The presence of mind

D. Hutto

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Is our daily account of ourselves justified by a new science? Or, will our self-understanding be unaffected? This text argues that beliefs and desires have a rightful place in the explanation of action. Eliminativist arguments wrongly concentrate on the channels of content rather than content itself. This text discusses whether a naturalistic theory of content is possible. It is argued that a modest biosemantic theory of intentional, but nonconceptual, content is the naturalist’s best action. This theory supplements connectionism and recent work on embodied and embedded cognition. But intentional content is not the same as propositional content. So that we can understand propositional content we must rely on Davidsonian radical interpretation. Nonetheless, radical interpretation is shown to be at odds with physicalism. But if the best naturalised theory of content we are likely to get from cognitive science is only a theory of intentional content, then a naturalistic explanation of scientific theorising is not achievable. The text concludes that cognitive science alone cannot explain the nature of our minds and that eliminativism is intellectually incoherent.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages252
ISBN (Print)978-1556194337
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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