Towards Explanation of the Natural Origins of Content

Author: Daniel Żuromski
Year of publication: 2016
Source: Show
Pages: 112-127
DOI Address:
PDF: kie/112/kie11209.pdf

How should we understand intentionality in the physical world? This question may be further divided into at least two other: How to understand intentional states in the physical world? (And if we refer to the entirety of such states as the mind then our question will take on the following form: How should we understand the mind in the physical world) and How to understand intentional content in the physical world? One of the most important projects in modern philosophy of mind and cognitive science consists in naturalisation of the content of mental states. The prevalent concept in the thus understood content naturalisation programme was the reductionist conception. In the article I present one of the proposals of content naturalisation by Daniel D. Hutto and Glenda Satne from the article The Natural Origins of Content. On the one hand, they reject the project of naturalising the content of mental states which is conceived as a reduction of semantic properties of contents of mental states solely to physical causative relations, properties or social mechanisms. On the other hand, Daniel D. Hutto and Glenda Satne present a research programme which does not seek a reductionist explanation of content but rather examines how the content emerged in the natural world – the natural origins of content. Although the authors describe the main framework of such a programme, they do not venture to answer the question whether such a theory even exists. In this article I am going to present the concept of Michael Tomaello most explicitly expressed in his Natural History of Human Thinking as a promising example of such a theory.


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naturalising content the Shared Intentionality Hypothesis the natural origins of content Michael Tomasello Ur-­intentionality Relaxed Naturalism

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