Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Mentalese: Mentalese is a language of which is assumed that it is used for information processing in the brain. It is supposed to differ from the everyday language, which would require a twofold translation. Critics argue that this makes the explanations simply complicated, or the brain requires a higher work performance than necessary. The homunculus argument has become known against the language of thought. J. Fodor Signal language of the brain for internal processing - H. PutnamVs Mentalese explains nothing, shifts the problem. R. SearleVs

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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Stephen Schiffer

I 73
Meaning in Mentalese determines meaning in public language, not vice versa - (on the content of thoughts) - Fodor: we must see intentional properties of mental states as inherited from the semantic properties of the mental representations, which are implied in their tokening - neural state: also exists if false - no object, since with truth value.
Schiffer: is still no system, not yet like a language. - Harman: Thesis: inner representations have sentence-like structure. - Lewis: Language of the brain of synaptic connections and neuronal fires -> SLT (strong thesis of a language of thought) - other thesis: semantic properties are inherited from intentional properties. - (VsStrong thesis of a language of thought) - Strong thesis of a language of thought Vs: short/(s): mental representation determines intentionality - this can be explained without public content. - SchifferVs: that cannot be fulfilled.
I 76
Mentalese/Relation Theory/Schiffer: which relation of sentences is there in Mentalese to sentences in English? - Problem: Mental sentence "s" cannot be specified by meaning in English (circular) - also Vs core thesis of the strong thesis of a language of thought (semantic properties of the public language are inherited from intentional properties of mental states).
I 282
Mentalese/Schiffer: meaning is here not a question of convention and intention - unlike public language - solution/some authors: conceptual role (c.r.) in Mentalese - public language: here sentences have a conceptual role only if they are also thought, not only spoken - problem: we need a non-semantic relation between mental representation and public sentences - fortunately the inner code needs not to be mentioned here - e.g. "state with the same content".
- Problem: Speaker could believe sentence only under additional assumptions - this only with reference to content - that does not work in a strong thesis of a language of thought. - Conclusion: a neural sentence cannot be accepted without reference to the content as an object of belief.
I 78
Mentalese/Schiffer: Relation theory requires complex properties, F which has everything; "flounders snore". - Problem: must not presuppose anything about the intentional properties of mental states or meaning in public language.
Mentalese/Relation theory/belief/Fodor/Schiffer: for the attribution of truth values from situations to sentences. - For this purpose, properties are used at the end of the causal chain - problem: quantification via properties as semantic values ultimately goes via propositions - solution: SLT (strong thesis of a language of thought) can use propositions together with conceptual roles for the individuation of content - truth values by M-function to possible situations - additional physical condition C
- Problem: needs the theory of representation - (in which mental representation is only a special case). - truth conditions: formula: a is the truth condition for s in x' inner code if under optimal conditions x s believes if and only if a exists - so we can identify a pattern of neuronal firing with the display of a fly for a frog. - Problem: only under optimal conditions - SchifferVsFodor: then everyone is omniscient and infallible.
I 87
Mentalese/Charity Principle/ch.p./Schiffer: the charity principle is not for mentalism - this would have to be explained in terms of propositions.
I 83-90
Relation theory/Mentalese/Schiffer: Problem: competing attribution functions for truth conditions ("M functions") - wrong solution: "larger survival value" does not exclude wrong attribution functions - e.g. weight/mass.
L 189
SLT/strong thesis of a language of thought/Mentalese/Schiffer: thesis 1. the brain is a computer, we are information-processing systems with an inner neural code. - Schiffer: I can agree with that. - 2. there is a computational relation R for every belief that one can have, so that one has this belief iff one has R for this formula. - Schiffer: that works, but only with substitutional quantification - E.g. "Nodnol si yggof": Mentalese for London is foggy.
- then the sentence means that, but is not compositional - N.B.: then the content of belief cannot be reduced - (SchifferVsReductionism - ((s) mental content is irreducible (Schiffer pro Brentano) - E.g. knowledge-how cannot be analyzed in other terms - there is no fact that makes that something is this faith - + +

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Schi I
St. Schiffer
Remnants of Meaning Cambridge 1987

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-04-25