Functions and Mental Content: The Story of Randoman

Functions and Mental Content: The Story of Randoman

New Version: 10/01/2013

Abstract Teleological theories of mental content unpack the normativity in the relation of representation by appealing to the teleological function of the representing state—or appropriately related ones. It has been argued that, if intentionality is to be explained in teleological terms, then the teleological function of a state cannot depend on its phylogenetical history, given the metaphysical possibility of a duplicate of an intentional being lacking an evolutionary history (Swampman). Defenders of teleosemantics have tried, in reply, to dismiss our intuitions about these hypothetical cases. In this paper I present a method to produce, according to our current knowledge in genetic engineering, human-like individuals who are not the product of natural selection and evaluate the replies that have been offered in the literature to Swampman’s case in the light of this new case. I argue that they are not satisfactory; representation should better not depend on natural selection.

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