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Title: 'To err is human' : a discussion of intentionality, error and misrepresentation
Author: Arfani, Argiri E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 8613
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2003
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The central aim of this thesis is to argue that having a genuine capacity 10 err is the criteria) feature that explains what it is for a system to bear a contentful and thus meaningful relation to the world. To defend this claim, my analysis is organized into three main parts. The first two chapters are devoted to an analytic presentation of the problem of meaningfulness and the problem of error. I begin by defining meaningfUlness as a system's ability to experience the world in an objective way. My use of the tenn 'objectivity' is based on Sttawson's views of objectivity and in particular, the notion ofa system having a point of view. In the second chapter, I give an account of genuine error based on the following idea: genuine error can be attributed only to a creature, which, on the one hand, has some form of understanding of being in error and on the other hand. can be held responsible (accountable) for that mistake. In the second and lengthier part of the thesis, the naturalistic theories of meaning, commonly known as naturalistic theories of intentionality, are critically approached. In particular. I offer critical accounts of Fodor's Causal Theory o/Content, Millikan's Teleofimctional Approach and Dretske's Informational Account. I have singled out those three theories based on their particular solutions to the problem of misrepresentation. Despite their originality, these solutions, fail to naturalize error. Consequently. they filil to account for the semantic properties of content. The main reason that current naturalistic theories of intentionality do not have any chance of successfully naturalising misrepresentation is that intentional systems cannot misrepresent the state of their environment just by being intentional. In other words, error is not a necessary condition of intentionality, whereas error is a necesstlry condition of meaningfulness. Finally, in the last chapter. I attempt to establish the strong dependency between meaning and error by showing how a system's genuine ability to err explains what it is for a system to have an objective point of view; that is, to have some form of awareness of the metaphysical distance between its experience and what is an experience of
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Naturalism