subjected to appropriate varieties of qualitative or relational change, as when the particles composing a lump of bronze are rearranged so as to create a statue. However, such transformations also seem to result, very often, in cases of spatiotemporal coincidence, in which two numerically distinct objects of different kinds exist in exactly the same place at the same time, such as a statue and a lump of bronze. …

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