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Content Pragmatism Defended

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalTopoi-An International Review Of Philosophy
Early online date23 Nov 2017
Accepted/In press6 Jul 2017
E-pub ahead of print23 Nov 2017


King's Authors


In the literature on the nature and role of cognitive representation, three positions are taken to exhaust the conceptual landscape: robust realism, primitivism, and eliminativism. Recently, a fourth alternative that tries to avoid the shortcomings of traditional views has been proposed: content pragmatism. My aim is to defend pragmatism about content against some recent objections moved against the view. According to these objections: a) content pragmatism fails to capture the role played by representation in the cognitive sciences; and/or b) is an unstable view that ends up collapsing into one of the traditional alternatives. I argue that those arguments fail. I show that content pragmatism has as much claim to descriptive adequacy as the traditional theories. Moreover, I defend the robustness of the view by arguing that it does not collapse into any of the traditional positions. Content pragmatism therefore offers a valid and coherent account of the nature of representational content.

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