Institut Jean Nicod

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Åsa Wikforss (Stockholms universitet)

Vendredi 9 février 2018 de 11h30 à 13h

"Cognitive Perspective and the Transparency of Mental Content"


In the talk I examine the transparency of content thesis: The thesis that subjects can tell a priori, on the basis of introspection, whether two thoughts or thought constituents have the same content. It is widely agreed that transparency is a significant thesis, both by proponents and opponents of the thesis. Proponents claim that the thesis is presupposed if content is to play a role in assessments of rationality and the explanation of action, along the lines suggested by Frege, while opponents suggest that rejecting transparency undermines the need for Fregean contents.  I argue that transparency is less significant than is assumed, and that the real controversy turns not on transparency but on whether it is essential that content serves to capture the subject’s cognitive perspective, her reasoning and actions. I suggest that there is a connection here with the debate over incomplete understanding. Both debates illustrate the fundamental tension between the idea that content plays an explanatory role and broadly externalist accounts of content.