Restrictions on Representationalism

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Claremont McKenna College, Philosophy (CMC)

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Strong representationalism claims that the qualitative character of our phenomenal mental states consists in the intentional content of such states. Although strong representationalism has greatly increased in popularity over the last decade, I find the view deeply implausible. In this paper, I attempt to argue against strong representationalism by a two-step argument. First, I suggest that strong representationalism must be unrestricted in order to serve as an adequate theory of qualia, i.e., it must apply to all qualitative mental states. Second, I present considerations – deriving largely from nonperceptual states – to show that an unrestricted form of strong representationalism is problematic.

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© 2007 Springer