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Causal CognitionA Multidisciplinary Debate$
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Dan Sperber, David Premack, and Ann James Premack

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524021

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524021.001.0001

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The role of content in the explanation of behaviour

The role of content in the explanation of behaviour

(p.432) 14 The role of content in the explanation of behaviour
Causal Cognition

Pierre Jacob

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the main proposals developed in contemporary philosophy of the mind regarding the role of content on the production of action or behaviour. Intentions, beliefs, desires, conjectures, or fears are what philosophers call propositional attitudes. Common sense tells us that these propositional attitudes have both causal and intentional properties. They are causes and they have content. This chapter distinguishes two common-sense theses of unequal strength on mental causation: the weaker thesis is that beliefs are causes, and the stronger thesis is that intentional properties of beliefs are causal properties.

Keywords:   content, action, behaviour, intentions, beliefs, desires, conjectures, propositional attitudes, causes, causation

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