PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Reading Group

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Room 1.20, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD
Event type: 
Reading Groups

Prof Robert Rupert (University of Colorado, Boulder) on "The Primacy of Subpersonal Content".

Abstract: In this talk, I argue that so-called subpersonal content is the primary form of mental content, by arguing that it is only kind of content that has a causal-explanatory role to play in cognitive science. I do this by arguing that (a) many explanatory claims invoking subpersonal content have the right sort of modal profiles (the right sort of counterfactuals are true) and that (b) in contrast, when we focus on the distinctive aspects of supposed personal-level content (its robustly normative nature, for example), we see that explanatory claims invoking personal-level content do not have such a modal profile. If there is personal-level content, it derives from or depends upon a more fundamental kind of content, subpersonal content, not vice versa (as has often been claimed). Thus, given a relatively uncontroversial principle of primacy, subpersonal content is the primary form of mental content.