Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Intentionality

Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Intentionality We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitive neuroscience and argue that cognitive neuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of information and biological function. We echo several other philosophers by arguing that these theories over-generalize unless they are constrained by a theory of the functional role of representational vehicles. This leads to a discussion of the functional roles of representations, and how representations might be realized in the brain. We argue that there’s work to be done to identify a distinctively mental kind of representation. We close by sketching a way forward for the project of naturalizing intentionality. This will not be achieved simply by ascribing the content of mental states to generic neural representations, but by identifying specific neural representations that explain the puzzling intentional properties of mental states. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Minds and Machines Springer Journals

Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Intentionality

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Computer Science; Artificial Intelligence (incl. Robotics); Philosophy of Mind; Game Theory, Economics, Social and Behav. Sciences; Cognitive Psychology; Philosophy of Science; Theory of Computation
ISSN
0924-6495
eISSN
1572-8641
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11023-017-9437-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We situate the debate on intentionality within the rise of cognitive neuroscience and argue that cognitive neuroscience can explain intentionality. We discuss the explanatory significance of ascribing intentionality to representations. At first, we focus on views that attempt to render such ascriptions naturalistic by construing them in a deflationary or merely pragmatic way. We then contrast these views with staunchly realist views that attempt to naturalize intentionality by developing theories of content for representations in terms of information and biological function. We echo several other philosophers by arguing that these theories over-generalize unless they are constrained by a theory of the functional role of representational vehicles. This leads to a discussion of the functional roles of representations, and how representations might be realized in the brain. We argue that there’s work to be done to identify a distinctively mental kind of representation. We close by sketching a way forward for the project of naturalizing intentionality. This will not be achieved simply by ascribing the content of mental states to generic neural representations, but by identifying specific neural representations that explain the puzzling intentional properties of mental states.

Journal

Minds and MachinesSpringer Journals

Published: May 29, 2017

References

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