William Child

in Causality, Interpretation, and the Mind

Published in print January 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236252
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597206 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs


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Interpretation is the process of ascribing propositional attitudes to an individual on the basis of what she says and does. Interpretationism is the view (exemplified in the writings of Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett) that we can gain an understanding of the nature of the mental by reflecting on the nature of interpretation. The chapter examines the arguments for and against holding (1) that the interpretation of propositional attitudes is inseparable from the interpretation of language, (2) that being interpretable as possessing a given attitude is a necessary condition for possessing it, and (3) that being interpretable as possessing an attitude is sufficient for possessing it. And it discusses whether interpretationists should claim that being interpretable as having thoughts is actually constitutive of having thoughts.

Keywords: Davidson; Dennett; interpretation; interpretationism; propositional attitudes

Chapter.  20885 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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