Baker, Lynne Rudder. On a causal theory of content
1989, Philosophical Perspectives 3:165-186.
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt
Abstract: The project of explaining intentional phenomena in terms of nonintentional phenomena has become a central task in the philosophy of mind.' Since intentional phenomena like believing, desiring, intending have content essentially, the project is one of showing how semantic properties like content can be reconciled with nonsemantic properties like cause. As Jerry A. Fodor put it, The worry about representation is above all that the semantic (and/or the intentional) will prove permanently recalcitrant to integration in the natural order; for example that the semantic/intentional properties of things will fail to supervene upon their physical properties.
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Comment: This paper provides a clear reconstruction and evaluation of Jerry Fodor's causal theory of content. It is helpful as primary and further reading in an undergraduate philosophy of mind course to discuss the problem of the naturalization of content.