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Mental Representation: A Reader [Paperback]

Stephen P. Stich , Ted A. Warfield


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Book Description

July 19 1994
This volume is a collection of new and previously published essays focusing on one of the most exciting and actively discussed topics in contemporary philosophy: naturalistic theories of mental content. The volume brings together important papers written by some of the most distinguished theorists working in the field today. Authors contributing to the volume include Jerry Fodor, Rugh Millikan, Fred Dretske, Ned Block, Robert Cummins, and Daniel Dennett.

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From the Back Cover

This volume is a collection of both new and previously published essays focusing on one of the most exciting and actively discussed topics in contemporary philosophy: naturalistic theories of mental content. The volume brings together important papers written by some of the most distinguished theorists working in the field today. Authors contributing to the volume include Jerry Fodor, Ruth Millikan, Fred Dretske, Ned Block, Robert Cummins, and Daniel Dennett.

One special feature of the volume is its format. Following the editors' introduction and several essays surveying the field are important articles offering theories of mental content. Following each of these articles is a critical discussion of the theory presented. Critical commentators for the volume include Terrance Hogan, Barry Loewer and Lynne Rudder Baker.

The volume is intended for use in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in the philosophy of psychology. It will also be of use to professional philosophers and cognitive scientists.

About the Author

Stephen P. Stich is Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University. He is author of From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science and The Fragmentation of Reason.

Ted A. Warfield is currently a PhD candidate in the department of philosophy at Rutgers University where he holds a University Excellence Fellowship. He is the author of a number of articles on various topics in the philosophy of mind and epistemology.


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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great group of essays April 21 2006
By B. L. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are looking for a broad and in-depth exposure to theories of mental representation, Stich and Warfield's book is the one for you. It is comprised of three parts. In part I, the editors offer a short introduction to the Representational Theory of Mind along with several constraints any theory of mental representation must meet in order to be taken seriously. They are smart to avoid a lengthy introduction, which allows the reader to immediately delve into Jerry Fodor's elegant taxonomy of the theoretical landscape, which he wittingly names, "Fodor's Guide to Mental Representation: The Intelligent Auntie's Vade-Mecum". In case you're wondering (like I was), "vade-mecum" is latin for "go with me". Hartry Field's "Mental Representation" is a good introduction as well, but after reading Fodor, Field might make one want to take a doze. Part II is the body of the book and presents the theories of mental representation. The first theory--Conceptual Role Semantics--comes to us by virtue of one of the most influential papers in philosophy mind: Ned Block's "Advertisement for a Semantics of Psychology". Anyone who is even a little interested in the mind must read Block's paper, which arguably presents the best formulation of Conceptual Role Semantics to date. Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore, long known for their beef with Conceptual Role Semantics among other things, raise objections to the theory in "Why Meaning (Probably) Isn't Conceptual Role". Decide for yourself if their objections are adequate. Up next is a pair of essays on "information based semantics", one by Fred Dretske and the other by Barry Loewer. Jerry Fodor's theory of asymmetric dependence comes next followed by Ruth Millikan's "Biosemantics". The final two theories examined are Robert Cummins' interpretational semantics and Daniel Dennett's "intentional stance". In Part III Stich ends the book with a preview of things to come titled, "What is a Theory of Mental Representation?" In sum, Mental Representation is an excellent compilation of essays for anyone who wants well-rounded knowledge of the various theories out there, or for anyone who is looking for detailed arguments for one particular theory. Keep in mind that Mental Representation is not an introductory text. The reader will get more out of the book if she reads an introduction to cognitive science text either first or in tandem with the essays.

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