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Colin McGinn

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251584.001.0001

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Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections

Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections

(p.152) 7 Conceptual Causation: Some Elementary Reflections
Knowledge and Reality

Colin McGinn (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Building on the ‘weak externalist’ position suggested in ‘The Structure of Content’ and developed in Mental Content, McGinn considers the topic of conceptual causation: in particular, the intentionality involved in a concept bringing about a behavioural effect. McGinn's main thesis—that conceptual causation ‘involves’ intentionality in the sense that a ‘mental power comes harnessed to a worldly parameter’—relies heavily on a distinction between two features of causation: causal parameters (i.e. the context in which a causal event occurs: including the object, place, and time) and causal powers (i.e. the properties of the objects which ‘drive nature's motor’).

Keywords:   causal explanation, causation, concepts, content, externalism, Fodor, intentionality, narrow content, psychological explanation, Putnam, representation, Twin Earth, wide content

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