The World in the Head

ISBN : 9780199548033

Robert Cummins
344 ページ
162 x 241 mm

The World in the Head collects the best of Robert Cummins' papers on mental representation and psychological explanation. Running through these papers are a pair of themes: that explaining the mind requires functional analysis, not subsumption under "psychological laws", and that the propositional attitudes-belief, desire, intention-and their interactions, while real, are not the key to understanding the mind at a fundamental level. Taking these ideas seriously puts considerable strain on standard conceptions of rationality and reasoning, on truth-conditional semantics, and on our interpretation of experimental evidence concerning cognitive development, learning and the evolution of mental traits and processes. The temptation to read the structure of mental states and their interactions off the structure of human language is powerful and seductive, but has created a widening gap between what most philosophers and social scientists take for granted about the mind, and the framework we need to make sense what an accelerating biology and neuroscience are telling us about brains. The challenge for the philosophy of mind is to devise a framework that accommodates these developments. This is the underlying motivation for the papers in this collection.


1. What it is like to be a computer
2. The LOT of the causal theory of mental content
3. Systematicity
4. Systematicity and the cognition of the structured domains with Jim Blackmon, David Byrd, Pierre Poirier, Martin Roth, and Georg Schwarz
5. Methodological reflections on belief
6. Inexplicit information
7. Representation and indication with Pierre Poirier
8. Representation and unexploited content with Jim Blackmon, David Byrd, Alexa Lee, and Martin Roth
9. Haugeland on representation and intentionality
10. Truth and meaning
11. Meaning and content in cognitive science with Martin Roth
12. Representational specialization: the synthetic a priori revisited
13. Biological preparedness and evolutionary explanation with Denise Dellarosa Cummins
14. Cognitive evolutionary psychology without representational nativism
15. Connectionism and the rationale constraint on cognitive explanation
16. 'How does it work?' vs. 'What are the laws?': Two conceptions of psychological explanation


Robert Cummins is Professor and Chair in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.