(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
The ultimate collection of Lewis' papers.
In "An argument for the identity theory" Lewis argues that a mental state can be defined by a physical state, which is not necessarily the same for all species, and by a "causal role", that expresses behavior that such a state induces in the organism.
In "Radical interpretation" he contends that intentional ascription (the task of redescribing the information of an individual in intentional terms) is a kind of constraint-satisfaction problem: the correct intentional ascription is the one that provides a best fit to the demands that the constraints impose. The problem of radical interpretation is tackled by identifying four parts: the intentional system (e.g., a person); the system's attitudes (beliefs and desires) as expressed in the observer's language; the system's attitudes (beliefs and desires) as expressed in the system's own language; and the system's meanings.
The constraints are derived from six principles: the principle of charity constrains the relation between a system and its beliefs expressed in the observer's language (the system's beliefs are somehow constrained by the observer's beliefs); the rationalization principle constrains the relation between the beliefs expressed in the observer's language and the system (the system is a rational agent, his beliefs being what make sense for its behavior); the principle of truthfulness constrains the relation between the observer's beliefs and the system's meanings; the principle of generativity constrains the meaning in that it should assign truth conditions to the system's sentences in a reasonable way; the manifestation principle constrains the relation between the system and its beliefs (they must be consistent with its speech behavior); and the triangle principle constrains the relation between the system's meaning, its beliefs and the observer's beliefs.
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