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Picture of Explaining the Mental

Explaining the Mental

Naturalist and Non-Naturalist Approaches to Mental Acts and Processes

Editor(s): Michael Beaney, Carlo Penco
Contributors: Mario De Caro, Andrew Woolfield, Wolfgang Künne, Pascal Engel, Jennifer Hornsby, Wolfgang Kuenne, Marcello Frixione,

Book Description

The aim of this collection of papers is to present different philosophical perspectives on the mental, exploring questions about how to define, explain and understand the various kinds of mental acts and processes, and exhibiting, in particular, the contrast between naturalistic and non-naturalistic approaches.
There is a long tradition in philosophy of clarifying concepts such as those of thinking, knowing and believing. The task of clarifying these concepts has become ever more important with the major developments that have taken place over the last century in the human and cognitive sciences - most notably, psychology, sociology, linguistics, neurophysiology, AI, and cognitive science itself. In all these sciences, there is a need to delineate the domain of the mental and to elucidate the key concepts and underlying assumptions. This need is widely recognized, but approaches and answers vary significantly. Some stress the representational features involved in most of our mental processes, others the inferential dimension; some stress the necessity of using empirical data, others the need to refine ideas before pursuing and drawing on empirical research.
The papers collected in this volume are grouped into four parts, on language and thought, on knowledge, belief and action, on intentionality, and on naturalism. The volume will be welcomed by all those engaged and interested in debates about the mental in philosophy and the human and cognitive sciences.

Table of Contents


Andrew Woodfield, Public Words Considered as Vehicles of Thinking
Andrea Bianchi, Speaking and Thinking (Or: A More Kaplanian Way
to a Unified Account of Language and Thought)
Stefano Predelli, The Strange Case of the Missing Constituent


Pascal Engel, Taking Seriously Knowledge as a Mental State
Carlo Gabbani, Epistemology and the Eliminative Stance
Jennifer Hornsby, Knowledge, Belief and Reasons for Acting
Wolfgang Künne, Some Varieties of Deception


Sandro Nannini, Intentionality Naturalised
Elisabetta Sacchi, Thought and Thinking: the Ontological Ground of
Elisabeth Pacherie, Is Collective Intentionality Really Primitive?


Marcello Frixione, Do Concepts exist? A Naturalistic Point of View
Tim Crane, Cosmic Hermeneutics vs. Emergence: the Challenge
of the Explanatory Gap
Achim Stephan and Robert C. Richardson, What Physicalism Should
Provide Us With
Mario De Caro, The Claims of Naturalism


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8297-5
ISBN-10: 1-84718-297-6
Date of Publication: 01/10/2007
Pages / Size: 266 / A5
Price: £39.99


Michael Beaney is Reader in Philosophy at the University of York. He was educated at Oxford, where he took his BA, BPhil and DPhil. Previous posts include a Senior Lectureship at the Open University, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowships at the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg and Jena, and lectureships at the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, London (Birkbeck College) and Sheffield. He is author of Frege: Making Sense (Duckworth, 1996) and Imagination and Creativity (Open University, 2005), editor of The Frege Reader (Blackwell, 1997) and The Analytic Turn: Analysis in Early Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology (Routledge, 2007), co-editor (with Erich Reck) of Gottlob Frege: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers (4 volumes, Routledge, 2005), and has also published a number of papers on analysis and the history of analytic philosophy.

Carlo Penco teaches Philosophy of Language at the University of Genoa. After taking his University Degrees at the University of Genoa, he studied with Michael Dummett at Oxford, taught Philosophy of Science at the University of Lecce, and was a fellow at the Pittsburgh center for the Philosophy of Science. He has given talks at Columbia, London (King's College), Reykjavik, Heidelberg, Barcelona, and elsewhere. He is author of a book on Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics (1981), a book on Frege (1994), and an introduction to the philosophy of language (2004). He has edited Italian translations of Austin, Dummett and Frege, a collection of readings in the philosophy of language with translations of classic works of analytic philosophy (2001), and a volume of papers on the topic of context (2002). He has published in History and Philosophy of Logic, Review of Modern Logic, Pragmatics and Cognition, and Topoi.

Massimiliano Vignolo teaches Theory of Communication at the University of Genoa. After taking his DES (Diplome d'Etudes Superieures) at the University of Geneve with Kevin Mulligan, and his PhD at the University of Eastern Piedmont (at Vercelli) with Diego Marconi, he studied with John Perry at the University of Stanford. He has published a book on propositional attitudes after Frege and Russell (2001) and various papers in journals including Abstracta, Disputatio, European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, and Philosophical Investigations.