Philospot

If the wreckage of the weekend has taught me anything, it is that I should have been a little less worried about Jerry Fodor, and a little more worried about a certain Marc Lievremont - clearly a genius of a coach, who had hitherto been masquerading as a donkey. What a performance from the French team! They dominated the collisions, and made a highly regarded Welsh pack look passive and supine. I salute you, M. Lievremont.

Fodor's second objection to the extended mind thesis (henceforth EMT) is somewhat less convincing than the French pack. We can call it the intentionality objection: external items do not possess non-derived intentionality. Thus, the sentences in Otto's notebook are not mental items because while being about something (e.g. the location of the Museum of Modern Art), this aboutness or intentionality is merely derived from Otto's inner mental states. My Cartesian friends,  Fred (Adams) and Ken (Aizawa), have been banging on about this for a number of years.

I'm not convinced by the objection. But what it does do, I think, is highlight the importance of the difference between the structre and process interpretations of EMT introduced in a previous post (Fodor v Clark, part deux). If you think that EMT is committed to the claim that the sentences in Otto's notebooks are identical with Otto's beliefs, then of course you are going to face a problem of original intentionality. But if you think - as the process interpretation claims - that what the Otto case shows is that cognitive processes can be hybrid processes that straddle both internal and external operations, and where the former is a non-eliminable component of the overall process, then any cognitive process will have as much original intentionality as anyone could ever require. While the sentences in his book do not possess original intentionality, Otto's perceptions of these sentences and beliefs formed on the basis of these perrceptions cerrtainly do. And according to the process interpretation, the overall process of believing is one that straddles all these things.

Tomorrow (or maybe the next day): how Fodor should respond to this response ... 



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