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Aliens, dreams and strange machines: an investigation into thought, interpretation and rationality

Cameron, Christina
Fonte: University of Cambridge; Faculty of Philosophy Publicador: University of Cambridge; Faculty of Philosophy
Tipo: Thesis; doctoral; PhD
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Interpretationism about the mind claims that we can gain a philosophical understanding of the nature of thought by considering how we interpret the thoughts of others. My thesis aims to develop a version of this theory which is plausible in the sense that: (1) it has the potential to retain certain advantages attaching to theories of mind which focus on the behaviour, rather than the internal make-up of candidate thinkers; (2) it can fend off certain apparent counterexamples. The thesis is split into four parts. Part I explains why one might want to answer ?No? to the question ?Are there particular sorts of internal organisation which a being must have in order to count as a thinker?? It then introduces interpretationism as a position which will allow us to answer ?No? to this question. My version of interpretationism claims that a being has a thought iff it is interpretable as having that thought, and that all thinkers are rational. Both claims face several apparently obvious counter-examples. Parts II and III address these counterexamples by developing the crucial notions of interpretability and rationality. Part II starts by considering the problem of seemingly hidden thoughts which occur during dreams, and uses this to develop an account according to which a subject is interpretable as having a thought if either a) there is sufficient evidence concerning the thought in the subject?s actual situation and actions...