The Measure of Mind: Propositional Attitudes and their Attribution

Paperback | May 1, 2010

byRobert J. Matthews

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The Measure of Mind provides a sustained critique of a widely held representationalist view of propositional attitudes and their role in the production of thought and behaviour. On this view, having a propositional attitude is a matter of having an explicit representation that plays aparticular causal/computational role in the production of thought and behaviour. Robert J. Matthews argues that this view does not enjoy the theoretical or the empirical support that proponents claim for it; moreover, it misconstrues the role of propositional attitude attributions in cognitivescientific theorizing. He then goes on to develop an alternative measurement-theoretic account of propositional attitudes and the sentences by which we attribute them. On this account, the sentences by which we attribute propositional attitudes function semantically like the sentences by which weattribute a quantity of some physical magnitude (e.g., having a mass of 80 kilos). That is, in much the same way that we specify a quantity of some physical magnitude by means of its numerical representative on a measurement scale, we specify propositional attitudes by means of their representativesin a linguistically-defined measurement space. Matthews argues that, unlike the representationalist view, his account of propositional attitudes draws a clear distinction between propositional attitudes and our natural language representations of them, and does not presume that salient properties of the latter can simply be read back onto theformer. On his view, propositional attitudes turn out to be causally efficacious aptitudes for thought and behaviour, and not mental entities of some sort. In defending this approach, Matthews provides a plausible account both of the standard philosophical puzzles about propositional attitudes, andof the role of propositional attitude attributions in cognitive scientific theorizing.

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The Measure of Mind provides a sustained critique of a widely held representationalist view of propositional attitudes and their role in the production of thought and behaviour. On this view, having a propositional attitude is a matter of having an explicit representation that plays aparticular causal/computational role in the producti...

Robert Matthews is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pagesPublished:May 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199585539

ISBN - 13:9780199585533

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Table of Contents

Preface/Acknowledgments1. A Prospective IntroductionPart One: The Received View and Its Troubles2. The Received View3. Troubles with the Received View4. Are Propositional Attitudes Relations?Part Two: A Measurement-Theoretic Account of Propositional Attitudes and Their Attribution5. Foundations of a Measurement-Theoretic Account of Propositional Attitudes6. The Basic Measurement-Theoretic Account7. Elaboration and Explication of the Proposed Measurement-Theoretic AccountReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "This fascinating book is about propositional attitudes. In it, Robert Matthews pursues, with great rigour and tenacity, the question of how we should understand our practice of attributing propositional attitudes and, in particular, the specific question of howsubjects must be built (given the best available accounts of the building materials) if they are to serve as proper targets for that practice. . . . Matthews provides the sharpest and most developed account that I have come across of how the measurement theoretic approach should be developed." --Guy Longworth, Mind