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Swampman, Teleosemantics and Kind Essences

Papineau, David (2022) Swampman, Teleosemantics and Kind Essences. [Preprint]

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Abstract

One powerful and influential approach to mental representation analyses representation in terms of biological functions, and biological functions in terms of histories of natural selection. This “teleosemantic” package, however, faces a familiar challenge. Surely representation depends only on the present-day structures of cognitive systems, and not on their historical provenance. “Swampman” drives the point home. Suppose a bolt of lightning creates an intrinsic duplicate of a human being in a steamy tropic swamp; will not this creature be representing its surroundings, despite its lack of any selectional history? In this paper I shall answer this challenge by showing how a proper appreciation of the structure of natural kinds in general, and of mental representation in particular, implies that selectional histories are indeed built into the nature of mental representation. In particular, I shall address a recent argument by Peter Schulte against this general line of argument.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Papineau, Daviddavid.papineau@kcl.ac.uk0000-0002-4345-4905
Additional Information: To be published in Synthese
Keywords: Representation, teleosemantics, swampman, natural kinds, essences
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Depositing User: David Papineau
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2022 15:57
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2022 15:57
Item ID: 21358
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Date: November 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21358

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