NYU Mind & Language, 2021: Theories of Intentionality

Ned Block and David Chalmers


Some of the readings below are passworded.  The login and password will be given in class.  Links to slides will not work until the day after the class




2/2:     General Introduction

Robert Stalnaker, Inquiry, MIT Press, 1984, Chapter 1

Slides for this class

2/9:     Introduction to Causal/Teleological Approaches

Jerry Fodor, Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind (1987) pp. 97-111

Karen Neander Chapters 6 and 7  and notes, from A Mark of the Mental, MIT Press, 2017

Slides for this class


2/16:   Introduction to Interpretivism
Frank Ramsey, "Truth and Probability", Section 3

Robbie Williams, The Metaphysics of Representation, Chapter 1

Extra Reading:

David Lewis, "Radical Interpretation", Synthese, 1974

Edward Elliott, "Ramsey without Ethical Neutrality",

Slides for this class


2/23:   Nick Shea

Representation in Cognitive Science, Oxford University Press, 2018

Core reading: Chapter 5

Supplementary reading: Chapter 3, Summary at end

Slides for this class

3/2:     Robbie Williams
"Affect, Desire and Interpretation". 

Slides for this class



3/9:     Frances Egan

Primary reading: A Deflationary Account of Mental Representation, To appear in What are Mental Representations? Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega, Tobias Schlicht (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press.

"Mathematical Contents" section of this paper: The Nature and Function of Content in Computational Models, in The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind,  M. Sprevak and M. Colombo (eds.), Routledge (2018), 247-258. 

Slides for this class

3/16:   Adam Pautz

Consciousness Meets Lewisian Interpretation Theory: A Multistage Account of Intentionality.  In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind (forthcoming)

Some Notes on “Conscious Meets Lewisian Interpretation Theory” for M&L seminar students

Focus on Section 3
Slides for this class


3/23:    Verónica Gómez Sánchez
Nomic Locking:
A New Informational Theory of Content

Slides for this class


3/30:   Introduction to Phenomenal Intentionality


Imogen Dickie, "The Essential Connection between Epistemology and the Theory of Reference"

Terence Horgan and John Tienson, The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality

Slides for this class



4/6:     Imogen Dickie
Chapter 8 of Fixing Reference, OUP 2015: "Thought and Consciousness"

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4/13:   Angela Mendelovici
Selections from The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality

·      Chapter 1 up to and including 1.2

·      Chapter 2

·      Chapter 5 up to and including 5.2

Propositional Attitudes as Self-Ascriptions


Slides for this class



4/20 Introduction to Conceptual-role Semantics

Ned Block, "Semantics, Conceptual Role", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy   

Ned Block, "Holism, Mental and Semantic" , Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy 

These encyclopedia entries are very short

Ned Block, "Functional Role and Truth Conditions," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 61: 157-181, 1987 

Jerry Fodor, "Having Concepts; A Brief Refutation Of The 20th Century", Mind & Language 19, 1, 2004, p 29-47.



Gilbert Harman, (Non-solipsistic) Conceptual Role Semantics, In LePore, E., ed., New Directions in Semantics, pp. 55–81. Academic Press, London, 1987.

Julien Murzi, and Florian Steinberger. “Inferentialism.” In A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. 2d ed. Vol. 1. Edited by Bob Hale, Crispin Wright, and Alexander Miller, 197–224. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2017.

Slides for this class


4/27:   Christopher Peacocke

"What is involved in the primacy of metaphysics", Philosophical Studies, 2020.  In this article, only the reply to Horwich will be discussed.

Chapter 2 of Truly Understood, OUP 2008



Chapter 1 of A Study of Concepts, MIT Press, 1992

Chapter 1 of Truly Understood, OUP 2008

Possession Conditions: A Focal Point for Theories of Concepts, Mind & Language, 1989

Slides for this class

5/4:     David Chalmers

Inferentialism, Australian Style

Slides for this class




Disability Disclosure Statement: Academic accommodations are available for students with disabilities. The Moses Center website is www.nyu.edu/csd. Please contact the Moses Center for Student Accessibility (212-998-4980 or mosescsd@nyu.edu) for further information. Students who are requesting academic accommodations are advised to reach out to the Moses Center as early as possible in the semester for assistance.


Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, and Cheating (adapted from the website of the College of Arts & Science, https://cas.nyu.edu/content/nyu-as/cas/academic-integrity.html):
Academic integrity means that the work you submit is original. Obviously, bringing answers into an examination or copying all or part of a paper straight from a book, the Internet, or a fellow student is a violation of this principle. But there are other forms of cheating or plagiarizing which are just as serious — for example, presenting an oral report drawn without attribution from other sources (oral or written); writing a sentence or paragraph which, despite being in different words, expresses someone else’s idea(s) without a reference to the source of the idea(s); or submitting essentially the same paper in two different courses (unless both instructors have given their permission in advance). Receiving or giving help on a take-home paper, examination, or quiz is also cheating, unless expressly permitted by the instructor (as in collaborative projects).