The Genealogy of Content or the Future of an Illusion


Eliminativism about intentional content argues for its conclusion from the partial correctness of all three of the theses Hutto and Satne seek to combine: neo-Cartesianism is correct to this extent: if there is intentional content it must originally be mental. Neo-Behaviorism is correct to this extent: attribution of intentional content is basically a heuristic device for predicting the behavior of higher vertebrates. Neo-Pragmatism is right to this extent: the illusion of intentionality in language is the source of the illusion of intentionality in thought. Eliminativists employ the insights of all three “neo”-theses to explain why there is no such thing and why the systematic illusion that there is intentional content runs so deep.

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    Though which playing field may seem in doubt since HS mix baseball metaphors with cricket jargon—“pitch” instead of “field,” “get their innings” instead of their “times at bat,” “third basers,” instead of “third basemen.” Shades of “silly mid-off.”

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    Which after all is just a matter of more tokens succeeding each other, this time phenomenal ones, some in a syntactic order, others not, but none having any intrinsic aboutness about them.


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Correspondence to Alex Rosenberg.

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Rosenberg, A. The Genealogy of Content or the Future of an Illusion. Philosophia 43, 537–547 (2015).

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  • Intentionality
  • Teleosemantics
  • Naturalization
  • Interpretation